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Hotel Erwin 3.0

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Spacious rooms with great beds
  • Quick walk to Venice's famed Muscle Beach and Promenade
  • Rooftop bar and lounge overlooks ocean
  • Free Wi-Fi in rooms and public areas
  • Room service (but limited hours)
  • Free day pass to Gold's Gym

Cons

  • No pool or spa
  • Breakfast and dinner only at on-site restaurant
  • Limited room service
  • Long lines of locals going to rooftop bar
  • Pricey valet parking

Bottom Line

An eccentric 119-room hotel for budget-conscious travelers that's an easy walk to Venice Beach and plays off the area's hippie-centric history. It doesn't quite live up to the laid-back image it projects, but it does have unexpectedly large rooms and remarkably comfortable beds (evidence of a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2009) in a neighborhood with very few hotels.

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Scene

Popular with Europeans, underground bands, and beach-goers who don't require fancy frills

This simple hotel, located near Venice Beach, is popular with young travelers and surfers, but amenities are few

Built in 1975, the Erwin is a laid-back hotel, popular with young travelers taking advantage of its location near the beach. Rooms are pleasantly large and generally comfortable; staff members are courteous, but don't seem highly trained. And the Erwin lacks key amenities (pool, spa, restaurant that serves lunch, 24-hour room service). Plus, it's short on small-property coziness.

Entering the Erwin, you're likely to bump up against as many tattoos, piercings, skateboards, surfboards, and electric guitars as you are guests. L.A. tattoo artist Norm created the mural in the semicircular driveway, and framed photos of '60s and '70s folk, rock, and R&B legends (Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder) line the hallways.

The Erwin doesn't have an astounding amount to offer (audible street sounds, no pool, no spa, no fitness center on-site). Those looking to spend their time catching waves may not mind everything that's lacking, especially given the reasonable room rates; those who prefer a quieter scene and more amenities -- and are willing to pay about $100 a night extra for them -- should consider driving five miles north to the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel or Le Merigot, both of which have a pool, spa, 24-hour room service, and are situated more directly on the beach.

Location

The Erwin is a five-minute walk to famed Venice Beach, but directly on a well-traveled four-lane thoroughfare.

Map of Hotel Erwin

The Erwin sits on Pacific Avenue, the main north-south drag in Venice, about two blocks inland from the well-known beach itself (surfer-dude central); a wide boardwalk chock-full of street performers and snack shops; and a path for bicyclists and rollerbladers.

  • Slightly more than two blocks from the beach
  • Less than a 15-minute walk to hip Abbot Kinney shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafes
  • 25-minute drive to Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills in traffic
  • 30-minute drive to Hollywood Boulevard/Grauman's Chinese Theatre in traffic
  • 90-minute drive to Universal Studios in traffic
  • 20-minute drive to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Minor to moderate street noise
  • Safety can be a concern along Pacific Avenue at night, especially for women walking alone.

Rooms

Big rooms with surprisingly comfortable beds, but no major luxuries

The spacious City View King Room offers a comfortable bed, but decor is uninteresting (if colorful)

The large (400- to 425-square-foot) and airy standard rooms (some with ocean views) are well-appointed with comfortable mattresses and bedding, flat-screen TVs. But they're largely uninteresting, with primarily neutral-tone furnishings, aside from the colorful striped carpeting and large polka-dot-print sheer curtains. The hotel does have the Red Bull Dogtown Suite -- catering especially to surfers and skateboarders with deep pockets. The design is quirky and the space is expansive, but not many can afford the very un-Dogtownish rates.

  • Surprisingly comfortable beds: Simmons mattresses; 300-thread-count sheets; and white comforters.
  • Views are either direct ocean or city and side street; small, narrow balconies off Partial Ocean View Rooms don't have space for furniture.
  • 32- or 42-inch LG flat-panel TV with free HBO, but several Direct TV channels had no signal; pay-per-view movies are available.
  • iPod docking stations
  • Many rooms have large walk-in closets; all have safes big enough for laptops.
  • Modern bathrooms have orange accent walls and sink basins, walk-in glass showers, hairdryers, Lather toiletries, and robes.
  • Coffeemakers and minibars

Features

Aside from restaurant and rooftop lounge, there's not much in the way of features.

High Rooftop bar and lounge, which provides ocean views, is one of few on-site features

Venice Beach, slightly more than two blocks away, is the Erwin's best bonus, but the hotel doesn't rent beach paraphernalia.

  • Countertop business center in dingy corridor off lobby with two Mac desktops
  • No fitness center, but day passes to Gold's Gym
  • Laundry and dry cleaning services
  • No pets allowed

Beach

The Erwin sits a little more than two blocks away from a stretch of sand more than 100 yards wide.

Venice Beach is located just about two blocks away, and many rooms offer views of its waters

Although the sea sometimes smells acrid as a result of the enormous pollution Los Angeles generates, the rolling waves at Venice Beach are a magnet for surfers.

  • Sand extends gradually into the water -- ideal for swimming or boogie-boarding (though runoff can be a concern).
  • Lifeguard stations at regular intervals along the beach during summer and early fall
  • Venice bike path runs along the beach, drawing cyclists and rollerbladers.
  • Street performers including mimes, jugglers, musicians, fortune-tellers, and a man who walks on glass entertain tourists in sideshow fashion along Oceanfront Walk.
  • Multiple vendors along Oceanfront Walk rent beach gear. (Hotel Erwin doesn't.)
  • Beachside snack shops serve fast food.
  • Public-use volleyball nets and showers
  • Crowds and litter can amass, particularly in summer.

Food

Informal restaurant and rooftop bar

Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant serves breakfast and dinner in an informal indoor-outdoor dining space with bar area

Lobby-level Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant serves cooked-to-order breakfasts (Eggs Norwegian, Country Benedict, and Irish Oatmeal) and dinners (Barlo burgers, pork belly buns, market-price striped fish) -- but not lunch -- in a small indoor-outdoor seating area. It also has a bar area with counter seating. Note that room service is limited.

On the 7th floor with ocean viewsHigh outdoor rooftop lounge serves drinks and appetizers nightly and offers cushioned banquettes, heat lamps, and blankets. As the only rooftop bar in Venice Beach, lines can get long with locals at night.

Across Pacific Avenue, Seed macrobiotic restaurant cooks up tasty, moderately priced sandwiches and salads during the day. For more dining choices, cruise Ocean Front Walk for boardwalk fare or head over to Abbot Kinney for healthier alternatives.

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Things You Should Know About Hotel Erwin

Address

1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California 90291, United States

Phone

(310) 452-1111

Also Known As

  • Best Western Los Angeles
  • Erwin Hotel Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Best Western

Room Types

  • Deluxe Partial Ocean View Room
  • Deluxe Room
  • Deluxe Two Room Suite
  • Dogtown Sweet
  • Full Ocean View Two-Room King Suite
  • Partial Ocean View Two Room Suite
  • Premier Ocean View King Room

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