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Just a block from the Venice Beach Boardwalk, by way of the entrance to the postcard-perfect Venice canals and a dozen restaurants, the Inn at Venice Beach enjoys a great location that is unquestionably convenient for families wanting to make the most of their time in this neighborhood.
While it's hard to see much of Los Angeles without a car, it was great to set out for the beach and eateries, not to mention strolls through the canals, simply on foot and with stroller. Better still, bike rentals, including a baby trailer and child helmets, are available right at the boardwalk, with the Santa Monica Pier just a pleasant bike ride away.
I'd had the Inn at Venice Beach in my sites for some time, but as you can imagine, availability can be a challenge. I didn't think it was going to work out for this trip, but when I stumbled onto a last-minute deal on a "family suite" that had opened up at the Inn for our dates, I jumped at the opportunity.
The family suites are 2 stories with a vaulted ceiling above the living area and a kitchenette with microwave, small fridge, sink, and coffee maker tucked under the staircase. The loft above has a queen size bed with its own TV in an armoire, while the lower level has a queen size sofabed, and second large TV in an armoire. The suite's one bathroom is located on the lower level--the best placement if you have kiddos sleeping on the fold-out sofa.
With an active crawling and cruising baby, I knew the stairs could be a potential problem for us, and I arranged for a rented safety gate to help take care of the problem. But as I recount in this blog post (The Ultimate Hotel Babyproofing Trick), the safety gate could not babyproof the "floating stairs" --though a box of rented toys from a Los Angeles Baby Gear Rental agency did the trick.
While the family suite was certainly spacious and would have been perfect with just our older kids at 4 and 6 years (even at 3 years I think it would have been great), the stairs will make it a challenge for any family with a mobile baby or toddler. Fortunately, the hotel's standard rooms do not present this problem for guests with wee travelers, who will also appreciate the hotel crib provided at no extra charge. All rooms include free high-speed wireless access.
If you are very noise-sensitive, request a room that looks in toward the courtyard rather than out at the street. Our upper-level room faced Washington Blvd., and we did hear some conversations in the night, though I considered it part of the Venice Beach atmosphere and the kids slept through without complaint.
One of the perks of staying at the Inn at Venice Beach is the complimentary continental breakfast served at the cobblestone courtyard on the main level. Don't be embarrassed if you have trouble finding it, however--in spite of looking like it's simply on the lowest level, I ran into two other people who were searching for it on my way to the front desk to ask. Unfortunately for us it was drizzling during each of our breakfasts, so we huddled indoors in the small breakfast room and looked out on the courtyard instead. There was a kid-pleasing selection of the basics: toaster waffles, yogurt, bagels, cereal, coffee, and tea. Neighboring conversations in German and Italian definitely added to the cobblestone charm of the setting as we ate.
Self-parking is an extra $7 per day for hotel guests, with easy in and out access. Some parking spaces are covered and fill up first in the afternoons.
The hotel has an elevator, but it gets very busy during check out.
Would we return? Possibly. I'm a fan of Venice Beach, where rooms are in high demand and vacation rentals very difficult to get. This hotel presents a good option for families, though clearly we would wait a couple of years before booking the suite again.