Malibu Travel Guide
Maybe it was Regis Philbin wagging his finger at her on national television, telling her to "be a good girl, now." Or maybe it's just the fact that she lost over 125lbs in eight months. Either way, Olivia Ward is feeling good enough about herself to travel across the country to the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, CA. Why? To exercise with her fellow "losers," of course!
For guests of the resort, who are required to stay for at least one week while they work on shedding the pounds, this is surely good news. The entire resort was modeled after the weight-loss reality TV show. So what better motivation than the chance to work out with the winner from season eleven? Well, maybe the chance to hear her sing (Ward is also an accredited opera singer). But we doubt that will happen.
The view from the Malibu Beach Inn.
If you aren't interested in visiting the Malibu Beach Inn for its iPhone concierge application, then consider the hotel's newly launched "Burger and Cab" night every Tuesday night. Initially, we took this to mean a cab ride to the hotel for a burger so now you know how lazy we are. But actually, the deal offers a Fulton Beef Hamburger and a glass of Cabernet for only $20 per person.
Each week the restaurant will feature a different hamburger with chef-inspired pairings ranging from truffles, porcini’s, various cheeses and the freshest seasonal ingredients.
What we also like about this offer is that you can have both the tasty burgers and the glamour of the hotel, which is located literally on the beach of Billionaire's Beach, without having to stay the night. So even if you are shacking up in one of Malibu's Motels, you can always pretend you're living the high life here.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
You don't have to be a billionaire to enjoy this view of the Malibu coastline. All you need to do is fork over $258 a night at the Malibu Beach Inn which is what we did when we went a-testing the hotel's fancy new iPhone guest management system.
This simple and soothing view of the water and rocks was from room 206 which has a private balcony and a fireplace inside in case you get chilly. Our only complaint would be that the balcony was quite close to the outdoor dining section below, meaning we could hear some conversations. But the ocean will help you tune all that out. Expect room rates to be a lot higher in the summer.
While it may have seemed that during our stay at the Malibu Beach Inn we only cared about the super cool iPhone application that has been custom-designed for the hotel and it guests, that's not quite the whole truth. The Malibu Beach Inn is probably the only place to stay along the Pacific Coast Highway, should you so desire.
Hotel Technology / iPhone Apps / Hotel News / Hotel Video Tours / Geek Hotels / Hotel Evolution / → All Tags
Despite the hotel's website telling us that rooms were a steep $385 a night (on a Tuesday in a recession), we actually found a rate of $258 within the site. We clicked on one of their promotions which was offering a room and dinner for select days only. Our day happened to be a select day.
So a few hours later we were checking into the Malibu Beach Inn on PCH. At check-in, we casually placed our iPhone on the counter, hoping the front desk clerk would notice it and ask us if we wanted to try the Hotel Evolution program. He did not. He was gracious in every other respect however.
We made our way up to the room and chilled for a bit, ordering that dinner as promised, in-room. As we waited, we looked around for any notes about the Hotel Evolution application. But there were none. So once we ate, we headed down to the front desk to inquire.
Yes, the Malibu Beach Inn has created an iPhone application called Hotel Evolution. Here's how it works.
Guests punch in room number plus security code for access to hotel services: order room service, set a wake up call, request dry cleaning, extra blankets or replace forgotten toothbrushes, check your messages or set your room to do Not Disturb.
Shopping, eating and cavorting info for the area is on tap, too. Cost to the hotel is about $10 per room, no word on whether the cost is passed on to guests.
If this is true, and if this works then this hotel has just won over our hearts. However, now we think Apple needs to step it up. If a hotel can run their guest management system off of an iPhone, don't you think it's about time to add MMS and video to the iPhone? Just a thought, Steve Jobs, just a thought.
[Photo: Gear Live]
If you were to stay in a motel in Malibu, the easy-to-remember Malibu Motel might be your best choice.
Partially-rebranded as The M, the motel promises 18 clean, retro-styled rooms near the Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach. The rooms even sport plasma TVs, refrigerators, 400-thread count bed linens, and private ocean decks. How do we know all this? Because thankfully, the M has a website. Wahoo!
One guest on Flickr writes:
The view from the M, Malibu Motel. Given, its not the best view, this roadside motel has to be one of the favorite places I have ever stayed. Simple, clean, very courteous staff and very affordable.
However, guests over at TripAdvisor have had severely mixed experiences at the motel. And judging from the photo (above) it's nothing to get too excited about.
Bottom line is just remember this is a motel off the busy Pacific Coast Highway, despite the fact that it's in Malibu and the beach is like 20 feet away. Room rates range from $119 to $219 plus Malibu city tax.
Yup, you read that headline right. This one's a motel in Malibu and there are actually quite a few of them along PCH. None of them are very good (and prone to loud traffic as you can guess from this picture) but they are cheap.
One of them is The Surfrider Beach Club, formerly the Malibu Shores Motel. The motel has two brief favorable reviews on TripAdvisor under its old name. But there is a more recent reivew on Yahoo! Local site. Rebecca wrote:
Surf's up at Surfrider!: Malibu Shores Motel is now Surfrider Beach Club; it has new carpet and paint, but the same tiny rooms are rented as unfurnished apartments. All the things you love and hate about staying at a motel-one price includes all utilities and cable is free, but the rooms are less than sound-proof and unreasonably over-priced.
There's also no website that we know of for Surfrider (not uncommon for these types of places) but the Wikitravel page for Malibu says:
"Located across from Surfrider Beach, this motel is more well-suited for families than most Malibu hotels."
So there you go. Pack up the kids and check it out. Call 310-456-6559 to book. TripAdvisor lists the average room rate as $119 a night. But if it's luxury that you are looking for, then consider the Malibu Beach Inn or befriending a movie mogul.
Have you stayed at the Surfrider Beach Club? Let us know what it was like.
While our previous Malibu Beach Hotels stops have received seriously glowing reviews, the Malibu Country Inn further up on PCH near Zuma Beach doesn't have quite the laudits as its competitors.
From the outside, the inn looks like a safe haven and why shouldn't it? It's an all-white Cape Cod-style inn built in 1943 on the bluffs overlooking Zuma Beach. However, inside is not so picturesque.
The first reviews on TripAdvisor say "Smelly rooms" and "Unchic Shabby", a diss on the Shabby Chic decor that so many Malibu residents favor. Yet there are some renovated rooms (out of 16 total) on site, so you'll have to request those. However, that's not a guarantee as some reviews allude to an incompetent staff.
And the website is full of stock photos of couples, never a good sign. Although the fact that there is a website with actual room photos is a big step in these parts. Go to the TripAdvisor page for the reviews for more info.
So, why should you stay here? The rooms are cheap around $165 a night and the inn has its own Hideaway Cafe on site. And if it's the beach you want to be close to, the place has got killer views and access to Zuma Beach.
Casa Larronde is a little-known spot on PCH that is technically not a hotel, nor a B&B, nor a motel nor an inn.
It's a house on Carbon Beach that has two guest bedrooms including the John Travolta Suite where JT apparently stayed for three months in 1977 after he hit it big with Saturday Night Fever.
But before Travolta was here, the house was the fifth house built on Carbon aka Billionaire's Beach in 1951. Today, it gets rented out for most of the summer and during the rest of the year, the elderly owner Charlou Larronde rents out the two rooms, breakfast included. Here's how Los Angeles Citysearch described the place:
With floor-to-ceiling windows on both stories, this picturesque oceanfront house resides on Malibu's prime Carbon Beach, a short distance from the famous Surfer's Beach. The two guest bedrooms have private baths and include the often celebrity-occupied John Travolta suite with a sand-side lounge deck, kitchenette and fireplace. The owner of 50 years serves hors d'oeuvres during the evening cocktail hour and cooks full gourmet breakfasts for guests in the morning.
Rates start at $155 a night for downstairs bedroom. John Travolta suite starts at $175 a night. Call 1-310-456-9333 to book.
Despite its ugly sign and tired exterior facing the Pacific Coast Highway that seems to do the opposite of beckoning guests in for the night, The Casa Malibu Inn on the Beach is actually one of Malibu's best hideaway hotels on the beach.
It's the #1 hotel on TripAdvisor (out of a whopping 5) and it was called out by the Today Show as being one of the five best-kept secret getaways in the U.S. Jamie Lee Curtis even told Travel + Leisure it was one of her favorite places for travel bliss. He's what she said:
I drove past all these celebrities' houses--many of which I had visited in the past--and pulled up to a little inn, thinking, What is this weird place? It's on Carbon Beach, one of the most sought-after stretches of sand in the world. A few hundred yards down the beach are the homes of some very famous and wealthy people. So there we were, two girls born and bred in L.A., sitting on this completely empty, gorgeous beach on an 85-degree day in January. And I thought to myself: Anybody can stay here. Anybody can have this.
The 21-room inn features upgraded rooms with modern amenities like DVD players and WiFi. The decor can be a little scary depending on what rooms you get. We saw pictures of some very cute shabby chic bedding and other with that dreaded floral pattern.
And Jamie Lee Curtis was right. Anyone can stay at the Casa Malibu at the affordable room prices which start at $129. Oceanviews do cost more and rooms on the beach start at $289.
There's no website that we know of so you must call 1-800-831-0858 or 310-456-2219 to book.
This week, we're kicking off our Malibu Beach Hotels Map. For those of you who didn't know it, Malibu's scenic coastline isn't just dotted with surfers, celebrities, mansions, paparazzi and Britney Spears' children. There's actually a bunch of low-key hotels, motels and inns just off the Pacific Coast Highway. We're taking a look at which ones are worth a stay.
Ahh, Malibu. The land of bathing beauties, surfers and wildfires and also where the New York Times checked into this weekend, holing up in the recently renovated Malibu Beach Inn, off the coast nicknamed Billionaires' Beach.
The Times tells us that Hollywood mogul David Geffen reportedly spent over $10 million sprucing up the 47-room hotel and this is much to writer Chris Colin's delight. He lovingly writes:
...From my simple, inviting balcony I could peer south down the curve of the beach and north at the iconic Malibu Pier. My oceanview queen room was snug but never cramped.
The California artist Glenn Ness's Hockneyesque pool paintings help create a light, summery feel, and the cozy gas fireplace is a happy extravagance against the Pacific backdrop.
At night, with the sliding glass door open, the thump and wash of the surf below wipes away all unnecessary thoughts."
Plus, free Wi-Fi! We'd immediately make a reservation if it weren't for that $675 per night price tag--this is unless Colin is willing to divulge which web site he booked the hotel on for the rate of $385.
[Photo: NY Times]