We just returned on 10/20 from a 4 day/3 night trip to Santa Monica, CA. The purpose of the trip was to use up free Southwest Airline points, 2 free Hilton nights and 1 night on Marriott points. I was born and raised in So. Calif. but I had never been to Santa Monica before. I must say that Santa Monica is an interesting town. If Santa Monica gets too boring, you can always wander next door to Venice Beach for a dose of wierd. We had perfect weather, mid 80s and sunny during the day. Great for walking about 5 miles each day and a 2+ hour Segway tour on Friday.
As I have mentioned before, this year my wife and I have been utilizing public transportation on all of our trips. (Being from So. Calif. we always drove everywhere.) For this trip we decided to use taxis, which was new for us. (And I thought public bus drivers were grumpy!) Anyway, we flew into LAX from Phoenix and took a taxi to the Hilton Doubletree in Santa Monica, about 5 blocks from the beach. Since I have Hilton Gold from a Hilton Reserve CC I was upgraded to a suite on the top floor, which was designated for HHonors members. We also were advised that we received the full hot buffet each morning of our stay, at no charge. And, to top it all off they gave us 2 free hot chocolate chip cookies. I had forgotten about this DT perk, yummm! Very friendly and helpful staff, throughout our 3 day stay. They even gave us additional cookies whenever we asked!
On Saturday we checked out of the DT and walked down to the JW Marriott Le Merigot which is a ½ block from the ocean (We pack light, just 1 carry on each). Le Merigot is a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately, there is an apartment building on front of most of the hotel, so not many beach views. (If you want stupendous beach views, you can go next door to the Lowes Santa Monica, nothing in front of them.) The Le Merigot front desk acknowledged my Platinum status and said they were able to upgrade us to a suite, with a view. We actually did have a view of the beach from our bedroom window. The view from the living room balcony was of the apartment building in front of us. On check-in we were offered the free continental breakfast, or 750 points. Since I was planning on eating breakfast at an offsite restaurant, I elected the points. Because we had arrived at 1PM we were told that our room was not yet ready. I said no problem since we could go out to the patio and read our books. After a while a waitress came over and asked if we wanted anything to drink. I said yes, but we did not have our room number yet. She said she would check with the front desk. Before long she brought our drinks and stopped to chat since it was pretty slow at that time, very friendly. When she asked where and why we were visiting from my wife mentioned that it was our anniversary this week. After about another hour we indicated we would like a bar snack and another drink. When she came back she said that the first drink was being comped due to the delay in getting us into our room and the second drink was being comped for our anniversary! I was starting to feel pretty special at this place! By 4PM we checked into our room and then went back out to the patio to read some more. By 7PM we finished off a second snack and a 3rd drink and made our way to our room. (Yes, we had to pay for the 3rd drink and the snacks, but the drinks they comped were worth $60.00.) The next morning when I got up the customary bill was under the door, with another envelope. I was thinking maybe they had sent us a happy anniversary card. No mention of any anniversary, but there was a coupon for two continental buffet breakfasts. We decided to go down and check out the “continental breakfast”. Our waitress explained that we were not limited to just the continental breakfast, that the coupon represented a $33 credit for anything on the menu. The lox and bagels were very enjoyable. When we had opened our door to go out for breakfast there was a leather pouch outside the door that had the Sunday LA Times inside. I always do enjoy reading the paper at breakfast when I am traveling. As we walked down the hall, we did not notice any other papers in front of doors, let alone a leather pouch.
As I checked out I used two of my soon to be extinct Marriott checks for a net charge on my Marriott VISA for the night of $14.68. I would have to say that I feel like I got my money’s/points worth out of this trip.
Just got back from Santa Monica (Ventura/Santa Barbara), and have always wondered about Venice Beach. Have never been there, and sounds like it may not be the place for a modest "Midwesterner"!
It sounds like a most enjoyable experience, and thanks for sharing. Please share more as they develop. We really like hearing Arizona stories as well!