With 2 nights in Los Angeles and having been here several times, I decided to take things easy and stay close to the airport and perhaps head to the beaches. I went with one of the cheaper Residence Inn options that does not have a hotel shuttle but not far from the airport. Using an Uber from the airport costs about $16 for the roughly 10 minutes ride.
The Residence Inn is marketed to be close to Manhattan Beach but it would take around 20-30 minutes walk to reach and it has a chalet feel with rooms spread across the various stand alone buildings that house up to 4 units. Rooms on the second floor of the units does not have any elevators as a side note so request for ground floor units if you have accessibility issues. While there are open on-site parking in the hotel, guests would be charged $10 daily if they drive.
Checking into the hotel late at night meant the lobby and reception in the main lodge was very quiet with just one staff manning the counter along with a security guard. The receptionist also tried his best to find me rooms on the ground floor, providing me a map with the list of ground floor rooms available.
With the map provided by the receptionist I picked the closest one to the main building since most of the units are more or less similar in terms of size. After processing my check-in, a small welcome package consisting of 2 bottle of water and a scratch card was given to me. The scratch card reward was a choice of ice cream from the market.
Room No: 2112 Category: Queen Studio
The room I chose was located in the first floor of the building shown below. This unit was just beside the main lodge, making it convenient to get to the facilities of the hotel.
Inside the room it is more like a small home with the living room by the door containing an L-shaped sofa with a swivelling TV so it can be watched from the sofa or the bed.
Across from the living room was a full kitchen with a full-size fridge, microwave and an induction cooking hob. Cutleries, plates, and cooking utensils are all stocked in the cupboards making this unit suitable for long-term stays since there is a Target just beside the hotel if guests need to buy groceries.
On the kitchen counters, the basket that holds coffee capsules and tea bags includes a packet of microwave-able popcorn.
There is a counter with 2 stools in the kitchen making it feasible as a dining spot for 2. As part of the amenities in the kitchen, there was dishwashing liquid and capsules for the dishwasher.
Separating the bedroom and the living space is a desk that also hold the TV. There was power outlets conveniently placed on the side with more outlets by the bedside table.
The Queen bed in the bedroom was somewhat smaller but it was fine for one person. Bedsheet and comforter was not up to par to some other hotels like the Element or an aloft.
Next to the bed there was a small closet for your luggage, and a sliding door would lead to the bathroom.
The bathroom is split up into 2 sections, with the bathroom countertop in the dry section. The space was large and guests could access the closet space from here as well.
A standing shower area with sliding glass panels sits inside the wet section along with the toilet. The shower comprises of a fixed shower head common in many North American Sheratons.
Bathroom amenities comes in larger bottles that are fixed to the wall. They were from the Tea-Tree brand, while a small body lotion and soap was provided out front on the console.
While the size of the room was excellent, the quality of the furnishings and fittings leave much to be desired. Aside from the bed, the bathroom ventilation can get really noisy with the room air conditioning so it can be a nuisance for guests at night.
Breakfast at the Restaurant
All guests staying at Residence Inn gets complimentary breakfast. Breakfast is served at the main building from 6:30-9am on weekdays and from 7-10am on weekends. The lobby at the main building doubles as the dining space in the morning and there was plenty of seats though the space gets noisy in the morning so it can be disruptive to guests checking in.
The buffet console is located in the room at the end of the lobby. This room is closed when the breakfast hours are over. For breakfast, there are several warm dishes in the buffet spread and the choices was turkey sausage, andouille sausage, normal scrambled eggs, and egg white scrambled.
Bread is an essential part of breakfast and there was a toaster along with choices of bagel and croissant. Condiments like nutella, strawberry jam and honey are placed next to the containers for dried fruits.
My favourite item in the buffet was the waffles that guests could make themselves using the batter dispenser and the waffle maker.
These mini waffles are great with topped with whipped cream and the various sauces (maple syrup, mango or raspberry), though the nutella would be great to add to the waffles too!
On the cold dishes section, there was pre-packed yogurts with assorted flavours. Next to the berries, there was boiled eggs, and cheese. A variety of sliced fruits, strawberries and grapes was also placed in the cold dish section.
Besides the sliced fruits, there was fresh bananas, oranges and apples on the buffet table. Three types of cereal are available from the dispensing container along with two types of milk.
For drinks, aside from coffee and tea, guests could also help themselves to iced coffee. A variety of syrups like those in Starbucks was available to sweeten the coffee. Other sweet drinks like fruit juices and soft drinks are available from the dispensers.
The breakfast spread here was adequate and pretty good considering it is free for all guests.
Fitness Centre and Swimming Pool
The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool located next to the main building. The space is nice for a dip in the summer though it was empty in the winter. It is open daily from 8am to 10pm.
Inside the main building, there is a fitness centre with several treadmills with a weights area. It was kind of basic and not the most comprehensive but the space provides for a comfortable work-out. The fitness centre is unsupervised and guests just need their key card to enter. Thus this facility is open 24 hours a day.
Beside the reception desk in the lobby, there is a hotel pantry which sells a variety of snacks and drinks along with travel necessities. This is because there is no in-room minibar, so guests could buy food and drinks here.
In one corner of the lobby, there is one PC and one Mac for guests to use but both seems to have standing space only and not meant for long term use. A printer is also available beside the workstations.
This corner has comfortable sofas as well with a large flatscreen TV for guests to mingle outside of their room.
Room rate at this property was around $150 including taxes (~$110 before taxes) which is not cheap for a long-term stay property. However with breakfast included and the large room that was comfortable even for small families, this property makes it easier for small families on road trips or coming to Los Angeles for a week or so.
For solo travellers on a layover in Los Angeles, perhaps one of the hotels with a free shuttle service might make more sense if the prices are the same. As my first time staying at a Residence Inn, I would compare it to Hyatt House and I think both fare well for road trippers and those travellers staying for a longer duration.