Check out our list of the most affordable places to stay in Santa Monica, from a Cape Cod-style chain hotel in a trendy part of town to a 1950s motor hotel close to the pier and the beach.
Built in the 1980s and renovated in 2014, Ocean View Hotel has a calm and beachy atmosphere. Bathed in soothing blues, earthy browns, and futuristic-looking silvers, the common areas have floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of natural light. All of the 66 stylish rooms come with pillow-top mattresses, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, minibars, plush cotton bathrobes, and free Wi-Fi. Modern bathrooms offer lots of counter space, Aveda toiletries, and rainfall showers (there are no bathtubs here).
In a trendy part of town with a lot of four- and five-pearl hotels, the 84-room Travelodge Santa Monica offers a budget-friendly alternative and a welcoming atmosphere. There's a variety of rooms available, including some with whirlpool tubs and kitchenettes. All rooms come with coffeemakers, mini-fridges, microwaves, flat-screen TVs, and DVD players. Bathrooms are plain but clean, and most have shower/tub combos. The hotel provides free breakfast, parking, and Wi-Fi (though it's occasionally unreliable). A business center and an internal courtyard with picnic seating and barbecues are added perks, but there's no gym or pool. And while Ocean View Hotel is across from the beach, with Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, and Palisades Park within walking distance, Travelodge Santa Monica is about 30 blocks from the sand.
The 25-room Sea Shore Motel is a budget property on historic Main Street in the heart of Santa Monica, within a five-minute walk of the beach, shops, coffee houses, and a farmers' market. Rooms have terra-cotta tile floors and rattan furniture, as well as air-conditioning, mini-fridges, and irons. Coffeemakers, tea kettles, microwaves, and toasters are available upon request. Deluxe Suites come with full kitchens and balconies with seating, while Junior Suites come with separate bedrooms. Drawbacks here are dated decor and the fact that housekeeping does not clean daily. Amelia’s, the on-site cafe, is a popular local spot, and the rooftop sundeck offers lounge seating. Parking is free, as is Wi-Fi throughout the property.
The Bayside Hotel is a two-story 1950s motel-style property, with a quiet atmosphere and fresh, beachy feel. The 45 bright guest rooms come with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, minibars, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels. Each room also has a beach bag and beach towels. Rooms with full kitchens are available. There’s a peaceful palm-filled courtyard and a small garden area with comfortable lounge chairs. Bikes can be rented from the hotel, and drinks and beach accessories, like balls and boogie boards, can be bought reception. Parking is available on-site, though it's subject to hefty fees (Travelodge and Sea Shore Motel don't charge for parking).
A small remodeled motor hotel from the 1950s, Seaview Hotel can be spotted by its two neon "Seaview" signs peeking out between tall cacti and palm trees. Located a block away from the beach, the budget property is a short walk to the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade. Rooms have some of the lowest prices in the area and have a certain retro charm. But you get what you pay for -- rooms are furnished plainly, don't come equipped with air-conditioning, and their walls are so thin that you can hear guests in other rooms. (Light sleepers may want to bring earplugs.) The property does have a few lovely features, including a rooftop sundeck, manicured grounds full of plants, and an open-air courtyard. Wi-Fi and parking are both free.
Housed in a pink-and-turquoise building with a facade that’s reminiscent of the 1950s, the 67-room Days Inn Santa Monica/Los Angeles is a budget chain hotel that mainly attracts couples seeking a value deal. Though the property is a bit dated and in need of a revamp, it offers homey rooms with flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, plus some have microwaves and terraces. On-site features include a free breakfast buffet, a rooftop sundeck, free underground parking, and fitness machines on every floor. The drive to the beach takes about 10 minutes, and guests sometimes complain about spotty Wi-Fi and maintenance issues. Travelers might also want to consider the Bayside Hotel, which is within walking distance of the beach and a bit more modern.
The 14-room Rest Haven Motel is a budget property on a quiet street at busy -- and gritty -- Lincoln Boulevard and Grant Street in Santa Monica, with the beach, restaurants, and shops within walking distance. Built in 1938, the motel nostalgically evokes an earlier time. Rooms are quaintly decorated with pine-knotted furniture, hooked area rugs, and inspirational wall hangings, and include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, safes, and ceiling fans, but no air-conditioning or coffeemakers (Days Inn has both). Free Wi-Fi and parking are available, along with daily housekeeping. The hotel has no lobby, but there is a delightful backyard courtyard with seating and pretty flowers, where guests can gather.
This Hostelling International outpost is by far the most economical choice in the Los Angeles area. It has bright and modern interiors and an enviable location, just a block away from Third Street Promenade and a five-minute walk from Santa Monica's beach. There are 43 six- or 10-person mixed or gender-separated dormitories plus a communal kitchen, library, and laundry room. Private double rooms exist, but they're tough to score. Wi-Fi and continental breakfast are both included in the rate. For traditional hotel rooms with a nice dose of style, travelers can investigate the nearby budget-friendly Seaview Hotel, though rates will surely be higher.