Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach  

Beaches - Santa Monica and Venice, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles has plenty of famous, historic hotels that everyone knows by name: Beverly Hills Hotel, Chateau Marmont, and the Beverly Wilshire, to name a few. And sure, if you want to drop a lot of money and hob nob with celebrities, these are some of the best haunts around. But some of the most charming hotels are ones that fly under the radar. So if you're looking for something a little more unique or off the beaten path, consider one of these six hidden gems.

First up, the Ayres Hotel. Although we don't advocate staying on a major freeway near strip malls, this hotel -- less than five miles from LAX airport -- surprised us with its sumptuous, ornate interiors. From the outside, the hotel looks like any other airport hotel with a large parking lot, but inside we found a grand staircase under a crystal chandelier, a stone fireplace from France, and a courtyard terrace. All this combined with a heated pool and lots of freebies (Wi-Fi, breakfast, parking) make it a great option for those who want to be near the airport.

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