After spending the weekend in the Mojave Desert, it was time to get back to civilization and close to my next work project. The closest hotel to my next project was the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills and I booked my room before my drive back to the city. By checking the rooms, I already knew that I won’t get a suite upgrade as they are all sold out and only had a few rooms left. Either way, I wanted to check out the hotel. The advantage of this Marriott hotel is, that it has a lounge. It was a long 2-hour drive at night and it even started raining. Seems people here are not used to rain and to drive in rain. Thankfully no major delays on any of Los Angeles freeways. No noticeable traffic slowdowns, not even on the 405. As it was already dark when I arrived and I was a little tired, I turned to early to get to the hotel. I turned around and found the right entrance on my next attempt. From there you have to stay to your right to get to the front entrance of the hotel. Make sure you leave your keys with the valet.
As the name of the hotel already mentions, it is located in the Warner Center neighborhood. Warner Center is named for Harry Warner, the eldest of the Warner Brothers, who owned the land since the 1940s. It used to be a horse ranch. The Marriott hotel is located within the Warner Center Plaza, which gives the area its distinct skyline.
Warner Center Park is just behind the hotel’s parking garage and very easy to reach from the hotel. On the other side of the road is Westfield’s Big 3, one of Southern California’s largest shopping complexes. It includes Westfield Topanga & The Village and a Costco, besides other retail and dining spaces. Hotel guests can find dining options as well as an AMC movie theatre right across the street.
Next to the hotel is CA State Route 27 also known as Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Take the scenic route south and drive for 30 minutes to get to the Pacific Coast and Pacific Coast Highway. The Topanga Canyon Boulevard cuts through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which offers many scenic hikes and other canyon roads. A great place to explore when you have some time. Watch the sunset from one of the peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains.
After arriving at the main entrance of the hotel, I parked my car as instructed by the valet. I told him that I will do self-parking and he told me that I can leave the car here for about 15 minutes to check-in and take my bag upstairs. He just asked to hold on to the key in the meantime and guided me to the front desk.
I checked in a few minutes past 8 p.m. and there was nobody else in line, just a bunch of people in the lobby hanging out and enjoying the bar. Check-in was quick and easy as usual. I received my room keys and tickets to exit the parking garage.
The self-parking system here is not very good. Every time you want to park, you have to pull a ticket. So far so good, but to get out you have to put in the ticket you pulled earlier and another ticket I received from the front desk. So if you run out of tickets, you have to get more from the front desk. It’s a bit of an inconvenience. Best keep an eye on how many tickets you have remaining and grab more before returning to your car.
Guest Room 1 King (Room 1029)
The room itself has a decent size and what surprised me, even more, was the small balcony which you could actually step on. There is no particular good view from the balcony, at least at night. Let’s see what it looks like in the morning. Be aware that the balcony is also a no-smoking area. As I don’t smoke, I love this. But I am sure not a lot of smokers will stay away from smoking on the balcony. Access to the balcony is done through the floor-to-ceiling windows with a built-in sliding door.
Close to the window is the King Bed with a nightstand on either side. The right nightstand had the in-room telephone on it. A nice thing about the phone is, that it comes with different built-in charging connectors for your mobile phone. Besides these connectors, there are also USB ports and power outlets on either side of the bed. Each side also has a lamp and reading light.
Opposite the bed is a work desk with a glass top. Again, they look super nice, but if you want to use a mouse, you need a mouse pad which I, of course, always carry with me. On the desk is also the in-room dining menu, which I promptly made use of as the lobby restaurant was very busy and I just wanted to relax after a long day. The desk has few drawers and it also comes with a coffee maker and a small refrigerator. Above the work desk is a wall-mounted flatscreen TV which is, unfortunately, not movable. You can’t turn the TV for a better angle when you are sitting at the desk, laying in bed or sitting on the couch. The standard view is ok, but I would rather be able to turn it into my direction of view.
Next to the bed is a sofa bed with a laptop stand. Opposite of it is a dressing mirror and a luggage stand was setup. The rest of the room consists of the bathroom and a wall closet. The bathroom is on the smaller side which I don’t mind. I never plan on spending a bunch of time in the bathroom anyway. There is a small walk-in shower with sliding glass doors. The vanity has one sink and a huge mirror with lighting all around the sides. What surprised me was the paint and material hanging from the ceiling. Looks like they did some repair but didn’t to a nice job applying the cover-up. There were some pieces hanging from the ceiling. Small but noticeable. Especially because the ceiling in the bathroom is a bit lower than in the rest of the room.
The closet is, however, a little strange, it’s a semi-open closet. One half of the closet comes with a door, while the other half, which houses the in-room safe is just open and without a door.
What surprised me the most was the laminate floor throughout the whole room. There are two small rugs, one on either side of the bed, but that’s it.
I had a little trouble to log-on to the Wi-Fi. It seems there are two plans and both cost money. As I am top-tier with Marriott, I get the premium internet free of charge anyway. Even then, the internet wouldn’t work right away. It took me another try until I was finally connected and able to use the internet. The way how you have to connect to the internet here is different from many of the other Marriott properties.
The lobby area is huge and besides the front desk, it also houses the on-site restaurant, breakfast area, Starbucks and the M Club Lounge. Next to the front desk is a concierge desk. Follow the hallway between the front desk and concierge desk to get to an ATM and two workstations with a printer. That’s their small business center. If you have access to the M Lounge, there are two additional workstations in there and one more printer. I would rather use the ones outside the lounge, as they come with mouse and keyboard. The workstations in the lounge are touchscreen-only, even typing has to be done on the screen.
One of the best parts of the hotel is that they have two separate pools. Yes, there are two pools. One indoor pool which also has the fitness center in the same building. The fitness center is overlooking the indoor pool. If it comes to equipment, the fitness center has an ok selection but is definitely one of the smaller ones. Especially for such a big and high category hotel.
From the indoor pool, you can walk outside to another pool. Unfortunately, the two pools are not interconnected and therefore you have to walk between the two. There are plenty of loungers around both pools. There is additional seating at the Urban Oasis Poolside Lounge which also has a fireplace.
One of the lesser-known and probably used amenities is the on-site rental car station. It’s a Hertz station. It makes sense if you stay for business but want a small car to drive out of down on the weekends. If you use them, make sure you know about their hours of operation as they are rather limited. They are completely closed on Sundays. After reading a few of the reviews of the Hertz rental location, it seems that customers either love the place or hate it. The trend seems to go more to later one. I had some big issues with Hertz in the past as well (not with this location) and therefore parted from Hertz.
This is a great event to hold events, as it has 14 event rooms with a total of 20,636 sq ft event space. That’s a lot. Be aware that there might be an event going on here. Overall that wouldn’t be too bad, but sometimes they close down common spaces for events. During my stay, the outdoor Urban Oasis Poolside Lounge was closed for a private event. However, it rained that evening and everyone moved inside the lobby area and it got super loud in there.
The Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills has an on-site restaurant/bar. It comes with an extensive bar area and plenty of seating throughout the lounge. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. A perfect spot to hang out and mingle beside the Urban Oasis Poolside Lounge, which is right outside the lobby.
The Urban Oasis Poolside Lounge is open seasonal and comes with a nice fireplace besides lots of seating throughout the poolside area. It’s the perfect place to hang out and mingle, especially during the summertime.
Just in case you have to leave early or have to refill your caffeine level, you can stop by at the Starbucks next to the main entrance. For the quick snack in between, stop by at the market next to the front desk.
Of course, there is room service which I used right away the first night. The prices are ok and the burger I ordered was exactly as ordered, as I had a few special requests. Overall the burger was tasty but nothing special. Room-service was quick after I placed my order.
There is a P.F. Chang’s located right across the street at the mall. A little bit further in the mall is a Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Just in case you are looking for something else not too far away. There are plenty of other restaurants in the area but it’s a long walk or drive to these locations.
M Club Lounge
The M Club Lounge is located near the elevators. It comes with really nice and lots of seating. Unfortunately, most of the seating is just more for “cocktail hour” as there are not a lot of comfortable dining tables in the lounge. This is especially important for breakfast.
The breakfast set up is a little strange if you are not familiar with it. Obviously you have a coffee machine in the lounge, but for breakfast, they also put up some juices and croissants, which are located on the other side of the wall from the coffee machine. If it’s your first time here, you probably ask yourself “That’s all?”. Well not directly. The actual breakfast buffet is shared with the restaurant’s breakfast buffet. You won’t know how to get there either if nobody tells you or you don’t follow the herd of people know where to go. To get to the breakfast buffet, use the door at the end of the hallway you use when you get in the lounge. Pass the coffee machine on your left and keep on going straight all the way to the end and you will see a door on your right side. It might be closed, but not locked. Go through there to get to the restaurant’s breakfast buffet. Yeah, it’s strange, but that’s how it is set up here at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills. If there are no more spots to sit in the lounge area, you can ask one of the staff members if you could sit in the restaurant instead, if they have space, which they should.
Throughout the day you can find light snacks in the lounge, like nuts, cookies, and other cadies for your sweet tooth. The evening service starts at 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. but I was never able to actually make it there, as I was busy exploring the surrounding areas. Seems the front desk agent, wasn’t too sure about the actual hours of the lounge, as he told me that the lounge still serves hors d’oeuvre until 9 p.m. Unfortunately, the buffet looked raided and there was not a lot left offer, just a few cookies. It seems the lounge staff is failing to keep the food restocked throughout the day. The coffee machine was either out of milk or beans a few times throughout my stay. Heck, even one time right in the morning for breakfast. Other items, like waters and sodas, were depleted as well a few times during my three-night stay. The lounge itself is open 24 hours a day, but I couldn’t find published hours for breakfast and evening service anywhere. Only after I talked to one of the staff members working in the lounge.
The hotel looks a little bit old from the outside, but it’s nice and modern on the inside. They upgraded to the new room keys which you only have to tap on your door to open it. Overall the main spaces of the hotel kept up well and make a very clean impression. The staff was super friendly and the best ones I got to meet were the valet guys.
I was not a big fan of how to get out of the parking garage, as you eventually have to get more validation tickets if you run out. It’s a small problem, but technology is so advanced that you don’t really need that anymore.
During my stay, I found out that there was a film crew staying at the hotel while I was there. I got told it was the “Masterchef” crew that was filming in the area. There were a big trailer and bus parked at the road behind the hotel with it’s dedicated security guard. I never watched the show and none of the faces I saw looked familiar. I might have walked past a few of the stars of the show, but didn’t notice them at all and also didn’t really wanna bother them at the hotel either.
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.