We booked two rooms here for one week in July to merge a business trip with some family time. The weather was glorious, and we took that as an opportunity for Le Merigot to show the best it has to offer. As with any hotel stay, there were pros and cons to our experience, many of which may make the difference in your choice of this property for your visit to Santa Monica or L.A.
Pros: Plenty of relaxed outdoor spaces make Le Merigot a comfortable spot for anyone with some "down time" on their schedule. We ate breakfast outside nearly every morning, feeling the sun burn off the marine layer as the temperature went from chilly to comfortable within the time span of our meal. That single experience is something we always remember fondly about Le Merigot from previous visits, and it's one thing that remains the same, which is why we recommend lingering over this first meal to enjoy some of the best of what Le Merigot offers. Breakfast choices are predictably satisfying, although the buffet is pretty standard Marriott fare. Some of the staff here were amazingly friendly and helpful, and when you spend a lot of time on the property as we did, seeing the same faces and being recognized individually went a long way to make our visit enjoyable and memorable. Being within walking distance of the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, the Third Street promenade and the (renovated) outdoor mall adjoining the parking lot on Colorado was a definite plus for us. The outdoor pool is small, as other reviewers noted, but we made due with short visits, timed when the sun was right, and always had a good experience. Lobby renovations were just completed during our stay, although we thought the new look was much too corporate to benefit families, probably intentionally so.
Cons: The best experience at Le Merigot only comes when you get a room with a balcony or porch. Otherwise, the rooms are dated and claustrophobic. We spent very little time in one of our rooms (even though it was a junior suite) because it had only one small window, and the furniture was worn and (for lack of a better word) "yucky." Marriott obviously feels no need to keep these rooms fresh (except the beds, which were plush and comfortable), which is unfortunate when the age of these pieces is so depressingly palpable. Not a typical "J.W." experience in that regard. This property also has an eclectic configuration of rooms (you can see the great balconies off other rooms), which means you always think "something better" should be available, but the responses to our requests were always "that's just not available for your stay" or "that's the best we can do for you," as if the best rooms are kept secret for the "best guests." Our "junior suite," for example, was sold to us as a "perk" to offset the lack of a balcony and the inability to offer connecting rooms, but the space was not worth the trade-off. We don't think you can just "get lucky" with a balcony when you make a reservation, so you should check directly with the hotel's "in-house room scheduler" to find the best options, because reservations and the front desk will just (automatically and cryptically) deny your requests and give you a "no-view" room while saving the better rooms for guests who know better and expect more. Given the dated furnishings and bleak rooms, not having that balcony to feel the fresh air every day would be a deal-breaker for me, and as a bottom line, I would not choose Le Merigot over other options.
The dated furnishings of the rooms extends to all outdoor spaces. Sure, comfortable and "lounge-type" pieces probably wear quickly, but they have to be replaced often to maintain the quality of the outdoor experience here. We think these were the same cushions in place when we last visited in 2006, which made us feel that Marriott wants its guests to just "make due" with sagging and fading seating. It's just not a very welcoming feeling.
Some aspects of this property simply cannot be changed, which also merits a lower rating. The property is not oceanfront, and the journey to the beach is arduous (particularly with children) beginning with the pool-side stairway through the ramp to the street (accessed by keycard only with difficulty amid frequent denials of our cards), to the alley around the condos that obstruct the property's ocean-vew (often lined with homeless people and smelling of urine), to the trek across the hot sand. . . this journey is filled with reasons not to make the second or third trip, despite the great beach at the end. Also, keep in mind that even with a coveted balcony or porch giving you the sun and the breeze, the high concrete walls that are part of the design and construction of this building mean you have to stand and (often) lean to see the ocean, and it can get hot sitting to read within this "cell."
Other minor problems (they all add up!) include the tiny and inadequate gift shop, the rude and arrogant concierge (on all shifts!), the acceptance of large dogs as "guests" (and yes, they do bark) and an overwhelmed housekeeping staff (only when the hotel is full).
Overall, we feel this property is not J.W.-quality, agreeing with other reviewers on this point in every respect. The eclectric architecture certainly makes it unique, but that (along with the JW label) also raises expectations, particularly for loyal Marriott travelers. With the single exception of some dedicated staff members who "carry the banner" for individual service here, the operation, maintenance and "vision" of this property is no higher than a standard Marriott. Deflated expectations and the nagging feeling that this property could be so much better make this just an average experience overall.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Contemporary European-style Hotel situated overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 5 miles from J. Paul Getty Museum. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jw Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot Hotel Santa Monica
- Marriott Santa Monica
- Santa Monica Marriott