In the past we have stayed at many chain hotels. Most of the time we had flags we trusted where we also could earn points. However, lately we have tried some boutique hotels. The latest is the Inn at the Beach Venice – which proved to be a wonderful experience.
A “Boutique Hotel” has been described as a small and intimate lodging facility. Most have a stylish design decor with a personal note. They have a unique character which distinguishes them from chains. Boutiques also provide guests with great and ultra-personalized service and typically are situated in a fashionable urban location.
We had booked our room sight unseen – but were delighted when we arrived. Although this is an older structure, it is more than well maintained. We found the rooms sufficiently spacious with all the creature comforts. Naturally there was a television, a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker.
Additionally, along with the obligatory coffee, there were two bottles of water and an envelope of microwave popcorn awaiting us. Our only downside was the room that met our pricepoint was a standard double. Although the beds were comfortable, we prefer at least a queen.
Another nice amenity was a pair of beach towels that had been placed at the end of the bed. Those actually were for the pool. However, we imagine some might have gone across the street to the beach. We did not use ours.
The Inn at the Beach is big on vanity accessories. The bathroom was stocked with a full line of individually labeled soaps, shampoos, conditioners and body lotions. On the desk we found a pair of notecards with envelopes. Each had a watercolor print of the Inn, ready for a quick letter to friends up north who are all but snowed-in.
We were impressed by the width of the hallways. Although it was an outside entrance (not Mrs. Funmeister’s favorite), the walkway was spacious. In fact, there were tables and small chairs in front of each room. These provided a view of the park across the street. That said, we still could walk by others sitting out, without having to squeeze.
The Inn overlooks Heritage Park. That green space is dedicated to the memory of the Venice Army Air Base. There are historical displays, commemorative plaques, and a memorial to veterans of all service branches there.
At the end of the hotel, across the Esplanade, was Venice Beach. Under the iconic “Sail Pavilion” that serves as the entryway, are a small shop, tables and restroom facilities.
For those who collect artifacts of the sea, Venice Beach is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” Mrs Funmeister is a shell collector and was delighted to find that the sharks’ teeth at the beach were no longer actually connected to the shark.
We will tell you that although the beach at Venice is good for many things, walking is not one of them. The downward pitch of the hard sand is great for swimmers and for kids to play. But it does not provide an adequate level walking surface.
Further up, the soft sand is great for planting an umbrella and enjoying the day with a couple of beach chairs.
The Inn at the Beach also is just a few blocks from the Venice Historic District. This is a compendium of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities. It is within walking distance for extremely hardy individuals. We took the car – as there was plenty of parking.
We did visit the Zebra Piano Bar and ate at TJ Carneys – but that just scratched the surface. This was our second trip to Venice but it won’t be our last. Each time we find new and interesting places. We really enjoyed our stay at the Inn on the Beach as well. Next time, we might investigate the rooms that face toward the Gulf.