A 127-room hotel in Manhattan Beach with a small pool and a small fitness center. There isn't much to do nearby, and it's 1.5 miles from the beach, but for reasonable rates, guests get relatively large rooms, and free in-room Internet.
A small, reasonably priced boutique hotel with a few nice perks but an out-of-the-way location
The 127-room Belamar is a decent value with 340-square-foot rooms and decent amenities like iPod docks and DVD players. But there isn't much in the way of atmosphere, and guests have to put up with a less-than-ideal location on busy and unsightly Sepulveda Boulevard, across from a sprawling strip mall and 1.5 miles from the beach.
The design is clean and modern and trendy, but nothing memorable -- like a West Elm showroom. A spiky glass light fixture by the front desk and a large limestone fireplace add a little flash to the lobby (it was renovated in March 2008). The hotel's Second Story Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, uses mostly local ingredients for an American-inspired farm and costal menu. There's a small pool with a retractable roof and a small business center with free office supplies and two helpful airport-style monitors that display flight times.
Service is friendly and courteous, and some of the basics, like Internet access, are free (not the case at many nearby luxury hotels). There is a small fee for parking. The hotel also has a library of DVDs, CDs, books, and board games for guests to borrow, all free. Just don't expect the kind of pampering you'd get at most luxury properties: Room service runs from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (not 24 hours), turndown service is only on request, and housekeeping comes once a day (not twice).
Four miles from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the hotel draws many business travelers, pilots, and other airline-industry workers, but few vacationers. A greenbelt with pleasant jogging trail runs alongside the road to the beach, but there's not much else to do in the immediate vicinity. For hotels that are nearer to the beach, try the Loews or the Ambrose in Santa Monica -- and expect to pay more.
The Belamar is on Sepulveda Boulevard, sandwiched between a strip mall across the street and a dense residential neighborhood that stretches along Valley Drive toward the beach, which is 1.5 miles away. A greenbelt with a pleasant jogging path runs along Valley Drive, but Sepulveda offers little of interest -- just a sprawled-out strip mall with restaurants like Baja Fresh and California Pizza Kitchen and retail outlets like an Apple store and a Gap.
Five-minute drive to Manhattan Beach, with its quiet strip of unassuming bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops, plus public volleyball nets, a pier, and plenty of surfers
Around the corner from the 405/San Diego Freeway (Rosecrans Avenue exit)
70-minute drive to the luxury boutiques of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
80-minute drive (in traffic) to Universal Studios Hollywood
80-minute drive (in traffic) to Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, and Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Four miles to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
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