Booking & Stay Details
This was a last-minute booking. I needed to be the next morning at a project just south of Santa Barbara. It was either drive there late at night and get a hotel or get up super early to take the drive from LAX all the way up to Santa Barbara. I was “shopping” around at different hotel apps to see what’s in the vicinity and available including prices. I decided to go with the Ventura Beach Marriott. One reason why I picked this one over the Four Points at the Marina in Ventura was the availability of a suite for the length of my stay. As I have a ton of Suite Night Awards with Marriott still in my account, I was hoping to use them before they expire. I called the Ambassador Elite hotline to see if I can do a last-minute redemption. Normally, the latest chance to use these upgrades is by 2 p.m. hotel time the day before arrival. Unfortunately, the Ambassador Elite hotline gets bounced around the world instead of getting someone on the phone in the United States, my call got forwarded to an office somewhere in Asia. Therefore we had a few communication issues. The agent also told me that she can’t do anything as it is Marriott’s policy that you have to use it before 2 p.m. the day before arrival. She however offered to call the property on my behalf to see if she could confirm an advanced upgrade because of my elite status. She put me on hold and got back to me with bad news. The Ventura Beach Marriott apparently told her, that they can’t upgrade me to a suite because of the length of my stay of four days.
After that phone call, I still went ahead and booked the Ventura Beach Marriott. Instead of a four-night stay, I booked five nights to give myself extra time after I am finished with the project there. I booked the room with my Amex to make use of an Amex offer I have in my account for some cashback. The rate was just a bit over $200/night for a regular room. This did not include the $16 per night parking fee of which I knew when booking the hotel. You have to check the hotel details to find out about parking rates, as they don’t show up at the checkout page.
The Ventura Beach Marriott is located next to Highway 101, which is merged in this area with Highway 1 aka Pacific Coast Highway. The most scenic route to take along the California coast as well as the rest of the west coast of the U.S. From the hotel, it’s about 1500 ft (460 m) to the ocean as the crow flies. You can’t really see it from the hotel as there are a bunch of other buildings between the hotel and the ocean. It’s an easy walk to the beach to hang out and watch the sunset. The San Buenaventura State Beach is right across the street from the hotel. The hotel itself doesn’t offer any beach amenities like chairs, umbrellas and such. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the hotel to the Ventura Pier and Ventura Promenade. In that area, you find a bunch of restaurants and it’s a great area to hang out as well. The hotel’s location makes it also perfect if you are planning on exploring the Channel Island National Park. It is less than 10 minutes to get to the Island Packer Cruises, the only official concessionary offering boat tours to Channel Island National Park. The Four Points hotel, another Marriott property, I mentioned earlier, would be even closer, but what are 10 minutes.
Even with the Ventura Beach Marriott not being a beach-front property, it is still a great location. You have easy access to the beach and also to the freeway if you plan to visit many of the other beautiful areas along the coast. A beach-front location would probably also increase the price drastically.
After about a 1.5 hour drive from LAX, I arrived at the Ventura Beach Marriott. I parked in front of the main entrance which features a large roundabout. As it was already past 10 p.m. the front door was locked and you can’t get in without a room key. Luckily one of the front desk agents saw me arrive and walked towards the sliding door from the inside to open it. I followed her to the desk and she started the check-in process for me. As she pulled up my reservation on her system, I asked if she would let me use my Suite Night Awards. She checked if there was a suite available for the length of my five-night stay and she was actually able to upgrade me to a suite without any further issues. I didn’t even have to use any of my suite night awards. This was very surprising to me, as the hotel wasn’t able a few hours earlier to confirm a suite upgrade for me for only a four-night stay. I didn’t complain about the upgrade and was super happy that I received it. This made my weekend a whole lot nicer. 🙂
She explained the layout to me and where I can park to have easier access to my room. She also gave me a printed menu for the bar and their breakfast offering. While driving to the suggested parking location, I noticed that the entrance gate to the parking lot was stuck open and you only needed your room key to exit the parking lot. Except if you go in and out through the parking garage on-site. The parking garage is located at the southern end of the property and needs some repair. The stairway is seriously weathered as some of the railings of the parking garage need repair. The exit of the parking garage drops you onto Monmouth Way but the gate there is seriously damaged, I would even say it got run over. I didn’t notice that until the next morning when I left the property in my car.
1 King Bed Room Suite (Room 4107)
After I checked in, I pulled my car around to the very far end of the parking lot, next to the parking garage. As mentioned by the front desk agent, there was another entry door to the hotel which you can open with your room key. There is only one entrance/exit to the parking lot and for some reason, the gate to enter was open all the time, even the next morning. However, you needed your key to exit.
I grabbed my bags and headed inside. After a quick check of both directions, I found the elevator to my left and headed up to the top floor. The fourth floor is the highest floor in this part of the building, the adjoining part of the building only has three floors. Therefore the fourth floor in my part of the building is just one long hallway with no connection to the rest of the buildings without at least getting one level lower via stairs or elevator. My suite was on the very far end of that hallway.
Once you enter the suite you have the massive living room in front of you. It has somewhat of a triangular shape. Immediately to your left is a little niche with a stand where you can put a suitcase or other bags.
Along one wall of the room, you have a work desk with an office chair. Over it is a wall-mounted TV. One side of the desk has a little cabinet that houses a small refrigerator. On top, you find your coffee maker with all the necessary stuff in the little black box next to it.
Following the desk is a large sliding door which gives you access to a small balcony. It has one chair for outdoor use on it, but you can use some of the other chairs in your suite as well. The view is absolutely nothing special from this room. You can see the neighboring gas station and watch people getting a car wash. As you look alongside the hotel building you see the parking garage and the parking lot below it. You can see a tiny little bit of the ocean between all the other houses but it’s really not worth mentioning. The sliding door comes with a sliding curtain and window blank if it gets too bright to watch TV during the day.
Along the wall opposite the TV are a sleeper sofa and a sofa chair with a lampstand next to it. As the room is triangle-shaped the wall opposite of the TV is not parallel to the wall with the TV. The TV can’t be turned either but as you are far enough away, this is not a big issue to watch TV from the sofa bed.
The last wall is somewhat special. The guest bathroom protrudes from the wall and therefore creates a niche that houses a dining table with four chairs and a big lamp to lighten the area. It’s nice to have this dining area, but there is not even a microwave in the whole suite. But it’s great if you ordered food for delivery or room service (currently suspended because of the pandemic).
Now to the guest bathroom, it is identical to the master bathroom in size, shape and features. It can be separated from the living area with a sliding door that has frosted glass to give you privacy. The door can’t be locked from the inside but even if you are a family staying here, it will be obvious if someone is using the bathroom.
The living room and bedroom have it’s own AC controls. The one for the living room is next to the sliding door of the bathroom. Temperatures can be adjusted individually for each room.
The bedroom is very very spacious. This room isn’t rectangular either which I actually love. It takes the boredom out of it. Just by looking at it and your eyes wander… On one side you have the King bed with a large headboard and nightstands on either side. Each side of the bed comes with power outlets and USB ports for charging. You also find two switches on either side, one is for the night light on the respective side of the bed and the second one will turn on and off the headboard lighting.
Directly opposite the bed is another large wall-mounted flatscreen TV. Below is a shelf to hold some of your belongings. Rather than being a straight outside wall, this one forms a triangle and houses a seating area with a sofa chair with a lamp and a small table next to it. The other half of the triangle has a window facing the same direction as the balcony door. You can crack open the window a tiny little bit, as it has a stop on the rail it slides on for safety.
Before you get into the master bathroom you have a small niche that holds a wardrobe and the AC controls for the bedroom. The wardrobe has another spot where you can put your suitcase for easy access to it.
As mentioned earlier both bathrooms have the same size and layout. One side of the bathroom houses a large single sink vanity with a wall-mounted lighted mirror. Opposite the vanity is a large walk-in shower with two glass sliding doors. The shower comes with a showerhead as well as a hand-held shower wand. On the other end of the shower is a recess that can be used to sit down. I don’t remember ever having seen anything like that in a shower. To complete the bathroom, you have a toilet at the far end of the room between the vanity and shower. This bathroom also has a sliding door with a large frosted glass window.
Public Areas & Amenities
Lobby & Mezzanine
When you first walk into the Ventura Beach Marriott you notice the very large and open space near the front desk. There is plenty of seating in the lobby area which has a mezzanine level with meeting rooms. It’s beautiful and a great spot to hang out if there isn’t a pandemic going on. Adjoined to the lobby area is the Channel Restaurant & Bar, more about it later. The check-in counter is located slightly to the right as you enter the hotel through the main entrance. Between the main entrance and the front desk is a small business center with one workstation and two printers. Right on the other side of the table, you find a guest microwave as there is none in the guest rooms. Next to the business center is a small hallway that leads to the Emma Wood Ballrom and restrooms.
One of the main amenities is the amazing and gorgeous courtyard. It is boxed in by the hotel on all four corners. There is no direct access to the courtyard without going through one of the hotel entrances. The courtyard has many seating options throughout the area. One features a table and umbrella while another area is U-shaped around a fire pit. Most of these spots are next to the pond that has multiple waterfalls. You have to take a stroll all the way around to appreciate what they built here. It makes the courtyard so much more inviting to relax and hang out. Enjoy the California sun during the day and hang out next to the fire pit after the sun has set. This is one of the best courtyards I have encountered so far for that kind of hotel. The Ventura Beach Marriott is by far not a resort.
Outdoor Swimming Pool
The heated outdoor swimming pool, as well as the whirlpool, are also located in the amazing courtyard. This area is fenced in and you need your room key to enter it. There are multiple entrances to the pool area. Inside this area, you have one large main pool which has an odd shape but makes it so much more pleasing than just a standard rectangular pool. There are plenty of pool chaise longues spread out throughout the area.
Pool Hours: daily 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fitness Center aka Health Club
The Health Club, as Marriott calls the fitness center here, is located on the ground floor in the northwest corner of the building. You can enter it either through the hotel’s hallways or from the courtyard. No matter which way you choose, you also need your room key to get in. It’s a well-sized fitness center with all kinds of workout gear. Enough to wear you out if you use it all.
The Ventura Beach Marriott usually rents bicycles to its guests but this is temporarily on hold because of the pandemic. This service would come with a fee and is not complimentary.
Fitness Center Hours: 24 hours daily
Breakfast is served at the Channel Restaurant & Bar and is open for dine-in or you can order to-go to take it back to your room. I recommend dining in. The service is amazing and very fast. They also have very generous breakfast hours.
Monday-Friday: 6 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 6 a.m. – 11 am.
To dine in, you will be seated by a waiter. Enter the restaurant area to the left of the bar as this is where the waiter is waiting for guests to seat them. There is a sign to the right of the bar with an arrow that only points to the bar. This is a bit confusing as a couple of other guests and I found out when we entered through the courtyard rather than coming from the front desk. We didn’t see the host standing over there around the corner. However, the staff member at the bar who handles the take-out orders pointed us all in the right direction. It was just a bit confusing the first time, afterwards, it was no more issue to get to the right spot.
I only had their All-American breakfast, which really hits the spot. At least for me. It fills me up, tastes great and doesn’t take long to get. You can ask for a to-go cup to take some coffee with you after you finished breakfast. The breakfast prices are more than fair. The All-American breakfast costs $14 (not including tax and tip). Thanks to my elite status, breakfast was complimentary for me. Normally Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador elites have access to the lounge (M Club) to get free breakfast. As the M Club was closed temporarily closed because of Covid, elites receive their free breakfast benefit in the restaurant.
Channel Restaurant & Bar
At the moment, because of Covid, this is more just a bar space. I went there two times to have dinner and there were only a few people sitting at the bar which allowed for good social distancing. Their menu is rather small for dinner and just offers the usual “bar snacks”. There are no main entrees like steak or fish on the menu. I am sure this will change once the restaurant fully re-opens. If you don’t like to sit at the bar, you can sit at one of the spots in the lobby/lounge area or have your food to go. You can order your to-go order directly at the bar or over the phone and just pick it up when it’s ready. They won’t call you but they will give you an estimate of how long it will take. Service was great here as well and they took very good care of me while I had dinner there.
The restaurant is open every day from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
The M Club was still closed during my stay. I don’t know what the exact reason was for it being closed. Was it just staff shortage or the hotel not wanting to offer “free” stuff to their most loyal customers? There was also no comp for the M Club being closed. Other places, like the Burbank Marriott, at least let you pick stuff from their small marketplace for free throughout the day and not only for breakfast.
There is a pretty decent market next to the front desk that offers all kinds of beverages and snacks as well as other stuff you might need during your stay. I wish they would give some free sodas or snacks to elite guests who normally have access to the M Club, but they don’t.
Open 24 hours a day and you can pay for the times or charge them to the room at the front desk.
There are many restaurants within walking distance. If you feel super lazy, you can walk right across the street and grab one of the best burgers ever from In-N-Out. There is a Denny’s only a few steps further down the road. Otherwise, you can find good restaurants in the city or near the Ventura Pier, which is only a 20-minute walk from the Ventura Beach Marriott. I have to admit, I couldn’t resist and stopped at the drive-through of the In-N-Out across the street on my way back to the hotel once.
Overall I was very happy with my stay here. The staff was great and very welcoming. I loved the location of the Ventura Beach Marriott. Of course, it could have been closer to the ocean but it’s just a short walk to get to the beach and the beach trail which takes you to the Ventura Pier. The parking lot for the San Buenaventura State Beach is located right next to the hotel. This part of the beach offers also amenities like restrooms and showers.
I enjoyed staying here and loved that they upgraded me to a suite during my stay. By the way, having an In-N-Out right across the street is an added bonus for burger lovers. I didn’t like that their parking garage fell in disrepair and that the upper levels are all closed for vehicle traffic. But even the stairs going up are not in good shape anymore. Some money needs to be put into that or demolish it completely as it will become an eye-sore in the coming years. But you won’t notice that if you don’t get inside the parking garage or try to get on top of it.
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.