Finding lodging options in one of the largest cities in the U.S. wasn’t going to be an easy task. With a multitude of hotel rooms, condos and apartments to consider, not to mention what neighborhood we’d want to stay in while in the Los Angeles area, the lodging search could’ve been overwhelming. But when I decided to check out a FlipKey apartment rental in Santa Monica, the selection was no longer overwhelming.
Many travelers are unsure about the idea of an apartment rental when traveling. Staying in someone’s home has them unsure about the process. But we’ve enjoyed every apartment rental we’ve had, mostly because it enables us to stay in residential areas that give us more of a feel of what it’s like to live in a community.
For our 10-day visit to Southern California, we would be moving from city to city, staying in different hotels ranging from relaxing properties near the beach to a place to lay our heads before and after visiting Disneyland.
Staying a night or two in an apartment in Los Angeles seemed like a good idea, something to break up the night after night of hotel stays. I asked friends who live in the L.A. area and was told to either get a spot in Santa Monica or Hollywood. Both neighborhoods would put us close to many of the sights we’d be interested in.
We used FlipKey for the first time, and started our search by checking out the neighborhoods listed. I saw several properties that interested me in the Hollywood area, but there was just something about staying near the beach that had me interested in Santa Monica.
After inquiring about a couple of properties I settled on a really slick duplex loft in Santa Monica. Located on a quiet residential street just off the Pacific Coast Highway, the loft was less than a mile from the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. In theory we could’ve walked. But Los Angeles is a driving destination, we had a rental car and the public parking garages near the Third Street Promenade are dirt cheap.
Checking into the property was easy; once our reservation was confirmed, the property owner sent a massive packet of information via DropBox that had every detail on how to access the loft, its underground parking garage, how the lights work and everything else we could ever need.
They make it even easier with a duplicate set of the information in a binder left on the kitchen table. There was also a packet giving us ideas about what to do in the neighborhood, a nice touch.
We could’ve spent days in the loft relaxing on the rooftop or second-floor deck, not to mention lounging in the living room with the windows open at night. But there is so much to do and so little time.
We stayed in the Santa Monica duplex loft for just one night, our arrival day. The first night adjusting to Pacific time from the central time zone is always a challenge. And it meant we were wiped when we got back to the loft after an evening out in Downtown Santa Monica.
One of the great features in the loft is the light that comes in from all angles. There are windows all around, making for a bright morning. And that did present our only real negative experience.
All of those windows have window treatments to keep the sun from shining in too early in the morning. But the upstairs bedroom featured blinds that somehow proved too difficult for two adults to figure out how to lower.
So we rigged towels up to cover the windows. I’m going to chalk it up to being exhausted, because it just doesn’t seem possible that we’d spend so much time struggling to lower the blinds.
The upstairs bedroom gave us privacy from our son, who had a comfortable bed set up in the living room below.
I enjoyed waking up with the windows open and hearing birds in the neighborhood trees. It was nice to step out for a few moments with coffee to enjoy the vibe. It’s something we couldn’t have enjoyed staying in a Santa Monica hotel.
I don’t do it enough at home, but when I get the opportunity on the weekend to step out on our back patio with a cup of coffee I take it. And it’s something that was an added plus on our first morning in Southern California.
I think some people are unsure about apartment rentals, in part because they’re unsure what they might get. Something I like about FlipKey is it’s affiliated with TripAdvisor, a company I have much respect for as a travel authority. I’ve always used its hotel reviews. With that being said, I was surprised to find the apartments I looked at didn’t have many reviews. Maybe it hasn’t caught on like it has with hotels. I do hope more reviews start popping up on the properties.
My accommodation was reimbursed by FlipKey in exchange for an honest review of my experience using the site.