About the Hotel
Rates: $159-259, depending on season and room location
Facilities: "Beachfront" hotel, free breakfast, LAX airport shuttle, restaurant next door, fully non-smoking
Where Is It
The Foghorn Harbor Inn is located in Marina del Rey, about 10-15 minutes north of LAX on Highway 1 (Lincoln Blvd./Pacific Coast Highway), and about 20 minutes from the 405 (San Diego Freeway) via Washington Blvd. From LAX, take Highway 1 north, turn left at Fiji Way, then right at Admiralty Way. Proceed to the end of the road, and turn left at Via Marina. The hotel will be immediately on your left. From the 405, exit at Washington Blvd., go west, and proceed to Via Marina/Ocean Avenue (BEWARE - when traveling west, it is labeled only as Ocean Avenue, and thus easy to miss). Turn left, pass the first traffic light (Admiralty Way), and the hotel will be immediately on your left.
First off, I have to say I'm really impressed how close the hotel is to LAX. Trying to get anywhere in LA can be a challenge due to Southern California's legendary traffic, but it took only 13 minutes from LAX, at 4 in the afternoon on a Monday. The return trip an hour later to pick up my sister from Terminal 1 took about the same amount of time. This is a HUGE plus if you're looking for a place to stay near the airport, such as for an early flight the next morning.
Admittedly, the hotel doesn't look like much from outside.
The room, a beachview room on the second floor, was a tad on the small side, but perfectly functional for a short stay.
Speaking of which, I've used the word "beach" in parentheses a couple of times, for a good reason which you should definitely be aware of. The hotel is indeed a beachfront property, the only one in Marina del Rey as a matter of fact, but be aware that the beach is, in fact, artificial. The harbor in Marina del Rey was repurposed to provide a place for yachts to dock, and for shopping/restaurants along the water, with a beach put in for good measure. It is not, however, the Pacific Ocean, so if "beachfront" to you means "oceanfront", this isn't the place for you (we knew this when we booked, so it wasn't an issue for us). Despite being manmade, the beach is perfectly fine for beachy SoCal activities, with a volleyball game and sunbathing in full swing when we arrived.
I couldn't help but wonder how much these beachfront houses would cost, but then again, if I have to ask, I obviously can't afford them.
I liked this scene, personally - a flock of seagulls enjoying a quiet morning on the beach.
Service at this hotel was friendly and personal. The lady who checked us in was, shall we say, a bit slow, but she was nice enough, and gave us suggestions on what to do in the area. They also arranged a shuttle to the airport for my sister for Wednesday morning (if the shuttle isn't running because your flight is too early or too late, the hotel will pay for a cab for you, which is a nice touch). About the only negative was that there isn't much to watch on the TV, but hopefully, if you're coming to LA, you're not spending a whole lot of time in your room watching TV.
Not the fanciest hotel in the world, but the Foghorn Harbor Inn provides a great location at a reasonable price. It's a good choice if you have an early morning flight out of LAX and want something a little different from a typical airport hotel, or if you'd like a beachfront experience without the exorbitant prices, especially with Venice Beach only a short walk away.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars. Nothing fancy here, but a solid value for those on a budget, with an extra 1/2 star for good service.
P.S. If you're a Jeopardy watcher, you would have seen my brother, Babu Srinivasan, on TV on Monday, March 4th. If I have now piqued your curiosity and want to watch his episodes (this was actually his 4th appearance on the show), past episodes are usually available at jeopardy.com or on YouTube.