- 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
Popular with Europeans, underground bands, and beach-goers who don't require fancy frills
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.
The Erwin is a five-minute walk to famed Venice Beach, but directly on a well-traveled four-lane thoroughfare.
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.
Big rooms with surprisingly comfortable beds, but no major luxuries
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.
Aside from restaurant and rooftop lounge, there's not much in the way of features.
Venice Beach, slightly more than two blocks away, is the Erwin's best bonus, but the hotel doesn't rent beach paraphernalia.
The Erwin sits a little more than two blocks away from a stretch of sand more than 100 yards wide.
Informal restaurant and rooftop bar
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 views, High 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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