Our US correspondent Kristen Cashman spent a refreshing weekend at this seaside resort town, and could not stop gushing about Hotel Erwin.
Los Angeles in California offers visitors a wide assortment of attractions and landmarks to check out. From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the Sunset Strip to the luxury shopper’s paradise, Rodeo Drive, you’d be spoilt for choice. But if you want a sprawling ocean view coupled with unparalleled people-watching, you can’t miss the Venice Beach boardwalk.
Historically a mecca of surfing, skateboarding, and bodybuilding, it is also the birthplace of the legendary 1960s rock band The Doors. The boardwalk teems with colorful, oh-so-California sights and sounds, including tattoo parlors, bikini-clad roller-skaters, fortune tellers, and a smorgasbord of shops and vendors.
If you want to spend a night or more perched above all the hubbub of the boardwalk, then Hotel Erwin is the place to stay. Gelling with the neighborhood’s young, hip, laid-back feel, the hotel is bright, colorful and has modern design details.
The building has standard rooms as well as suites. My 750-square-foot suite felt enormous, with a kitchenette, dining area, living room, funky bathroom, and bedroom. The minibar featured offbeat options beyond the usual snacks and spirits, such as surfboard wax, sun-protective lip balm, and a portable torch for late-night strolls. The living space had a gas fireplace, a large flat-screen TV, and a desk. Wi-Fi was complimentary throughout the hotel, and the connection was speedy and reliable.
The suite’s best feature by far? Its balcony, with a stunning panoramic view of the boardwalk’s happenings as well as the vast Pacific Ocean beyond. I soaked up the view below—the skateboarders careening down the slopes of the beach’s skate park, the surfers stacking up along the faces of the waves, and the acrobatics of street performers surrounded by throngs of tourists.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo and are ready to take the plunge, you’re in luck! The Erwin offers an “Tattoo4Two” package that includes overnight accommodations for you and your plus one, along with a $100 voucher for tattoo services from a local acclaimed tattoo and graffiti artist, lotion, an ice pack, and a bottle of tequila. Where else but Venice?
The hotel’s crown jewel is its rooftop lounge, High. The only place of its kind in town, it boasts a fabulous vista of the sea, the boardwalk, and the city rooftops. The lounge features an eclectic but limited snack menu whose offerings include guacamole, chicken skewers, and hot dogs. Although Venice enjoys a warm climate, evenings can be cool, so the lounge has propane heaters to keep its clientele cozy.
On the ground floor is the hotel’s restaurant, Barlo, which serves breakfast, dinner, and cocktails. The menu includes local, sustainably grown produce and meats, and I enjoyed my breakfast of eggs from pastured hens with goat cheese, tomatoes, and spinach. Barlo is known for its fabulous burgers, but as a non–beef eater, I didn’t partake.
Everyone at the hotel was extremely accommodating, helpful, and informative, while also exuding the casual, low-key vibe that coastal LA county is known for. Next time you’re in California, you know where to go!