When I had to go to LA for the first time, it was for job reasons. I had to interview a famous Austrian chef who has made it big in Hollywood with his own restaurant, at the age of 28. Of course the interview only took about two hours, but as I’ve never been to LA before that, I decided to stay for a bit more than a week. I was trying to find an accommodation that’s in a nice and safe area, because I was going to travel alone. So I talked to a few friends and one of them recommended the Ocean Park Hotel in Santa Monica.
Now Santa Monica is about 35 minutes of driving away from Hollywood and even further away from downtown LA, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the nicest areas around there. I looked at the website of the hotel and the rates and booked it. Because there was no cheaper option anyway and my friends who have stayed here a few months earlier were really impressed by the friendliness of the hosts and the area. And I have to agree.
First of all the communication prior to my visit was really nice. I just sent them an e-mail, asking if I have to bring towels (they were provided) and they asked back if I needed assistance with my airport shuttle. I had no clue about the states and distances, as my only prior visit to the US was with a press group. So they took care of my shuttle and gave me all the details, I felt really welcomed before I even arrived.
Everything went smoothly with the shuttle. It was a shared one and therefore it took us a while until everybody was dropped off at their respective hotels but still I got to the Ocean Park Hotel in like fourty minutes. It was late at night, so the front desk was already closed at that time but they had provided me with all the information about how to get in and find my keys if I arrive late.
My room was a double, it was clean, quite spacious and smelled nice (which is not always the case in hotels, you know…). Every room is equipped with a bed (of course), a sink, a TV, a fridge and a microwave. Sounds spartan, but it’s enough. You don’t really need more. There are shared bathrooms, two on every floor (one for the gents and one for the ladies). I have to admit that I haven’t used shared bathrooms since my childhood holiday camp times, but it was really no big deal. The bathrooms were super clean and as there are only two showers and two toilets, you still kinda have a lot of privacy. And now that I think of it… I only met somebody else in there for like two or three times during my stay. So no biggie at all.
But what impressed me the most was the superfriendly staff. The cleaning staff was super efficient and accurate, the people working at the front desk were making sure I find my way around. They helped me with everything I needed to know, they provided a map, some tipps on where to go and what to do, they always asked me how my day was when I came back in the evenings and if I needed something. They also recommended the lovely OP Café to me, where I spent every morning. Of course it’s not right at the beach, but the Big Blue Bus that stops around the corner takes you down to the pier and the 3rd Street Promenade, you can easily reach some great malls around that area and it’s not too far to downtown LA, Hollywood, Venice Beach and so on. Plus: I felt safe in that area, it’s a nice neighbourhood with houses and well groomed yards. I always came back late in the evening and had to walk a bit sometimes, but really, ideal for solo female travelers.
What else can I say? Go there, but book in advance, because I feel like the Ocean Park Hotel is not really a secret tip anymore. People just love it there and I know exactly why. Rates start around 100 USD for a double room, but make sure to book via their website as they have the best rates available.
The Ocean Park Hotel
2680 32nd Street,
Los Angeles, CA