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SANTA MONICA & VENICETo take advantage of beachy L.A. without blowing your budget, check out Santa Monica’s Sea Shore Motel (from $110; 2637 Main St., map), with basic rooms and an ideal location—two blocks from the beach and bike path (see How to Burn It Off)—as well as Venice Beach’s Hotel Erwin (from around $200; 1697 Pacific Ave., map), a boutique property with spacious, balconied rooms and a surfer-chic casual-Cali vibe, likewise two blocks from the beach. Bonus: Erwin has a sweet rooftop lounge for prime sunset viewing.
If you’re willing to spend more in Santa Monica for additional amenities and better services, consider the super luxurious, historic, and celeb-friendly Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows (from about $369; 101 Wilshire Blvd., map), complete with spa, nice fitness center, and doting staff—it’s a 15-minute walk to the beach but just two blocks to downtown SM’s Third Street Promenade. Or go to the romantic Casa del Mar (average price: $565; 1910 Ocean Way, map): One of just two area luxury hotels located right on the sands, it boasts a rooftop plunge pool, an onsite spa, and a lively lobby bar.
WEST HOLLYWOODStay for cheap at the Orbit Hotel & Hostel (603 N. Fairfax Ave., map) in West Hollywood, a great central location that’s walking distance to shops on Melrose, clubs on Sunset, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. There are lots of area tours on offer, plus free wi-fi and breakfast; call ahead to see if you can score a free pickup from LAX. Dorm rooms start at $25; private rooms at $79.
Also in the West Hollywood area, right near the historic Hollywood Farmers Market, is the boutique Farmer’s Daughter Hotel (from $199; 115 S. Fairfax Ave., map), with cheerful “country-style” rooms and suites.
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