I decided to stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach for my upcoming business trip which would start actually the same day as I made the reservation. I remembered that I wanted to see if I could use a shopping portal to make a hotel reservation with Marriott. For ease of use to log in to all these different websites, as the Marriott app probably wouldn’t work with a cashback portal, I decided to make the booking on my PC. Unfortunately, when booking a AAA rate you have to provide your AAA membership number now. So far the system never asked me for that. Problem is, that I am a member of the European counterpart of AAA and that number isn’t accepted as with most hotels only AAA and CAA are accepted. I called the Ambassador hotline, and they even couldn’t do anything for me. My problem was that I had to make the booking right now and didn’t have time to wait for an email response within a few days, as I needed the hotel for tonight.
I finally decided to book the cheapest rate available for me, which was the Marriott member rate for a Studio, 1 Queen Sofa bedroom. It also showed me that there was a 2 Bedroom Bi-level Queen Suite available and I tried my luck and gambled for an upgrade to this suite as I am a Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador elite. More about that later.
The average rate for a 3-day stay was just over $210 with the Marriott Member rate. Booking the 2 Bedroom Bi-level Queen Suite would have costed me an average of $270 per night for the three nights at this property.
The Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach is located in the city of Manhattan Beach, CA on Highway 1. It is located about 2 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). From the hotel, it is about 1 mile as the crow flies to the beach and Manhattan Beach Pier. Just down the road are Target and CVS. They are within walking distance of the hotel. For everything else, it’s almost easier if you have a car or use a service like Uber or Lyft. The hotel is also great for business travelers as many big companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are in the near vicinity.
I arrived mid-afternoon at the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach. It was actually very easy to find thanks to navigation and good signage on the street. It might be a bit harder to find the entrance to the hotel at night when you are unfamiliar with the area. I parked at an empty spot next to Gatehouse, the main building that houses the lobby and registration. Masks are required in LA county, no matter your vaccination status. Two people were in front of me before it was my turn to check-in.
When the front desk clerk started checking me in, he told me that he currently only has a ground-level room available. I asked if they have an upgrade to the Bi-level suite available for my three-night stay. I got told that I couldn’t get upgraded as this specific suite is sold out for “tomorrow”. That was the answer I received from the clerk. As he kept checking me in, I checked in the app if the suite is still available and it was still available for bookings during the same timeframe as my stay. I asked if I could pay to get into the suite rather than just a regular room. The clerk told me that he had to check with his manager and went to the back. A minute later he came back and actually upgraded me free of charge to the suite I wanted for my stay.
I had to sign a piece of paper stating the rules and regulations of the hotel which are…
- The hotel rooms and property are a non-smoking area as well as the whole city of Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach became a completely smoke-free city in July of 2014 and has one of the strictest smoking bans in the whole state. There is only one designated smoking area and it’s located in the NW area of the hotel property. This is the only place where you can smoke on the hotel property.
- Quiet hours need to be respected which are from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.
- There is no partying in rooms or any loud noises.
If you violate any of these rules you will forfeit your hold of the incidental charges applied to your reservation during check-in. Once I got my keys, I also received my parking pass, which needs to be placed on the windshield of the car.
Parking is not free at this property. During my stay, it was $15 per night per vehicle.
I also received a map with the layout of the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach and how to get to my room. The clerk even marked the best parking spots for me, which are right in front of my building. To get close to any of the buildings you have to get through a gate which can be opened by holding your room key next to the card reader. The street going through the property is a big U-shape and is also a one-way street. While you need your room key to enter, you only need to pull up close to the exit gate with your vehicle for it to open.
2 Bedroom Bi-level Suite, Bedroom 1: 1 Queen, Bedroom is a loft, Bedroom 2: 1 Queen, Sofa Bed (Room 424)
After driving up to building number 4 in which my suite is located, I noticed that all the buildings only have stairs and no elevators. The room I got assigned is on the second floor and facing away from the property onto a garage of a Toyota dealership next door.
To get to the stairs leading to the room, you have to get through a passageway out towards the back. For some reason, the rooms facing out are not numbered at the front of the building. However, you see a sign with all the room numbers when you are in the passageway.
I headed up the stairs and entered the room. When you enter the suite you will notice the tall ceilings and the stair leading up to the loft part of the room. Behind the main entrance door to the suite, you will find a wall closet. Inside is plenty of space for storage and an iron and ironing board.
To your left is the living room area with an L-shaped sofa bed in front of a wall-mounted TV. In front of the sofa is a small table and a sofa chair to the right. Each of the corners of the room, to the left and right of the TV, has a lamp on a stand.
There are two windows in the living area on two different walls. One is facing outwards from the property and towards the Toyota dealership next door while the second and smaller window is facing the neighboring building number 3.
On the other side, to the right from the entrance, is the kitchen area. It comes with a full-size refrigerator with an ice chest, stove and stovetop, microwave, small hotel coffee maker, dishwasher and a kitchen sink. In the shelved and drawer of the kitchen, you can find pots and pans, plenty of knives and a can opener. For whatever reason, there are no spoons, forks or even any tableware. No tableware at all anywhere in the kitchen. This is the weirdest kitchen setup I have ever seen. Then it hit me, I opened the dishwasher and for some reason, all the forks and spoons were in the dishwasher, as well as all the tableware, mugs and wine glasses. I mean it’s great if housekeeping cleans these items between guests, but why were no knives cleaned or why wouldn’t the staff put them back into the shelves where they belong. We will probably never find out. There is a small dining table between the kitchen and living area. The table comes with 4 high chairs.
The climate controls are located next to the stairs. You will set a temperature for the whole suite and every room together. No individual controls are possible.
Straight ahead from the main entrance to the suite, is another door that leads into a separate room with a Queen bed. This bedroom is physically separated with a door from the rest of the suite, while the second “bedroom” is located upstairs and is not physically separated due to its loft style.
Inside is a Queen bed with a nightstand on either side and headboard-mounted lamps. Each of the nightstands comes with power and USB outlets. Behind the room door is a three-drawer dresser that also has Power and USB outlets on its top. I really like this, as I can plugin my gear to charge here, like my cameras.
Opposite the Queen bed is another wall-mounted TV screen which can’t be moved or turned to be better viewable from the small office desk in the corner of the room.
There are two windows in this bedroom. One is facing outwards towards the Toyota dealership next door and the second one is facing the neighboring building number 3.
To the right side of the bed is a small passage that will lead you to the bathroom. Between the bed and the bathroom is another wall closet with a sliding door and hangers inside.
Inside the bathroom is the vanity with a single sink and a wall-mounted mirror. Next to it is the toilet followed by a walk-in shower with glass sliding doors. Inside the shower are three hand pump dispensers for shampoo, shower gel and conditioner. What surprised me the most, was the amazing water pressure coming out of the showerhead. I really liked that a lot.
On the wall next to the bathroom door is a full-size dressing mirror.
Second Bedroom (Loft)
Let’s head upstairs. Take 14 steps to get to the upstairs and loft-style second bedroom of this suite. As you head upstairs you will notice another three-drawer dresser but this one has a nice stone countertop. Right above the dresser is a rail with hangers. This is basically an open closet. There is a smaller mirror mounted on the wall above the dresser.
The queen bed is located with the head-side towards the open end of the loft where you can look down onto the kitchen and living room area. On either side of the bed, you find a nightstand with lamps as well as power and USB outlets. When in bed you will face the third and last TV in this suite. It’s wall-mounted as well. The upstairs loft area comes with one window which is facing the neighboring building number 3.
When heading up to the loft, you will find the bathroom on your right. It comes with another single sink vanity and wall mounted mirror above it. The vanity has plenty of drawers and shelves for storage. On the left side, on the wall, you find two small shelves for your bathroom essentials. The vanity in the loft is wider than the one downstairs.
The toilet and shower are separated by a door from the rest of the loft. The shower is the same walk-in shower style as in the bedroom downstairs. It also has sliding glass doors.
Public Areas & Amenities
The Gatehouse, in which the front desk is located, is the main public space of the property. Inside is plenty of seating, which is mainly used for the breakfast service and the Residence Inn Mix (more about it later).
A business center is located near the main entrance, just around the corner. You find two workstations and a printer to use there.
The guest laundry is located upstairs inside the Gatehouse. This building is the only one that has an elevator as well as stairs to get to the second floor. You need your room key to enter the guest laundry. Inside are three washers and six dryers. There is a sign on the wall noting that cycle times are 30 minutes for either the washer or dryer. That’s not completely true, watch your settings on the machines as it can go up to 45 minutes. However, what I love most here is that you can swipe your credit card to use the machines. It will cost you $2 for the washer. Laundry detergent is for sale at the front desk for $1 per pack.
Next to the Gatehouse, you find the outdoor pool which is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. You will need your room key to enter the pool area. Around the pool area are a bunch of pool loungers to soak up some California sun. There are two BBQ areas with fire pits located next to the pool area. Besides that, they have a ton of seating options and tables to enjoy the food. They are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Behind the pool area and next to the Gatehouse is the fitness center. It’s located in a separate building with a view of the pool area. For access, you need your room key. It is a pretty well-equipped fitness center which you can use 24 hours a day.
Other than that, you will find benches throughout the property to sit and hang out. There is also a pet relief area on the property and it’s located next to building 17. Check the map you receive during check-in.
What surprised me the most, was the full self-service hot breakfast. I was expected some limited service rather than a full hot breakfast. We are still in LA county with one of the strictest coronavirus rules in the area.
The breakfast area is in the main building with the lobby. There are plenty of dining tables in the lobby to be able to get a spot no matter when you show up for breakfast. The coffee station is a little bit hidden behind a small wall, but the sign is visible when you look from the front desk. Coffee is served 24/7 but unfortunately, there is no flavored creamer of which I am a big fan. 🙂
Residence Inn Mix
From Monday through Wednesday the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Manhattan Beach offers light hors d’oeuvres, complimentary beer and wine as well as beverages. Meet in the lobby of the gatehouse from 6:00 p.m until 7:30 p.m. for the RI Mix.
The Market and Groceries
Next to the front desk is a marketplace offering beverages, snacks, meal items as well as items such as medicine and toiletries. You can also use the hotel’s groceries shopping service. Drop off your list by 9 a.m. and your order will be delivered the same day.
In-Room Food Delivery Service
On the table in the kitchen is a tablet from where you can order food for delivery. I took a closer look. The screen shows that only cash and credit card is accepted for payment. After making a selection and putting it in my cart, I tried to check out. From that screen, you can select your tip amount and submit your order.
I stopped here and called the front desk to see if the service is provided by the hotel or if it’s an off-site service. But they didn’t know how you pay as I asked if I can put in my information on the tablet or if I have to pay when my food arrives. The answer was just, that the system often doesn’t work and I should better try Uber Eats, Doordash or any other food delivery service.
BBQ Area with fire pit
As mentioned earlier, there are two BBQ areas located next to the pool by the Gatehouse. Both of them are first-come, first-serve basis. BBQ accessories can be obtained at the front desk.
Because of the pandemic, no regular scheduled housekeeping was offered during my stay. Housekeeping service could be requested through the front desk, a day ahead of time for certain time windows for the service.
My biggest issue was the WiFi, which took about 5 hours before I was able to log in to the hotel’s WiFi. Also, it dropped multiple times during my stay and I had to log in again on the portal page. At least it was working then most of the time smoothly. I talked to the lady at the front desk when I checked out after my second day and she told me this was due to a system upgrade at the property. Every building is getting higher speeds and that’s why there were issues. So you guys should be fine on future stays, even tho the guy I called after checking in, didn’t know anything about the upgrade being done. That’s the times we live in now.
Other than that I can’t complain. I really loved that there was a full hot breakfast buffet as you are used to at Residence Inn properties. Also, they had their RI Mix going on during the first three days of the week where you get free beer, wine and small snacks. What else can you ask for. I am totally satisfied.
As mentioned many times, I don’t really care that there is no regular housekeeping. I always put the DND sign on my door long before everyone knew what the word pandemic means.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.