Within this blocky, featureless motel facade beats the heart of a boutique hotel. The pleasant surprise begins at check-in; from the front desk to the housekeeping crew, every member of the staff makes it abundantly clear that your happiness is top priority. Comfortable, modern guest rooms provide ample space and plenty of extras—refrigerator, microwave, a small but serviceable work desk with an extra outlet on the lamp. The tiny pool, with a built-in spa tub, is well-maintained, and towels are provided; there’s also a small but well-equipped gym. The drawback? It’s a mile to the beach and Venice fishing pier, not a particularly pleasant walk along the busy boulevard. Renting a bike is a reasonable option, not only for the beach but for exploring the canals, parks and marina (ask the front desk for help and directions to the nearby bike path). Venice’s Abbot Kinney, currently one of L.A.’s hottest shopping districts, is right around the corner. Rates are low this area to begin with, but the free parking, Wi-Fi and expanded continental breakfast make it a true bargain.