It may be tough to travel these days, but it is not impossible. There are lots of fun places open for business and with a little research and planning, you can still have a great getaway away from home.
Such was the case when a friend and I recently escaped to Marina del Rey, one of my favorite Southern California beach locations. After surfing the web a little, I found a great hotel room and lined up some fun and tasty activities.
My getaway began when I checked into Marina del Rey Hotel, a waterfront retreat, located minutes from Santa Monica and Venice Beach. The hotel boasts 164 boutique accommodations, the award-winning SALT Restaurant & Bar, and a year-round heated infinity pool & spa – all with gorgeous views of Marina del Rey. The property also offers a fitness center, business center, and on-site bicycle rentals.
Our 350 sq-ft king suite featured a king bed with premium high-thread Egyptian cotton linens, a luxury bathroom with rainforest showerhead, free wireless Internet, and a balcony with table and chairs and incredible views overlooking the pool and the marina.
But the hotel’s best feature is its proximity to the spectacular marina. Built-in the early 1960s at the site of an old salt marsh, Marina del Rey is a modern wonder of construction. As one of the world’s largest man-made small craft harbors, it features eight basins and is home to approximately 6,500 boats.
In spite of its epic marina and quaint seaside location, Marina del Rey is still kind of a hidden gem. Located near the larger, more famous areas of Los Angeles such as Venice Beach and Santa Monica, the tiny city can be overlooked. But for savvy travelers from around the globe, the place is a waterfront paradise.
Janet Zaldua, CEO of the Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau says “Marina del Rey is an urban waterfront playground that offers tourists resort-like amenities, exceptional hotel accommodations, and dining experiences with breathtaking Marina views.”
A great way to see the marina is via the Marina del Rey WaterBus (www.marinawaterbus.com), which currently runs Thursdays thru Sundays. The colorful boat makes six stops each way on its trip. Stops are Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park, Marina Beach, Dolphin Marina, Esprit 1, and Del Rey Landing. Tickets are $1 each way and can be purchased from the dock attendants stationed at each WaterBus stop. Attendants can also assist with any questions on WaterBus service and provide additional information on a wide range of activities in Marina del Rey.
We took the Waterbus to Marina Beach, also called Mother’s Beach. Here we lounged on the sand and played in the water. We then rented a kayak from the Pro SUP Shop (www.prosupshop.com). Located in the parking lot in front of Mother’s Beach, the company specializes in stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking and offers daily rentals and lessons by professional ASI & WPA certified instructors.
During our hour tour of the harbor, we paddled past million-dollar yachts and old wooden sloops. I waved to small boats passing by and barking seals sunbathing on docks. Kayaking is not only a great way to see the harbor; it is also a good workout and very relaxing. For those looking to get into paddleboarding or kayaking Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey is probably one of the best places in the Los Angeles area to learn.
For dinner, we took the WaterBus back near our hotel and then walked about 10 minutes to a small shopping center, where we found L&L Hawaiian Barbecue (www.hawaiianbarbecue.com). Here we enjoyed a delicious and casual Hawaiian-styled dinner. Our meal featured a seafood combo plate with fried shrimp, fish fillet, and Hawaiian chicken served with white rice and macaroni salad. My friend had Loco Moco plate with savory hamburger patties over rice and topped with brown gravy and two fried eggs. With our food, we had a couple of cold Corona beers.
The Marina del Rey Hotel is located at 13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. For more information, visit: www.marinadelreyhotel.com or call 310.301-1000. For more information on visiting Marina del Rey, visit: www.visitmarinadelrey.com