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Help with pre/post cruise in LA


akcruz

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Looking for a little help from the LA locals in ensuring our plans for our time in the area are feasible and let us get in as much as we can.

Some of the things we know –

· Family of 4, 2 adults, a 19 year old girl (not into a lot of the ‘girly’ stuff) and a 14 year old boy (that doesn’t sit still except to play video games)

· Sailing on the Mariner Sunday, 8/16

· Flying into LAX on Friday night around 10:30 PM

· Will be renting a car upon arrival

· Flying out of LAX around 3:30 PM on Sunday (day we arrive back in port)

· DH has a lot of Starwood Points (Sheraton, W, etc) that we can use for both the car and hotels for Friday/Saturday night

· Not really interested in theme parks (Universal, Disney, etc)

· Nothing that we ‘have to’ see, but want to hit the highlights as this is the first time to LA for all of us (Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, etc)

Areas we need some help in –

· What area should we use as our home base? Using points the hotels I have found that I think are in the right areas are Sheraton Universal, Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica, W Los Angeles or SLS Beverly Hills. Have looked at trip advisor and some rate far better than others, but not sure of location. Not really interested in the ‘star sighting/luxury’ of the hotels, looking more for a nice hotel in a safe area that is close (yes I know in LA nothing is close) to the areas we will be going to.

· Are there other hotels that you would recommend us using even though we can stay at one of these for basically the cost of parking?

· Had thought of doing Hollywood touristy stuff Saturday AM, driving around the area (have CJW’s post bookmarked with the driving tour), then doing Venice Beach area Saturday PM. Find a place for dinner, and probably end the night early (we are from NJ so will be a bit tired most likely).

· Since we can use points for the car, do we return it to Long Beach Sunday AM and taxi to port, or return to LAX and shuttle to the port? Any pros/cons here?

· On our return Sunday, do we try again to rent a car and fit some things in or is this cutting it too close/not worth it? The cruise line provides 2 tours that would get us the airport in time (one of Hollywood, etc, another of the beach areas). Is it better to save one of these until we return instead of doing these Saturday before on our own? Have seen the posts regarding lunch at the Encounter, In-n-Out Burger, do we just take our time getting off the ship, head to the airport and do one of these? Do any of the hotels do ‘day rooms’, if so would this be a viable option for a few hours and if so what area would you recommend? We have done the self disembark before (not in LA obviously) and been off the ship real early.

Think that’s it. Any thoughts, recommendations, etc are more than welcome.

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Looking for a little help from the LA locals in ensuring our plans for our time in the area are feasible and let us get in as much as we can.

Some of the things we know –

· Family of 4, 2 adults, a 19 year old girl (not into a lot of the ‘girly’ stuff) and a 14 year old boy (that doesn’t sit still except to play video games)

· Sailing on the Mariner Sunday, 8/16

· Flying into LAX on Friday night around 10:30 PM

· Will be renting a car upon arrival

· Flying out of LAX around 3:30 PM on Sunday (day we arrive back in port)

· DH has a lot of Starwood Points (Sheraton, W, etc) that we can use for both the car and hotels for Friday/Saturday night

· Not really interested in theme parks (Universal, Disney, etc)

· Nothing that we ‘have to’ see, but want to hit the highlights as this is the first time to LA for all of us (Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, etc)

Areas we need some help in –

· What area should we use as our home base? Using points the hotels I have found that I think are in the right areas are Sheraton Universal, Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica, W Los Angeles or SLS Beverly Hills. Have looked at trip advisor and some rate far better than others, but not sure of location. Not really interested in the ‘star sighting/luxury’ of the hotels, looking more for a nice hotel in a safe area that is close (yes I know in LA nothing is close) to the areas we will be going to.

· Are there other hotels that you would recommend us using even though we can stay at one of these for basically the cost of parking?

· Had thought of doing Hollywood touristy stuff Saturday AM, driving around the area (have CJW’s post bookmarked with the driving tour), then doing Venice Beach area Saturday PM. Find a place for dinner, and probably end the night early (we are from NJ so will be a bit tired most likely).

· Since we can use points for the car, do we return it to Long Beach Sunday AM and taxi to port, or return to LAX and shuttle to the port? Any pros/cons here?

· On our return Sunday, do we try again to rent a car and fit some things in or is this cutting it too close/not worth it? The cruise line provides 2 tours that would get us the airport in time (one of Hollywood, etc, another of the beach areas). Is it better to save one of these until we return instead of doing these Saturday before on our own? Have seen the posts regarding lunch at the Encounter, In-n-Out Burger, do we just take our time getting off the ship, head to the airport and do one of these? Do any of the hotels do ‘day rooms’, if so would this be a viable option for a few hours and if so what area would you recommend? We have done the self disembark before (not in LA obviously) and been off the ship real early.

Think that’s it. Any thoughts, recommendations, etc are more than welcome.

 

Wow! It looks like you have really done your research...good job...

 

Okay, first, hotel choices...You've got some interesting ones...I only know a couple of them very well, but the other two I am very familiar with the locations...

Assuming they are all "free" with points, here's my take:

Universal: Okay, this is right on the Universal Studios property, so, it is very convenient for visiting Universal and CityWalk...and not too far into Hollywood...But, it will be HOT in this part of town in August...

Delfina Santa Monica: This is the other side of town from Universal...but, in August, will definitely have the best weather (Yes, the climate changes considerably from one part of LA to another--Santa Monica has the ocean as a moderating force, so it never gets really hot)...But this is NOT the best location in Santa Monica...sort of a few too many blocks to the beach or the Third Street Promenade...Lots of nicer hotels in SM...but, of course, for free, it is still a deal...

SLS Beverly Hills: Okay, this one isn't in the prime "Golden Triangle" part of Beverly Hills, so it's not really walking distance to, say, Rodeo Drive...it is close to shopping--Beverly Center and Melrose...and it's near the old "Restaurant Row" on La Cienega...It's also very centrally located between Hollywood and Santa Monica...but really in a sort of busy, urban no man's land...

"W" Los Angeles: I sort of trip out over this one...back in the early 70s when I was a student at UCLA, this hotel was originally built as a private "dorm"...Yeah, that's right...people are paying hundreds of dollars a night to stay in some room where some college freshman used to play loud music and order in pizza and pretend to study for midterms while thinking up ways to ask out the cute girl down the hall...No, I am sure they have remodeled it several times since...but, if you find an old Dos Equis bottle cap embedded in the ceiling...oh, nevermind! One thing that MAY pull your 14 year old son away from his video games--depending on his increasing level of maturity, is that right up Hilgard from the hotel is Sorority Row...There are lots of restaurants and shops a stone's throw from the hotel in Westwood Village...and the BEAUTIFUL UCLA campus is just up the street...a major plus in my book...

 

But here is the bottom line: You can stay at any of these and it won't alter what you do much...you have basically one full day to do everything you want to do...so you will be busy...and one way or another, you will drive from Hollywood to Venice or vice versa...and have to start or end up at whichever hotel you choose...and are really only using it as a base and a place to sleep...If you wanted to end up in Santa Monica/Venice at the end of the day, that might be a reason to pick the Delfina (even though it may not be as nice a hotel as some of the others...Universal would be the longest drive to the pier or to LAX in the morning...and, unless you had an interest in spending a lot of time at Universal and Burbank, I'd probably rule that one out...I'm guessing I have a strange attraction to the "W"...something deep-seeded in my past memories...but, it is a nice location if, in the morning, before you head back to return the car, you wanted to stumble out and walk around and find a coffee and a quick bite... like this old college favorite of mine:

 

http://www.stansdoughnuts.com/

 

The Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Roll is absolutely incredible!

 

Westwood is sort of Centrally located between Hollywood and Santa Monica...and you can stop back at the hotel between your morning and afternoon itineraries if you want...and, in the morning, it's a quick hop onto the 405 South to either LAX or San Pedro (or wherever it makes sense to return the car)...

 

The Sunday you return, a 3:30 flight leaves really not enough time to do much...not worth renting a car...If you wanted to do the ship's excursion, you may want to alter your plans for that Saturday before as those excursions usually visit the Hollywood highlights like the Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese...but it is a good way to kill the morning and get your airport transportation in the deal...and beats camping out for six hours at LAX...

 

...And, hopefully, my compadre Curt will see this thread...he probably knows these hotels better than I...

 

Good luck...

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Bruin Steve, thanks so much for all the info. You have my interest peaked to try and find that bottle cap at the W :eek:.

 

Hoping to sit down this weekend with the family and get this all squared away so may be back with more question.

 

Thanks!

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...And, hopefully, my compadre Curt will see this thread...he probably knows these hotels better than I...

Good luck...

LOL! Got it!

Yes, they've done their homework on another thread, so this is the "final" decisions so to speak!;)

 

Considering all of the "finals" here...

You are renting your own car, so that's good and settled now!

 

For those of us just joining, it's this driving tour:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=511653

 

#1 since you are coming into LAX late on Friday, then "touring" Saturday, then cruising Sunday...

I'd stick with Sheraton Delfina as first choice, and W Westwood for second.

There is no need to pay for a different hotel, if you are getting one of these "free" on points (and you have a rental car).

 

I'm leaning towards the Delfina, just for the logistics of your plans.

It's easy to get to from LAX for Friday night.

You have an option (with your car) to start almost right there in Venice Beach for breakfast Saturday morning, then use my tour to freeway to Hollywood to start that and end with dinner at Gladstones at Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday night.

(then 5 minutes back to your hotel).

http://www.gladstones.com/

Or head right up to Hollywood (don't forget my personal directions in that tour to get the closest ever - closer than the tours) to the Hollywood Sign!

Then work your way back to Venice Beach before twilight!

 

Then you've got plenty of awesome breakfast places right there, on Main Street in Santa Monica for breakfast on Sunday morning!

http://www.mainstreetsm.com/eats-drinks/

Or... just down the street on the way to the pier!

Rose Cafe for Sunday Morning!

http://www.rosecafe.com/About-Home.html

Right at the end of Main Street there!

 

Return the rental car to the local place in San Pedro/Long Beach.

 

On the return, I'm not sure if renting a car is worth it or needed...

You can do it, if you feel you have time - then take this tour at your own pace:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=500138

 

I don't know if a cruise tour is going to be that exciting at this point, but if you just want to relax and kill a few hours on your way back - it'd be okay.

I'd do the beach one at that time, over the LA/Hollywood one (redundant).

 

Or, get to LAX, check in and hang out in Encounter. Take your time.

You can easily spend a long 2 hours or more here, if you want to relax, and have a final LA sightseeing "moment", while still being "right there" for your plane ride home.

 

And a huge PS!

I am SOOO agreeing with BruinSteve on Stan's Donuts (I've recommended it to people before)...

You can stop off there in the midst of the LA driving tour (just down Hilgard on the Taste of LA Drive), but my personal favorites there are the Fresh Peanut Butter and Banana (with any kind of chocolate topping)!

peanutbutteropt.jpg

Just sayin';)

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Was Stan's Doughnuts the place that we dormies (I lived in Sproul Hall) would go near midnight to get the day-old ones? If so, that place holds a lot of memories (at my age, a year younger than Steve, I believe:D, it's amazing I remember anything). And the W, was that the old Co-op Dorm? Or something else?

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Thanks Curt, this is just what I needed. Yes,I have been doing research here on CC, just love all the help you guys give to us non-LA people. You answer the same question over and over with a different flair for the specific request. It is very much appreciated.

 

Now, the question I have is do you people do anything but eat! I am going to gain my cruise allotment before we get on the ship with all this food. Of course, have to try to them all, and get one of each at Stan's :D.

 

Will go over this all with the family this weekend. Made final payment on the cruise this week so now down to the details. Like to have it all done ahead of time so I can relax and enjoy along with the rest of the family!

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Was Stan's Doughnuts the place that we dormies (I lived in Sproul Hall) would go near midnight to get the day-old ones? If so' date=' that place holds a lot of memories (at my age, a year younger than Steve, I believe:D, it's amazing I remember anything). And the W, was that the old Co-op Dorm? Or something else?[/quote']

 

Patty, I virtually GUARANTY that if you had the munchies, Stan's is where you went...It's the little donut shop on the corner across the street from the Village and Bruin movie theaters...

 

As to the W, it was not the "Co-op"...There were, down in the Village, two very upscale private dorms--"Weyburn Hall" and "LaMancha"...LaMancha became the "W":

 

http://www.magazine.ucla.edu/year2003/winter03_06_dorm.html...

 

The owners of both properties soon realized the real estate was too valuable to rent to a bunch of kids...

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W is supposed to be nice. We had some friends stay there while they were performing at the Festival of Books at UCLA, and they liked it.

 

Another thumbs up to Stan's Donuts! I'm a fan of the blueberry buttermilk, and my daughter loves the Peanut Butter Cup.

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