Friday, September 23, 2011

Hip Hotel - The Belamar, Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is an idyllic little beach town just 10 minutes south of LAX. The beaches here are calmer and less busy than those in Santa Monica and Venice. The scene is much more local and family oriented with a vibrant city centre just steps away from the water.
We paid a little visit during the Manhattan Beach Pro Volleyball tourney and ended up staying at the very hip Belamar Hotel.
Pretty Herman Miller furniture in the retro chic lobby (above) were part of the $2.5 million dollar renovation that was completed at the end of 2006. The property was acquired by the Larkspur Hotel group in 2003 who closed the space for two years to renovate. All 127 rooms were converted from the old stuffy formal space when it used to be the old Barnaby's Hotel, built in 1962. Apparently Barnaby's was all the rage and the hotel was the place to be back then.
Delicious welcome snack and martini kit was definitely a nice touch and went with the Mad Men feel of the hotel. Don't miss the LED lights in the elevator.

Sometimes it's little things like this that make a hotel memorable. We took the evening yoga class with an instructor who taught a beginner level to us and two other guests. It was like a private session! Mats were provided for us and the weather was so beautiful that we were able to have an outdoor class in the courtyard. It was a nice way to wind down the day. I find that most hotels offer 7 AM classes, this was WAY better.
The exercise room has a few different cardio machines, free weights and benches. The room is a bit tight, but useful for a quick workout. Nearby is the very scenic Wood Chip Trail for jogging and the hotel also provides complimentary bicycle rentals. The ride to the beach is around 15 minutes and there's a paved oceanside path. We recommend heading outside if you can.
Queen size room with modern and peaceful decor
Fancy L'Occitaine bath products and bathrobes made it easy to relax
The outdoor swimming pool and hot tub area with a framed photo of Bella's dog. 'Bella' being the official Barbie-esque mascot of The Belamar. Get it? Very cheeky.
For those looking to get their shop on, Manhattan Village Mall is across the street. We also found the shopping, cafes and restaurants in the downtown area to be even more charming. For more information on visiting Manhattan Beach and The Belamar Hotel, visit:  www.larkspurhotels.com

Read more from our California adventures here!

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