Phil and I stayed at the Portofino Hotel and Marina for one night after we flew into LAX from Heathrow at the start of a short break to the West Coast. The hotel is located about 20 minutes drive – or 40 with LA traffic – away from the airport in Rendondo Beach, just south of Hermosa and Manhattan beaches. In terms of convenience for getting into the centre of Los Angeles, this doesn’t place the hotel in the ideal location; however if you were after a hotel that put you right at the centre of the action, then I expect the Beverly Wiltshire or one on Rodeo Drive would be more up your street.
The hotel itself had just undergone a multi-million dollar remodel, which appeared to be part of a larger scheme to regenerate the surrounding area. The entrance to the property was well sign posted, and pleasantly landscaped with palms and other native species. There was an attractive porte cochère at the hotel entrance where we were met by two helpful door staff who took our bags and directed us to the hotel lobby. Our first impressions of the hotel were that it has a distinctly nautical feel, which marries up well with the properties on site Marina; large ceiling height windows give a sense of space and provide plenty of natural light, which combined with the double height lobby, act to provide an airy, calming atmosphere. The colour palette of blues and yellows added to the impression of being on board a cruise liner, an effect enhanced by the uninterrupted ocean views from the lobby windows.
The lobby area was well apportioned, with plenty of space to sit and enjoy the view of the Pacific from one of the many pieces of bespoke furniture. There was a small but well stocked – and reasonably busy- bar area to one side, however the noise level was not obtrusive and didn’t impact the overall ambiance of the lobby area.
Phil and I stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View Room (£298.00 per night inc. tax), which, for the one night we were staying, suited our needs perfectly. Our room was on the second floor of the hotel, and was located on the ocean side of the property, giving us a great view of the sunset and the troupe of sea lions that had taken up residence on the ocean wall about 50ft away. The room itself was quite large, with a small entrance corridor opening up to the bedroom, which we were pleased to note had a king sized bed, which was comfortable, with the quality of the furniture and fabrics being a high standard, showing no signs of previous wear and tear. The bathroom was located just off the entrance corridor, and was fitted with a walk in shower, bath and two sinks for convenience. What Phil and I found amusing – and of benefit – were the two pairs of ear plugs provided in a small silver tray next to the bathroom amenities; an explanatory note suggesting that they be used should the resident Sea Lions become too boisterous. The cruise liner theme continued through our room, with framed photos of vintage sailing boats and Americas Cup catamarans on the walls. Had this been in a property that had no obvious connection to sailing, then I would have likely found the pre-eminence of sailing paraphernalia slightly irritating, however it didn’t seem out of place given the hotels attached Marina.
The hotel additionally has an on-site restaurant, Balleen, which is open for lunch and dinner. The ground floor of Balleen is used for breakfast in the mornings, where a fresh seasonal menu is available, which features firm favourites such as pancakes with maple syrup, in addition to more healthy options for the fitness conscious – of which I am unashamedly so!
Given that we were only staying one night, it is difficult to say if we would return for a longer period of time; although the close proximity of Manhattan Beach, combined with the properties friendly staff, reasonable rates and pleasant, though not amazing, guest rooms makes it a likely favourite should Phil and I return to LA for a short time.