The grand 18-story facade and somewhat lower prices than charged by its coastal kin are alluring, but know going in that this might be the least beachy hotel within view of an ocean, despite being just three blocks from the sand. The onetime apartment building’s transformation into a boutique hotel—though it’s really too big to qualify—went for high impact in the splashy lobby, most strikingly with a back-lit wall of lacquered piranhas. Guest rooms are more subdued, with neutral hues and a modern version of traditional furnishings; though not especially luxurious, they are perfectly pleasant and comfortable. Sun-worshippers need to know there is no pool (or much outdoor space at all), and the beach so enticingly displayed on the ninth through 17th floors requires a trek through a residential block, across a busy street and Palisades Park, down the bluff and across a footbridge over the Pacific Coast Highway. The clientele tilts heavily toward business travelers. But the hotel’s crown jewel, the shiny, 18th-floor Penthouse restaurant and bar, serves up a transcendent view of the city skyline and a high possibility of celebrity-spotting success along with its genuinely excellent contemporary American cuisine.
- Frommer's Staff