October 03 2009
Venice Beach, Los Angeles, is enjoying a major revival, the houses along the original canals are gentrified; even Julia Roberts has moved in. Unsuspecting, at the end of a classic road trip down Highway 1 from San Francisco, I stumbled onto the latest, hippest of happening Venice venues; it was lucky I had my teenage daughter with me to add some cool-factor. The newly renovated Hotel Erwin, with its forecourt smothered in graffiti murals, overlooks the boardwalk (a bit Camden-on-Sea, I thought) and Muscle Beach, and is the newest in the Joie de Vivre California boutique chain.
Edgy, urban and pop-art, it’s a buzzing beach hotel, with superbly (and unexpectedly ) comfortable rooms and the friendliest staff imaginable. Its rooftop lounge, called High, with views as far as Catalina Island and the Hollywood sign, has the ultimate Venice vibe. Its restaurant, Hash (open for dinner), served a hearty “down-home” breakfast. Rooms start at $234 per night, low season, $348 high season.