Doubles from $185.
The Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles has become one of the city’s most enviable areas, thanks to its proximity to the beach and the area’s burgeoning restaurant scene. But until now it has had surprisingly few stylish places to stay. The Rose Hotel, which opened in August 2014, represents a new type of property, doubling as a well-priced hostel (albeit a chic one, with artist prints and Bedouin-style pillows) drawing surfers and other bargain seekers, as well as a place with large suites perfect for families and business travelers. Housed in a former brothel and motel, the Rose is an emblem of both the area’s storied past and its new appeal.
Just a block from the famous Venice boardwalk and in the heart of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Google and Snapchat have offices nearby, and new glass and shingled residential showcases with some of the city’s highest price tags are cropping up among former crack houses. It’s an area still in flux between gritty and affluent, rock ‘n’ roll and tech head, which gives it great character.
Units range from rooms with slightly thin walls and shared bathrooms to much more luxurious mini-apartments that have views of the legendary beach with its long, rolling waves and promenade. When I checked in earlier this year with my husband and 4-year-old son, we were upgraded to the Abbot Kinney suite. It came with its own terrace and wood deck chairs overlooking the beach, a separate living room with fireplace, and working kitchen. After seeing the first room we had reserved — it was on the smaller side with no view — I don’t think a standard unit would have worked for our family for three nights; the smaller units are more appropriate for single travelers or guests who will spend most of their time exploring the city. So be honest about your needs. The owner plans to expand the property next spring with 10 more suites, hanging gardens and refurbished bathrooms.
Our bathroom, with a small Art Deco bathtub and shower, was more charming than dinky, with good water pressure and excellent toiletries from Malin & Goetz.
Free Wi-fi is available, as are bikes and surfboards for exploring the area and waves. Some of the bikes come with children’s seats, convenient for getting to any of the excellent playgrounds nearby; families can also ride up to the Santa Monica pier.
Free French-press coffee (from Blue Bottle, an excellent small producer) and fresh croissants are served for breakfast in the stylish, light-filled lobby. Room service is planned for next spring. The property does not have its own restaurant but it is close to excellent neighborhood spots like Gjelina and Axe. The hot new restaurant Gjusta, with seasonal and local fare, is nearby and has great food to take away or for beachside picnics. We ordered its delicious chicken escarole soup, a perfectly seasoned falafel sandwich and cured fish, including kippered salmon and cold smoked lox, which we took back to eat in our suite.
Close to Santa Monica but a world apart, the Rose Hotel makes for a perfect hideaway if you are in town for a beach vacation or business meeting. It is a quirky spot full of personality, but if you need more traditional space and amenities you may want to look elsewhere.