Calfiornia’s Highway 1 is one of my favorite road trips in the world, running along the beautiful coastline with stunning cliffs and I have taking it many times. And usually, Santa Monica is one of my stops in Southern California with a great beach and lots of restaurants, entertainment and shopping on nearby Third Street Promenade. But where to stay – the Wyndham Santa Monica was our choice, thanks to a perfect location and a good deal on Wyndham Rewards points! Find out if you should give it a try!
Location: One of the best things about the Wyndham Santa Monica is its location right across from the famous Santa Monica Pier. You are steps away from the long stretch of beautiful beach and boardwalk, from Malibu to Redondo Beach. You are also across the street from Santa Monica Place, a modern mall, and Third Street Promenade, my favorite outdoor pedestrian street and mall in the US, with great restaurants and shops. That makes the Wyndham one of the few hotels in Southern California that you can stay at without needing a car. You can enjoy the beach and explore the town on foot.
But you are also close to transportation – too close actually: I-10 runs right behind the hotel, so there is street noise from three sides of the hotel. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a 45-60 minute ride away. Parking at the hotel is expensive at $34/night, so you might want to think about that rental car…
Service/Rewards: The front desk staff at the Wyndham was neither very friendly nor professional. They had trouble handling our reservation, resulting in multiple trips to the front desk – it took a strongly worded complaint to the front desk manager to sort it out!
I don’t have any Wyndham status and used points, so my ask for a quiet room, high up and away from the street was not granted. We ended up on the second floor facing the street.
The housekeeping staff was more on top of their job and had our room thoroughly and quickly cleaned each day. The valet staff was friendly and had our car ready each time within minutes.
I used a GoFree award for our visit and only spent 15,000 points (purchased at $150) for the room, when the cash price was $460, making the award stay a bargain. Find out how I did that here!
Room: I had stayed at this hotel when it was a Holiday Inn a few years ago and Wyndham did a nice job renovating it. The room is of good size and held in a conservative-contemporary style with dark woods and brown tones. Everything looked and felt new. There is a very comfortable king-size bed with high-quality sheets – much better than I expected. A luggage bench and closet provide space for all your stuff, a work desk and chair allows to get work done and a comfortable chair sits in the corner. The flat-screen TV, coffee/tea facilities and laptop-size safe all worked without issues. The bathroom was also renovated in beige-brown tones with some nice white wavy and glass mosaic tiles for a modern, upscale look. The shower-over-tub combination has a curved rod and a curtain with a semi-transparent window in the top portion, my favorite kind of curtain. The towels and bathroom amenities were also upscale.
The Wifi was atrociously slow at an average of only 0.9Mbps and unreliable – don’t plan on getting work done or streaming video! In California, a leading tech state, in 2016, that is unacceptable.
Despite being on a low floor and street facing, we couldn’t hear any noise in the room – it’s well insulated. There are also thick black-out curtains, so we slept very well! Sound and light insulation are key to good sleep and easy to do – I wish more hotels did as well as the Wyndham Santa Monica.
Restaurant/Amenities: With lots of great restaurants within minutes of walking, we passed on the hotel restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.
The hotel has a small pool – it’s squished between the hotel and the freeway. While they are making the best out of a very bad location by adding a greened wall to the freeway, I would still not want to spend time there and listen to cars and trucks buzzing by when you can enjoy the ocean in peace a few steps away. There is also a small gym with minimal cardio and weight equipment, enough for a basic workout.
Recommendation: The Wyndham Santa Monica’s location next to the beach and Third Street promenade make it a winner. And at a rate of 15,000 points or $150/night it’s the best value you can find in Santa Monica in summer. The room is nice enough and at that price I can see past the mediocre service and poor pool. At the cash price of $460/night, there is better value to be had elsewhere. The Westin Delfina and Doubletree are nicer hotels a little further away for similar prices. The Shore Hotel is brand new and has an even better location, available for much less during our visit. But if you have Wyndham points or find a good rate, it’s worth staying. I would come back and I’ll also give other Wyndham hotels a try.