Barlo Kitchen + Cocktail serves California cuisine
Free passes to Gold's Gym and free bikes to borrow
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Valet parking (for a fee)
Meeting room for rent
No pool or on-site fitness center
Pricey valet parking (consistent for Los Angeles)
Venice Beach is a bit dodgy late night
Slow elevator gets crowded
If you're looking to have a fun time on Venice Beach, Hotel Erwin is an excellent choice. The mid-range spot is located one block from Muscle Beach and the Venice Beach Promenade, making it popular with surfers and beachgoers. The 119 rooms feature an updated '70s beach vibe, complete with pop art, seasonally curated minibars, and selfie mirrors. All rooms have balconies, some of them directly face the ocean. High Rooftop Bar is the hip outdoor lounge and restaurant, with incredible ocean views. Guests also get free passes to Gold's Gym and bikes to borrow, but there's no pool. Families that want to self-cater should check rates at Venice Breeze Suites Hotel.
Laidback family-owned hotel and a popular rooftop lounge and ocean views
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 front desk area bumps club music and is a constant parade of guests coming and going from the beach to the rooftop lounge. Up on the rooftop, there's a bouncer and a DJ booth (weekend sets in the summer) plus clusters of banquette-style seats with umbrellas and gorgeous ocean and beach views. Families do stay here, but most guests are couples and friends who want to enjoy Venice's beach and party scenes. Note that there's just one elevator bank for the rooftop and rooms, so waits can be long.
One block to famed Venice Beach, but directly on a well-traveled four-lane thoroughfare.
The Erwin sits on Pacific Avenue, the main north-south drag a little over one block inland from the well-known beach, a wide boardwalk chock-full of street performers and snack shops, and a paved path for bicyclists and rollerbladers that stretches all the way up to Santa Monica. The area is gentrified and safe, though visitors should be cautious about going to the beach late night.
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)
Fun and purposeful '70s beach vibe, all with balconies
The large (400- to 425-square-foot) and airy rooms (some with ocean views) are decorated with a fun retro '70s vibe that's still modern with orange pendant lamps and green bolster pillows. Some rooms have mustard-yellow sectional sofas. Wallpaper patterned with artists' hands hangs behind the beds and "Wish You Were Here" painted on sliding bathroom doors are designed as a fun backdrop for selfies. All room comes standard with air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, coffeemaker, safe, and seasonally curated minibar by Whole Foods. Balconies are also standard, though not all of them face the ocean. Many rooms have large walk-in closets. Modern bathrooms have orange accent walls and sink basins, walk-in glass showers, hairdryers, Byrd toiletries (eco-friendly and invented by a surfer), and robes. The Red Bull Dogtown Suite caters especially to surfers and skateboarders with deep pockets. The design is quirky and the space is expansive with a kitchenette and DJ booth.
High Rooftop Bar, free gym passes, and bikes to borrow
Hotel Erwin doesn't have the space for a ton of features, there's no pool or on-site gym. High Rooftop Bar is the star of the show, with its ocean views, cushioned banquettes, summertime DJs, and winter heat lamps. 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 -- right off the lobby. Room service is available. Guests get free access to Gold's Gym and free bikes to borrow. There's a dedicated meeting room for events. Wi-Fi is free. Valet parking costs extra per night, which is typical in Los Angeles.