When my family travels, there are certain requirements I look for in a hotel — free parking, free breakfast and free Wi-Fi. When it came time for me to escape for a one-night “Mommy vacation,” the same requirements were still there. But, I also needed to find a hotel relatively close to home without it feeling like I was close to home. I wanted to find a hotel that would take care of me the way I take care of my family.
Inn at Playa del Rey
435 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, CA 90293
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I found the answer at the Inn at Playa del Rey.
Three years ago, I stayed at the Inn for my first Mommy vacation. I was long overdue for another one.
The Inn at Playa del Rey describes itself as a “boutique hotel” (it has 22 guest rooms) and a “bed and breakfast.” But it really isn’t like any other hotel or bed and breakfast I have ever experienced. This establishment is special, and it’s in all the “little touches” that add up to create a truly memorable stay.
For moms, the location is ideal. I was still close enough to home that if my nine-year-old son and husband needed me to return, I could be home in about half an hour. It made leaving so much easier. But while I was close to home, I didn’t feel it. I felt secluded as if a bubble surrounded this special spot on Culver Boulevard.
I arrived at the Inn an hour before check-in time, was warmly greeted, and given a brief tour of the Inn’s main floor. I was informed of some of the Inn’s many amenities including bicycles to borrow and beach towels if I went down to the beach (toys are available too if families are traveling). I began relaxing right away, spending part of my extra hour reading in one of the Inn’s comfy outdoor areas.
I wandered around the reception area, admired the furnishings, and took in the view. The Inn is adjacent to Marina del Rey, a few minutes away from LAX, and overlooks the Ballona Wetlands.
Visitors to the Inn will notice that, upon arriving, all guest rooms are unlocked. On the one hand, it means that curious visitors like myself can peek into empty guest rooms. But the real reason the Inn does that is for convenience — so guests don’t have to balance suitcases and bags while struggling to get the room key into the door’s lock. Each guest room also has classical music playing upon arrival — a charming touch that I have never experienced anywhere else. And for an extra-special treat, each guest room includes a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as well as a welcome note. The sight of it made me smile and think of how many times I’ve slipped a note into my son’s lunchbox. The fact that this was now being done for me was extraordinary.
My room was, in a word, magnificent. I was upgraded to the Grand View Suite, and I felt a bit giddy at all this space, all this quiet, just for me. Once I arrived at the Inn, there really was no need to venture out again unless I wanted to. And that’s exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to spend my precious “me-time” stuck in the car. So I sat out on my small balcony and glimpsed sailboats in the distance, watched birds glide, and heard airplanes as they soared high into the sky. My room had many homelike spots including a couch where I stretched out and read my novel. I brought my laptop to the cozy chair by the fireplace and caught up with emails.
I took advantage of the Inn’s nightly wine and hors d’oeuvres (from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm each night). I sat at a circular table, adorned with a sunflower (my favorite flower) and breathed in the fresh air coming in from the open French doors. I snacked on cheese and crackers and read a magazine. And all the while enjoyed the soft music the Inn plays on a regular basis.
Downstairs, in what resembles a charming “living room,” you’ll find a large binder full of menus for restaurants and eateries, many of which are within walking distance. But I wanted to take advantage of my guest room. So I drove over to a nearby Ralphs, picked up a light dinner, and ate in my room. Unlike dinners at home, once I sat down to eat, I remained sitting. No one needed a milk refill, no one asked for seconds, and nothing spilled. I sat and ate and read. (While there was a large TV in the room, I didn’t turn it on during my stay).
The dual fireplace (it looks into the living area as well as the room’s jacuzzi) cozied up my room, and I felt completely snuggly during the night. The following morning, I took advantage of the Inn’s complimentary breakfast buffet — where even the pickiest of eaters are sure to find something they like.
Throughout my stay, any time I spoke with an Inn employee or simply passed by an employee, I was greeted with a smile and kind words. Unlike other hotels, employees here seemed genuinely happy to be here, and eager to do what they could to make visitors feel at home.
I decided to venture beyond the Inn for a while. I spent some time at nearby Del Rey Lagoon Park, and made a mental note to return one day with my son. Then I went to sit at Dockweiler Beach. I found myself looking between the ocean and the planes taking off from nearby LAX.
I was told that during the week, the Inn has many business travelers. While my stay had me arriving on a Wednesday, and I was told the Inn was full, it never felt full. I had no problems finding a parking space in the Inn’s covered parking area. The sitting area was never too crowded, and when I was downstairs writing and enjoying the view, there was always a fresh supply of water, coffee, and pastries that are offered throughout the day.
Check-out time was 12:00 pm, and surprisingly, I found myself not wanting to leave the Inn any earlier than I had to. I didn’t feel as if I had spent the night away from home, but instead, had been a guest in someone else’s home.
I came home and told my husband that this would not be a one-time “mommy vacation.” I’ve found my spot — someplace that is for me, that doesn’t require me to spend hours in the car to get there, and ia actually a place that could serve as anyone’s spot — whether it’s out-of-town family visiting or a mom who just needs to step away from her family for a night so she can return to them more refreshed.
Disclaimer: I was provided a one-night stay at the Inn at Playa del Rey for review purposes. All opinions are my own.