Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hotel California

You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave....

There were a few -- and we mean very few -- things we loved, or even liked, about our stay at the Cadillac Hotel in Venice Beach.

Here's the good: From our room, we had a clear view of the strand, the beach and the ocean. We loved how close it was to everything in Venice. The cable TV kind of worked, although we only watched about 5 minutes of CNN one morning. The in-room safe was nice to have. And it wasn't too expensive. It was only about $100 a night.

Here's a look at the view from our room.

We found the hotel while heading down Hwy. 1 and reading our until then very trustworthy guidebook, The Eyewitness Travel Guide to California.

"This gorgeous Art Deco hotel attracts a young, smart crowd," it says on page 513.
"It is right on the beach, with a sauna, pool tables and sun terrace."

Sounds great! But in the world of newspapers, such a statement would demand a correction. We found out the hard way that a young, smart crowd is attracted to this place only because guidebooks continue to write that fact.

The truth is, this hotel needs serious improvements to keep people from writing bad reviews about it on the Internet. If we had been able to read in advance what other people have said about the Cadillac Hotel, we probably would have stayed somewhere else. Sadly, some of the negative things turned out to be true. Thankfully, our stay didn't include bedbugs, as others have stated. (Please read this if you ever think about staying at the Cadillac Hotel.)

Here's a top 10 list of our negative Cadillac Hotel experiences:

1. Sticky carpet in our room. It's really odd, but yes, the carpet was sticky, and it got worse when it got wet. So we wore flipflops in our room.

2. No air conditioner. That's not cool when you're staying in an L.A. hotel in the middle of a California heat wave, ocean breezes notwithstanding.

3. A homeless person yelling at nobody. Yes, a person (he, she, it? We couldn't tell) decided to stand outside our hotel each night and have an argument with nobody. This was a problem because we had to keep our window open at night due to the lack of A/C. It's not easy to sleep when hearing shouts of, "Hell no!!! I'm not going anywhere!!!," for several hours each night. If you do stay here, remember to take earplugs. You'll need them.

4. The "free parking" advertised on the Cadillac Hotel's Web site is free, but for anyone unlucky enough to actually get one of the few spots, don't even dream of being able to get it back out again. Within seconds, your car will be blocked in overnight by people who cram into spaces that don't exist. As in, the aisle. Now we know what The Eagles were talking about in "Hotel California" when they said, "You can check out any time you like but you can never leave." Actually, we're pretty sure they were staying at the Cadillac when they wrote the song.

5. The "direct dial phone" advertised on the hotel's Web site is a joke. We guess they must be referring to the front desk phone, because the phone in our room, 406, didn't work. It was a dummy phone. We couldn't call the front desk, or anyone else, for that matter. If you stay here, try taking a phone that works and plug it in. Or make sure to have a working cell phone.

6. The mattress was in really, really bad shape. It hurt to sleep on it. And that didn't help Christian's back, which was already sore to begin with.

7. No shampoo. No washcloths. No bathmat.

8. No security. The area can be kind of sketchy at night, and there is no security in sight for the hotel's guests.

9. The towels (you only get two) were thin and scratchy.

10. You have to pay for Internet access, which is almost always complimentary these days at other hotels.

Here's Kristin, very happy to have checked out of the Cadillac and looking forward to getting on the plane, if only so she can finally get some sleep.


  • On the good side, it was worthy of story. Welcome almost home!

    By Blogger Chez Bez, at 8:05 AM, July 31, 2006  

  • I remember ya'll asking me had I heard of The Cadillac Hotel in Venice. I felt a little awkward not knowing where it was or even having ever heard of it, but after reading your review (and hearing your lamentations first hand) it seems there was a reason for my ignorance concerning it. I maintain an LA futon for emergencies and the only draw back is, think Seinfeld episode of the bar on the rollaway bed.

    By Anonymous beer goddess, at 7:52 PM, July 31, 2006  

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