Oceana Santa Monica LXR {US-CA}

Old May 3, 21, 6:21 am
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Oceana Santa Monica LXR {US-CA}

Don't see a thread on this new property (open approx 5 months) so here goes.

Had a Saturday overnight in LA, and decided to burn an Amex free night cert here. Cheapest cash rooms were going for $618. Spoiler alert: I'd NEVER pay that much to stay here.

Location on Ocean Avenue, between Montana and Idaho, overlooking Palisades Park, is great. It's a three story building, older construction, which Hilton remodeled and reflagged. Rooms are built around a central courtyard, where the smallish pool is located. There's only one very slow elevator, and this is not adequate given the number of rooms and the lack of easy stairway access. Hilton should have put in another elevator when they remodeled.

There's a nice open space (with heaters) on the third floor overlooking Palisades Park and out to the Ocean, called the "Sunset Terrace." About the nicest feature of the property IMO. Pool was super crowded with kids. Pretty loud and I suspect not the crowd the property was hoping for.

On arrival, the extraordinarily insincere fda Lily told us we'd been assigned to a ground floor base level room (Oceana King), I asked about a Diamond upgrade; she said they were "pretty full" and nothing was available. This statement was contradicted by the app, which showed four types of higher level rooms available for sale. She then said not to worry, the room assigned was "one of her favorites." I asked why that was and she could give no explanation. After further discussion, she involved her colleague, who also declined any upgrade, but moved us the same room type, second floor.

The room itself was very dark and clearly less than the advertised 500 sq ft. View was of the adjacent condos about 8 feet away. Small balcony with one chair. No desk of any kind. Decor was brand new and pretty nice. Our bellman Lenny (nice guy) started describing the hotel's iPad-based communication system, and then said "oh wait, this is one of the rooms that doesn't have those."

There was also no coffee maker. I asked at front desk and was told by Lily they had been "removed from the rooms due to covid requirements." I called bs, having stayed in dozens of hotels over the past year with in-room coffee. Lily said a coffee maker would be brought to the room. A Nespresso machine was duly delivered, but without coffee. I called and asked for capsules, which were brought up about 30 minutes later. When i went to set up the machine, I saw it had no water reservoir. Called front desk again, they brought up a new machine with a reservoir 30 minutes after that. Remember, this is supposedly a $600+ per night "luxury" hotel.

Biggest issue we had with the room (apart from lack of any desk or any place to eat takeout food) was noise. The walls are paper thin. We had loud music from the adjacent room until about 11 pm. Front desk acknowledged the problem, but wouldn't do anything about it.

Breakfast at Sandpiper (we ate at a table by the pool) was extremely slow and disorganized. It took about 20 minutes to get any service at all, 40 minutes to order, and an hour to get our food. The food was actually quite good. Diamond benefit is a $22 per person credit (no tax or gratuity included). They add a 20% tip to all checks. Our tab was around $65.

"Disorganized" describes the service here overall. The two times we called down to have our car brought up, the message was not conveyed to the valets. The property is also understaffed, which meant calls to the front desk mostly went unanswered.

Overall, a pretty disappointing stay. If I had paid $618 I'd be super pissed. I'd certainly not recommend anyone spend anywhere close to that to stay here, as it is a "luxury" property in name only.
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Old May 3, 21, 8:52 am
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Judging by some of the comments our US based Hilton Honors members are making about the supposed "high end" Hilton brands in the US on FT of late, Hilton ought to rename the relevant brands LXR-US, Conrad-US and Waldorf Astoria-US to account for what appears to be a totally different experience compared with those brands in the rest of the world.
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Old May 3, 21, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by Schwann View Post
Judging by some of the comments our US based Hilton Honors members are making about the supposed "high end" Hilton brands in the US on FT of late, Hilton ought to rename the relevant brands LXR-US, Conrad-US and Waldorf Astoria-US to account for what appears to be a totally different experience compared with those brands in the rest of the world.
Agreed, the LXR brand is receiving a lot of praise in Europe, a shame they wouldn’t want to get their first examples in the US just right. I’m surprised the upgrade policy and even the breakfast benefit is on the short side.

This being said, for balance I have read some good reviews for here elsewhere and have plans to stay myself.
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Old May 3, 21, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Breakfast at Sandpiper (we ate at a table by the pool) was extremely slow and disorganized. It took about 20 minutes to get any service at all, 40 minutes to order, and an hour to get our food. The food was actually quite good. Diamond benefit is a $22 per person credit (no tax or gratuity included). They add a 20% tip to all checks. Our tab was around $65.
Thanks for the excellent detailed review.

Did they not add the 5% employee health care surcharge to your breakfast check?

https://assets-global.website-files...._April2021.pdf
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Old May 3, 21, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Thanks for the excellent detailed review.

Did they not add the 5% employee health care surcharge to your breakfast check?

https://assets-global.website-files...._April2021.pdf
No idea. After an hour twenty minutes for breakfast, I was in a rush to make a 10 am call, and just glanced at it quickly enough to see 20% gratuity such that I didn't need to add one.
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Old May 3, 21, 5:25 pm
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Especially as this is a new property that needs to work out some kinks, please post your review to TripAdvisor. The impetus of a few negative reviews may help this property in identifying and correcting issues sooner rather than later.
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Old May 3, 21, 6:23 pm
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Kacee, we were (were) considering this for a "beach stay" near LAX. What turned me off was the location...I want to walk to the beach, but not 20 minutes downhill (then Uphill). I was also turned off by the restaurant menu...everyone raved about the "guests only" restaurant, but the only menu I could find on line had maybe 3 sandwiches and 2 entrees?? And I'm always suspicious of reviews that mention the same employees over and over by name - I can barely remember who checked me in! To me they seem like "plants".

After poring over all the hotels we have status with in Santa Monica (Hilton and Bonvoy) we decided to instead stay in Marina del Rey. No, not a Hilton, NO, not the Ritz Carlton, but the brand new Residence Inn. Lower rates/points, free breakfast, and best of all a short walk to the beach where we could stroll up to SM if desired. We have stayed at the best in Santa Monica (Shutters) and all the other choices were too far (for us) from the water, or had dismal reviews (the JW Le Merigot).

I'm not sure you're also a Bonvoy person but the RI looks really nice. Praised on-site restaurant, every room very spacious (with balconies on points!), and a really great location.
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Last edited by Eujeanie; May 3, 21 at 7:08 pm
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Old May 3, 21, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
And I'm always suspicious of reviews that mention the same employees over and over by name - I can barely remember who checked me in! To me they seem like "plants".
Yes, I noticed same - a strong indicator of fake reviews.

While XLR location is not on or really convenient to the beach, we did enjoy being across from Palisades Park, and Santa Monica has some good restaurants. Speaking of Marriott options, we were also considering Santa Monica Proper, though that's more of an urban location. Will consider RI for next visit!
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Old May 4, 21, 1:51 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes, I noticed same - a strong indicator of fake reviews.

While XLR location is not on or really convenient to the beach, we did enjoy being across from Palisades Park, and Santa Monica has some good restaurants. Speaking of Marriott options, we were also considering Santa Monica Proper, though that's more of an urban location. Will consider RI for next visit!
We aren't going for many moons so you might be there before me!

Disappointing to hear about US LXR's in general, have never stayed in one but will be in a few months at the new Crockfords in Vegas, burning a FNA there.

And I certainly don't mean to imply that a Residence Inn is in any way comparable to a luxury brand, but just what I've read about both new properties (the RI and Oceana) I chose the former. I could be making a mistake, too.
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Old May 4, 21, 2:53 am
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Yes the very positive reviews on TA were a reason for me considering here. I never considered they could be planted, but now that you mention it...

Also, the breakfast amenity is definitely on the short side for an ultra premium property that add’s X, Y & Z on to the check.

I know the JW doesn’t receive favourable reviews in this area, any thoughts on the Le Meridien?

There is a Doubletree nearby in MdR of course, however reviews are mixed and it’s set back from the beach vs the other properties mentioned as an alternative to the LXR
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Old May 4, 21, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by Eujeanie View Post
And I certainly don't mean to imply that a Residence Inn is in any way comparable to a luxury brand, but just what I've read about both new properties (the RI and Oceana) I chose the former. I could be making a mistake, too.
No, I get it. Sometimes the limited service properties provide a much better value, without attitude or pretension. We've booked the RI Wailea for a couple nights in July, just don't think the full service options are worth the going rate (north of $700/night).
Originally Posted by pazza2000 View Post
Yes the very positive reviews on TA were a reason for me considering here. I never considered they could be planted, but now that you mention it...
Unfortunately one must be very careful these days with TA ratings as it is quite common for properties to fake reviews. It used to be easy to spot, i.e., a large number of 1 contribution 5 star reviews, but they've gotten more sophisticated.
Originally Posted by pazza2000 View Post
I know the JW doesn’t receive favourable reviews in this area, any thoughts on the Le Meridien?

There is a Doubletree nearby in MdR of course, however reviews are mixed and it’s set back from the beach vs the other properties mentioned as an alternative to the LXR
I think all the properties in the area get somewhat mixed reviews. There seems to be an active campaign to pump both XLR and Santa Monica Proper, which has succeeded in putting them 1 and 2 on the TA list.
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Old May 4, 21, 7:21 am
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Thanks for the review Kacee.

We have a 3 night stay over the Memorial Day weekend. Unless rooms open up at the WA BV, we’ll likely keep the reservation.

Also, did you charge incidentals to the Aspire card (assuming you have one)? The property is not listed as a “resort” so I wonder if it qualifies for the $250 resort credit.
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Old May 4, 21, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by Troopers View Post
Also, did you charge incidentals to the Aspire card (assuming you have one)? The property is not listed as a “resort” so I wonder if it qualifies for the $250 resort credit.
Unfortunately not, as I didn't have it handy and they needed a swipe. So no data point.

For three nights I would really push to get out of the base room. It would be nice to have some living space and a desk or table, and I think pretty much everything else is a true suite. I'm not sure I'd want to be on Ocean Ave due to the traffic noise.
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Old May 4, 21, 7:57 am
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Was supposed to head down from Norcal just to try out the hotel and use up some certs a few weeks ago but had to bail due to some last minute conflicts. Glad I didnt make the effort to drive down...
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Old May 4, 21, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
No idea. After an hour twenty minutes for breakfast, I was in a rush to make a 10 am call, and just glanced at it quickly enough to see 20% gratuity such that I didn't need to add one.
This leaves me wondering. Isn't any employee in California supposed to get a decent pay these days? Like $15/hr in Santa Monica, as compared to $7.25 in many more backward states. So why still this 20% gratuity? Sounds like a petite too much for the services offered.
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