The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Beaches - Santa Monica and Venice, Los Angeles, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Large, 360-square-foot standard rooms
  • Just a 10- to 15-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport
  • Right on the marina; slips can be rented through a third party provider
  • Large pool and whirlpool with marina views
  • 24-hour business center (charges apply)
  • Two tennis courts

Cons

  • Beach is 15- to 20-minute walk away
  • Standard rooms have tub-shower combos, not standalone showers and tubs
  • Noisy street behind the wedding gazebo
  • Parking is pricey and by valet only
  • Fee for Internet access in rooms (free in public spaces)

Bottom Line

With a waterfront location on a harbor, not the beach, there's little reason to stay here unless you're boating or have a business meeting at the hotel. Rooms have luxurious features but little style. Guests who want to hit the beach, or just be in a lively area with restaurants and shops, are better off staying in Santa Monica or Venice.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Business travelers and groups staying on the water (but not the beach)

A marina is right outside the door.
A marina is right outside the door.

Built in 1991 and a Ritz from the get-go, the 304-room hotel sits on one of the largest man-made harbors in the country. You can walk out the back door and be on the water, but you'll see docks and boats, not sand and surf. For a beach instead of a marina, Ritz guests have to head to Venice, a 15- to 20-minute walk away, or even farther north to Santa Monica.

A painless 10- or 15-minute drive from the airport, the hotel attracts business travelers who enjoy the upscale chain's rewards program and its consistent, understated luxury. About a third of the hotel's business is devoted to events, from business meetings to bar mitzvahs and weddings, and the hotel has ample facilities to accommodate them: more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, including a lovely wedding gazebo. (Too bad traffic noise is audible from the gazebo.) With so many groups, however, it's possible for individual guests to feel a bit less accommodated. Service can be slow, and when a group crowds into the pool area, as one did the night I visited, individual guests may feel a bit edged out by the festivities.

The rooms feature luxurious beds with feathertop mattresses and goose down comforters, but decor, in rooms and throughout the hotel, is dated and bland, even for the Ritz -- never known for its striking style. While guest rooms were renovated in 2006, the decor makes them seem older. Nautically themed, with a miniature sailboat on the desk and boat artwork on the walls, they feel more maritime museum than luxury hotel.

If the marina and close proximity to the airport aren't must-haves, travelers who want to be on the water are better off staying closer to the beach in Santa Monica at the similarly priced Casa del Mar or the pricier Shutters. Both are right on the beach and offer more style and comprable luxury.

 Service

Friendly and professional, but it can sometimes feel as though the focus is on big groups, not individual guests

Valet parking only
Valet parking only

The hotel has the nice service touches -- turndown service, free newspapers -- that you'd expect at a hotel of this caliber, but individual guests may sometimes feel lost in the shuffle among the many groups that stay here. But, the hotel is quick to make it up to guests with their own appealing brand of Ritz formality.

  • Twice-daily housekeeping and nightly turndown service, which includes bottled water and both milk and dark chocolates
  • Free USA Today delivered to rooms on weekdays
  • 24-hour room service
  • Poolside food and drink
  • Wake-up calls from an actual person, not a computer, and the caller gives you the weather
  • Concierge on duty throughout the day; They can arrange sailing trips and cruises and help guests to make the most of the marina-side location

 Location

In Marina Del Rey, on the water but not the beach

The hotel sits in Marina Del Rey, a tiny -- less than two square miles -- unincorporated part of Los Angeles on the coast, just south of both Santa Monica and Venice and just north of the Los Angeles International Airport.

As the name would suggest, the area's main feature are its marinas, which sit in one of the largest man-made harbors in the country. (A few shops and restaurants are scattered around, but it's mostly office buildings and homes.) Guests can literally walk out the hotel's back door and be at a dock, and some guest rooms have lovely views of the harbor and boats. The nearest beach, though, is a 15- to 20-minute walk. The hotel's front entrance is on Admiralty Way, a wide, busy thoroughfare.

  • For a public beach and cute streets with restaurants, bars, and boutiques, head to Venice, a 15- to 20-minute walk away, or five minutes by car.
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is just a 10- to 15-minute drive away.
  • Santa Monica's pier and the Third Street Promenade shopping mall are about four miles away, a 10- to 15-minute drive.
  • The Getty Museum is 6.5 miles away, about 20 minutes by car.
  • Beverly Hills and luxury shopping on Rodeo Drive is a 20- to 30-minute drive away.
  • Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard are a 30- to 50-minute drive away.

 Rooms

Dated decor but luxurious features

The Deluxe Room
The Deluxe Room

With blue and gold nautical decor -- pictures of boats, a model sailboat on the desk -- rooms are more highly themed than high style, despite being fully renovated in 2006. Electronics are modern, and features like Frette linens, featherbeds, and Bulgari toiletries are luxurious. At 360 square feet, the standard Deluxe Rooms are average for the area. In nearby Santa Monica, rooms at the Le Merigot are 250 square feet, those at Shutters are 400 square feet, and those at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel are 330 square feet. But the billionaire's-beach-cottage rooms at the more expensive Shutters are also more stylish.

  • Beds deliver the luxury you'd expect from the Ritz, with Baffle box featherbeds and goose-down comforters, Frette sheets, and a generous supply of down pillows (six on the king bed in my room).
  • Standard Deluxe Rooms are available with one king or two double beds.
  • Modern electronics: 32-inch LCD LG flat-screen TVs and Xtreme Mac iPod docks. TVs broadcast nearly 40 channels, including HBO. About 20 percent of the channels are in high def.
  • "Just Missed TV" and dozens of movies, many in HD, are available for purchase.
  • In-room coffeemakers with Ritz coffee and Taylors of Harrowgate tea, plus free bottled water.
  • Bathrooms aren't huge -- just a single sink and a shower-tub combo -- but marble counters and Bulgari toiletries are luxurious.
  • Deluxe Rooms, save for those on the first floor, have "Juliet" balconies -- just over a foot wide, unfurnished. Guest can upgrade to a Marina Terrace room with a larger balcony (24 square feet).

 Features

A lovely pool, nice spa and fitness center, two tennis courts, and a free business center

The pool is open 24 hours.
The pool is open 24 hours.

While the Ritz's Santa Monica competitors have better beach access -- Shuttters is right on the beach, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is just off it -- it does offer more amenities, including two lighted tennis courts, a rarity, and even a slip in the marina reserved for hotel guests.

  • The huge pool, open 24 hours, has ample room for lounging and swimming, lovely views of the marina, and a huge whirlpool. The area has received upgraded lounge furniture since Oyster's visit. Guests typically seat themselves, but food and drink service are available.
  • Cabanas can be rented for a steep daily fee during the summer high season; that includes bottle service and two bottles of booze; cabanas have flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and mini refrigerators.
  • Two lighted composite-surface tennis courts. charged per hour per court; private lessons and rentals available
  • Spa Nautica, opened in 2013, features a wide array of services in its seven treatment rooms, as well as outdoors on the hotel's pool deck. There is also a nail salon.
  • Large fitness center off the pool has six treadmills, six elliptical machines, and a few bikes, all with individual TV monitors. Nice selection of weight machine, free weights, and medicine balls, but no stretching area. Bottled water and towels provided. It's free to use, unlike the fitness center at Loews.
  • The small business center has just two computers, two printers, and a scanner, but guests have 24-hour access. Charges apply.
  • Slips can be rented at the marina through a third party company; the hotel does not provide any.
  • Parking is by valet only

 Family

A good but not great family option

With spacious standard rooms and good sleeping options for families, plus a large pool, the Ritz easily accommodates families, but it doesn't cater to them. Parents should feel more than comfortable bringing the kids along on the business trip, but the hotel doesn't market itself as a family hotel the way the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica does. Also, the Ritz's Marina del Rey location means it's further from kid-friendly locations like Santa Monica's pier than Santa Monica hotels are.

  • Standard Deluxe rooms have one king or two double beds
  • Connecting rooms available, between a Deluxe King and a Deluxe Double
  • Rollaway beds charged per night; can fit in a Deluxe King room but not a Deluxe Double
  • Free cribs
  • In-room dining has kids' menu with options like french toast sticks and mac and cheese
  • Jer-Ne offers a kids' menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

 Pet Friendly

Animals under 30 pounds allowed

The hotel accepts pets under 30 pounds. Guests bringing an animal must pay a cleaning fee. Animals aren't allowed in the restaurant, but the hotel does offer in-room dining for dogs. Menu items include 100 percent organic "doggie sushi" and Dr. Harvey's Le Dogue Canine Health Miracle Food.

 Food

Poolside fare and a great restaurant on site, but little other dining within easy walking distance

Jer-Ne stylish indoor dining area
Jer-Ne stylish indoor dining area

With Jer-Ne, a delicious New American restaurant on-site, plus poolside dining, guests can eat well in the hotel, but directly outside of it, dining options are scarce. Guests must walk a solid 15 minutes (or drive five) to get to Washington Boulevard and Venice's many restaurants and bars.

  • The hotel's main restaurant, Jer-Ne, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a stylish, modern setting or on a large waterfront patio with great views. Dinner entrees range from pasta with braised short rib to a mesquite smoked ribeye.
  • Breakfast is a la carte only. Options range from cereal to steak and eggs.
  • Next to Jer-Ne, the Lobby Lounge serves afternoon tea, cocktails, appetizers, and light fare.
  • The poolside Wave Restaurant and Bar was previously open only during the summer, but the hotel is now experimenting with keeping it open year round.
  • Specialty cocktails such as an organic margarita and an acai mojito. Dining options range from nachos to Moroccan lamb satays and Indonesian chicken satays.
  • Room service is available 24 hours a day. Plus, the hotel will pack coolers for boat rides.

 Cleanliness

A thorouhgly clean property

From guest rooms to common areas, this is a thoroughly clean property, though the dark woods and heavy decor make it feel less bright and fresh than hotels with more modern decor.

 Bottom Line

With a waterfront location on a harbor, not the beach, there's little reason to stay here unless you're boating or have a business meeting at the hotel. Rooms have luxurious features but little style. Guests who want to hit the beach, or just be in a lively area with restaurants and shops, are better off staying in Santa Monica or Venice.

Things You Should Know About The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey

Address

  • 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA, 90292, US

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Marina Del Rey Ritz
  • Marina Del Rey Ritz Carlton
  • Marina Del Rey Ritz-Carlton
  • Ritz Marina Del Rey
  • Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

Room Types

  • Club Deluxe Guestroom
  • Deluxe Room
  • Executive Suite
  • Harbor King Suite
  • Marina Terrace Room
  • The Ritz-Carlton Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 304
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Beaches - Santa Monica and Venice, Los Angeles
Address: 4375 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA, 90292, US
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