Like its sister cities of Hermosa and Manhattan, the main draw of Redondo Beach is the beach that connects these three cities. A paved path, called The Strand runs from Torrance through South Redondo, north to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and eventually to Santa Monica.
This past December, I was looking for a unique accommodation that was fairly close to LAX for a one-night stay before we departed for Houston to return after the holiday break. With a little research and a Priceline deal, I decided on the Portofino Hotel & Marina in this area.
After enjoying Hermosa Beach a few days before, I was especially excited to rest and recuperate from a whirlwind California coast trip and the Portofino Hotel ended up being the perfect respite from a road trip, broken wrist and post-wedding reception recovery.
After seeing images of the amazing room views, I was a little thrown off driving into the marina as I was not aware of the huge power plant. Turns out that this power plant is a source of controversy because it needs to be revitalized but residents would prefer to remove it from their oceanfront. There are complaints about the noise and well as the obvious blight on image. The owners, city officials and residents are locked in a battle to decide its fate, but now the solution is a wall with a painting of whales on it.
At any rate, once you drive past the power plant into the marina it starts to feel a little more organic, and as you enter the lobby of the Portofino Hotel then it all comes together nicely. The lobby is really lovely, especially during the holiday season when there is a Christmas tree. Customer service was nice, though be warned that valet in this area is expensive (as it was at our Hermosa hotel as well).
I would highly recommend that you request, and probably pay extra, for a room facing the Pacific Ocean. There is a marina view option as well, but it would be interrupted by the parking lot and on-site restaurant in some areas. The ocean view rooms are right on the water. Waking up to the ocean never gets old, and then there is the added bonus of an active sea lion community as well. Our room was on an upper floor with a balcony for wine enjoyment.
The nautical-themed rooms themselves are clean and tastefully decorated. I thought that our room was far more spacious than an average room, and also worth any extra cost. We were also impressed by the king size bed and the large bathroom. Two really adorable details included the sea-lion plush toy waiting for us on the bed, “Sir Barks A Lot” as well as earplugs if the sea lions were a little too active.
But it was the ocean view that absolutely and completely won us over. With the relaxing view of swimming sea lions, SUP paddle boarders, and sailboats, not to mention the amazing sunset, we almost cancelled our dinner plans to order room service and stay in. Alas, we had plans to meet friends so we were not able to take advantage of room service or the on-site restaurant Baleen.
However, I would recommend that you leave your car parked and check out their free bikes. Everything is within walking, or biking, distance from the hotel. It is not very far to Hermosa either, so for a future visit, I would prefer to get out and explore or I might even plan to order some room service and have a romantic evening in.
After driving from Santa Barbara and recovering from too much wedding champagne, when we returned from dinner all I wanted to do was sleep, and for this, it was a great room. The room was so quiet that I did not need the earplugs, and I had one of the best night sleep with my broken wrist that I was able to enjoy. The pain killers may have helped some too.
I totally needed the Portofino Hotel that night. I needed to relax and not worry about my wrist, the early flight home, or the hangover I was feeling. And with the views and fabulous room, I was able to do just that.
The hotel is generally rated as 4-stars and the standard price is rather high-end. I would pay for the ocean views, but to be honest, the hotel is somewhat dated in areas. The elevator to 3rd floor was a bit rickety, the hallways were warm to hot, and the exterior kinda looks like a condo building. And of course, there is the power plant that disrupts the perfect beach community vibe as well.
On the other hand, I can not think of a hotel like this where you are right on the water where the sun seems to set in your backyard and the sea lions call to come out and play. I would absolutely come back, especially for a quieter non-LA experience still so close to LAX. Next time, I won’t have a broken wrist so I can ride the bikes and rent a paddle board to join the happy sea lions.
I will see you again Sir Barks A lot.