One of my friends was looking for some ideas on LA hotels for her son’s spring break, and since I pulled together a list for her, I thought I’d share it here.

Here are some of my suggestions: If you’re going to LA for vacation, especially with a child, stay near the beach. Although my personal favorite hotel in LA is the Sunset Tower in Hollywood, when we go, we are not on vacation. We are trying to squeeze in visits with our friends, all who live and work all over the city, and we want to be in a central location. We also like that it has a bar and a restaurant that our friends are happy to come to, so we don’t even need to get in a car to go meet them. But that’s a very isolated situation, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for most families on a vacation. Here is what I would do–stay at any nice property in Santa Monica or Venice, so that you’re close to the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, and Abbot Kinney, which has some of my favorite places to eat.

Venice Beach Eco-Cottages: These are one bedroom cottages, have a 3 night minimum, and the prices range from $215-250 per night. You could shop at the farmer’s market and cook dinner at home, (or at least breakfast!) and there’s a washer-dryer. (We haven’t stayed here–I have just heard good things about it.)

Everyone talks about Shutters, but it’s very expensive, and often unavailable. I also figure, if you’re going to LA because you want to go to Universal Studios, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Getty, and then to squeeze in a trip down to Disneyland or Legoland, how much time are you really spending in your hotel room anyway? I’m putting in this Loew’s Santa Monica, because the downside of the Venice Beach Eco-Cottages is no pool! Loew’s isn’t cheap, but I bet that since it’s a bigger hotel property, you could probably use some kind of mileage program to get a free night. (We have not stayed here.)

Hotel Oceana Santa Monica: We stayed here when Clara was a baby, and I can tell it’s been updated nicely since we were there. I loved the location, and the pool in the courtyard. Our really good friends have stayed here many times and love how relaxed and homey the vibe is.

The ViceroyWe stayed here probably several years ago, so I don’t have the most current review…but we did really like it. The location was great–there’s a great breakfast restaurant right across the street. And it’s just up the street from the beach. And a walk away from the Pier.

Our favorite places to eat on the west side of town:
On Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach: Gjellina (for lunch, or very early dinner–it’s a mad house at regular dinner hours), Shima, Axe.
In Santa Monica: Huckleberry Cafe, Tavern.

For more travel ideas, check out Travels with Clara.


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Comments (2)


  1. Posted by: Kristin nilsen

    We also enjoyed the Venice Suites, rental apartments right on Venice Beach and the boardwalk. There’s a lot of activity on the boardwalk, some of it wacky, so you have to be ok with that – but it was great to have a kitchen and walk to the beach without even putting our shoes on. They even have beach toys on site.

  2. Posted by: Suzanne

    Another fun place with kids is the Fountain Coffee Room downstairs at the Beverly HIlls Hotel. It’s an old-fashioned, curvy lunch-counter with over-the-top banana leaf wallpaper and excellent pancakes or shakes. We always try to go when we’re out there.

    And all kids love the arcade at the Santa Monica Pier.

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