Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Clean, consistent, and comfortable, but far from memorable
Clean and comfortable with unimpressive, earth-tone room decor, this 253-room, eight-story Doubletree, equidistant between shopping and restaurants on the Third Street Promenade and the amusement park and vintage carousel at the Santa Monica Pier, is like a Doubletree just about anywhere -- consistent and dependable, but far from memorable.
A vaulted atrium design accented by orchids and a mosaic tile floor gives the lobby a bit of aesthetic flair, but can translate to some noisy rooms on lower floors. Rooms facing busy Fourth Street and the entrance to the Santa Monica Freeway, can also be quite noisy, though not insufferable.
The hotel's public spaces were last renovated in 2004 and rooms underwent soft renovations (carpet, wallpaper, linens) in early 2007. Unfortunately, safes were left out of the renovation, leaving safety deposit boxes behind the front desk as the only option in which to store valuables.
The hotel draws primarily corporate guests, but nearly all the rooms are 500-square-foot suites with pullout couches and small kitchenettes with a half-size fridge, making this a fairly convenient option for families who want to be near Santa Monica Beach. Two other options to consider in the area are the Ambrose and the Loews Santa Monica. The Ambrose is much smaller than the Doubletree, but has an impressive array of eco-conscious programs and a slew of free amenities like breakfast, bike rental, and Wi-Fi. The family-friendly Loews Santa Monica doesn't have any gratis courtesies like the Ambrose, but unlike the Doubletree, is a Frisbee's toss from the beach.
Prompt, but so-so service; no dedicated concierge
There's a rug on the floor in front of the check-in desk that says, "We never say no to any request," but that doesn't always mean they can execute them competently. Check-in and checkout are prompt, as are service requests for toothpaste and towels, but the staff is better at handling simple requests than they are at recommending restaurants (there's no dedicated concierge). It's not that service necessarily fell short, it's just that, well, it's a Doubletree -- status quo's about as good as it gets.
Doubletree Guest Suites is in Santa Monica, a beach town rich with shops, restaurants, and a tourist-attracting pier with games, rides, and an iconic Ferris wheel. But its nonbeach location feels a bit like a no-man's land; there's not much in the immediate vicinity of the hotel except for Santa Monica High School's playing fields and the parking lot for the civic center across the street. Still, the location isn't terrible, it's just not prime-time front and center: the Santa Monica Pier and state beach is only a 10- to 15-minute walk (or short drive), and it's a 10-minute walk to the shops and restaurants along the Third Street Promenade.
No-frills, but spacious with pullout sofas
All but eight of the hotel's 253 rooms are 500-square-foot suites with pullout couches and dorm-size fridges, making them well-suited for families. The décor is no frills, but clean, and bathrooms are spacious with a shower/tub combo. The eight nonsuites with two double beds offer a small, oddly triangular-shaped space, no couch, no fridge, and only a shower, so be sure to get a suite, they're not much more (or often you'll get a free upgrade). As the hotel is situated on the corner of busy Fourth Street and an entrance to the Santa Monica Freeway, there can be some street noise, plus noise travels between some rooms. In comparison, rooms at the Loews Santa Monica are smaller, but have a little more elegance.
Covers the bases with fine, if not spectacular, amenities
With a heated pool and Jacuzzi on the 3rd-floor sundeck, a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and free access to the hotel's business center, the Doubletree's got the basics covered. The Loews Santa Monica has a significantly larger and better equipped gym (though it costs $10 for entry) and a nice pool with an ocean view, but it's a bit more expensive.
OK for families given the large suites, but there are better options
Though it attracts mostly corporate guests, the Doubletree is a nice option for families since all but eight of the hotel's 253 rooms are a spacious 500 square feet with pullout couches and half-size fridges. There aren't any rollaways, but cribs are free, and the hotel is only about 10 minutes walking distance from the Santa Monica Pier, and 10 minutes to shops and kid-friendly restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen on the Third Street Promenade. Families might also consider Loews, which is located on Ocean Avenue, has direct beach access, and is a Frisbee's throw away from the Santa Monica Pier and its vintage carousel, but it's more expensive.
Clean, though feeling a tad dated
Rooms were last renovated in late 2006 and early 2007, but still look and feel clean and fresh. Common areas are even older -- last gutted in 2004 -- and though some of the couches in the lobby are a bit worse for wear, they're largely stain-free. The grounds, including the porte cochere and the 3rd-floor pool and Jacuzzi, are well maintained.
Fine in a pinch, but walk 10 minutes to the Third Street Promenade for better dining
There's a generic bar, a café, and a full-service restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that serves basic American fare like steaks, pizza, and pasta, but the food is pricey and mediocre. A better option is to walk 10 minutes to the Third Street Promenade, where options range from national chains like California Pizza Kitchen, Subway, and Fatburger to more local spots like Sushi Roka and George's Bistro.
Although this 253-room Doubletree lacks character and sits on the corner of two major thoroughfares, its big rooms, outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and location just a 10-minute walk from the Santa Monica Pier and the shops and restaurants along the Third Street Promenade make it a good value.