Draping yourself in luxury is fine, but I can also appreciate a budget hotel at the beach, focusing more on location than the hotel’s amenities.
In some ways, I think this is good parenting: you don’t want your kids to expect luxury resorts on every vacation, or they will never be able to appreciate that budget student travel that is a rite of passage for so many young adults.
Whatever college my daughter chooses, we have many years of tuition payments ahead, so I don’t always want to spend a lot of money on a room. The king suite at the Hampton Inn was comfortable but basic, with a comfy bed, pull-out couch and balcony that was perfect for enjoying sunsets.
Our room was extra large and had a fridge and a microwave so we saved money on snacks and cold drinks. The big bathroom had a separate vanity area, ideal when two hair-obsessed women are sharing the room.
This may be my favorite amenity at any hotel; breakfast just starts the day off the right way. The Hampton Inn has a newly renovated breakfast area, and free coffee and tea available 24/7. There were plenty of choices including fresh waffles, scrambled eggs and grab and go items for those heading out to the beach first thing or catching an early flight.
The walk to the beach took me 25 minutes, winding through the neighborhood. Pier Avenue, the strip of stores that has surf shops and restaurants is just 2 blocks away and there is a grocery store across the street to stock that fridge.
The hotel is just a 20 minute drive south of LAX, but a whole different mind set; a relaxed beach town where you can rent bikes, catch a wave or just unwind.
Another point – or a few hundred
Road warriors often take end of the year trips to reach elite levels on airlines. If you collect Hilton points, you can pad your numbers here; Hampton is part of the Hilton chain. But it is run like an independent hotel, with fun and friendly front desk help. No wonder the hotel is consistently sold out.