Happy 2022 to all my readers. Sorry for the delay in writing about anything for the past month. Work got the best of me and COVID finally caught up with me after two years of being super careful. Inevitable I suppose when you and your family work at healthcare facilities handling patients. No clue how or where exactly we got it from, but I’m happy to say that we are all doing fine and recovered quickly because we were all vaccinated and boosted. If you haven’t gotten your shots, go do it now like your life depends on it. This virus isn’t something you want to leave to chance.
I’ll do a post on that later if you are interested in what they mean by “mild” symptoms due to COVID.
Back to my 2021 year end travels:
I was recently in LA for a brief mileage run on Alaska Airlines (more on this in another post) and I needed to stay a night before my flight back the following afternoon. Normally I would do a same day turn on these, but I had family in LA that I hadn’t seen in a good 2 years. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it turns out that the family ended up being on the other coast of the U.S that very same day so I needed a place to crash.
My usual go to hotel for a one night stay at LAX would be the Hyatt Regency (a valid redemption option for the Hyatt annual credit card free night certificate). Go figure, that was completely booked for this particular Friday. I ended up debating between various Marriott options before I stumbled upon the H Hotel LAX and Homewood Suites by Hilton, which both shared a rooftop outdoor lounge with views of runways 24L and 24R. What better way is there to spend a Friday than working and watching all the heavies land at LAX?
What sealed the deal for me was the free night I had from the Hilton Aspire credit card (the current offer on the card is for 150,000 Hilton points) got extended through 2021 due to the pandemic. This was my shot at finally redeeming that certificate despite not having the card anymore. These certificates have since been extended once again by the way.
Arrival and Hotel Shuttle:
My sister and I arrived on the 9:00 AM flight from Dallas Love-Field into Terminal 6 and proceeded straight for the arrivals area where signs to the shuttles led us to the departures area. Getting on the hotel shuttle at LAX isn’t always the easiest thing from my experience. At first we couldn’t quite piece together where the shuttle would even be able to pick us up. I called the hotel to make sure that we were in the right area for the pick up to happen and the agent assured me that there would be one swinging by every 15-20 minutes.
Despite the reassurance, it was hard to get to the curb and spot anything with LAX T6 being super crowded that morning. Many people were frantically waving at their shuttles hoping they would stop to pick them up. I found an opening further down along the curb and after pushing through I waved down the shuttle for us.
The ride to the hotel took no more than 15 minutes despite the driver stopping at some of the other terminals to drop passengers off. It was interesting to note that the driver assumed that I was actually headed for the long term parking garage adjacent to the hotel rather than the hotel itself. I have no clue what that says about this hotel.
Anyway you can’t really miss the entrance to the hotel as it is right next to Midway Car Rental with lines often wrapping around the block from what I could see. It makes sense as rental cars are expensive these days and this particular agency had rates which were often 30% cheaper than the competition.
I initially booked a car with the company for the day to visit Santa Monica Pier and perhaps the California coast, but after seeing the line, I just decided to call it a quits. I actually got a shot of the interior of the place, because I unknowingly cut the line. Noticing my own mistake, I just left the place after noticing the line around the building. Ironically, no one complained about my cutting the line despite giving me “the looks.”
The hotel building itself is a 12 stories and is shared between Homewood Suites and the H Hotel. The first three or four floors are taken up by the Homewood Suites brand, while the top floors are used for the Curio brand (H hotel). You can actually see the hotel well while on taxi for takeoff at LAX:
Most of the facilities in the complex are common to both including the rooftop lounge, gym, coffee shop, and marketplace at the front.
The hotel was absolutely dead when we walked in this Friday morning. A welcome sight for guests during these times, but also kind of sad given how slow recovery is going from the century’s first pandemic.
Despite it being only 10 AM, check in was an absolute breeze and I had no issues getting our room super early. The front desk just like the hotel is divided between Homewood Suites and H hotel, with one attendant for each accommodation.
I was thanked for being a Diamond member (from the AMEX Aspire Card) and sent on my way to the room in a manner of minutes. While this didn’t mean much in terms of upgrades, I was certainly happy to be able to check into a hotel at 10 am in the morning. In fact, the guy actually forgot to explain that I had a $15 per person credit on my account for breakfast so I had to call back later for clarification on that. More on that later.
The elevators are located adjacent to the check in area and have a beautiful system where you flash your card on a panel outside to activate a lift. This certainly reduces a lot of trouble with fumbling around for your key card after getting on. The panel also grays out all of the floors you can’t access.
We were assigned a Deluxe Two Queen Room with a fogged up view of LAX during this stay. I have no clue when the last time someone decided to clean the windows at this hotel because you pretty much can’t see much out the window:
Getting back to the room details, it was your standard 2 Queen hotel room with good bedside connector ports for charging electronics, fairly fast internet, and a reasonably comfortable office chair with a desk. As far as “standards” go, this was a good standard for a room. The beds were extremely comfortable and the room was quite clean.
The restroom featured a dual vanity with a stand in shower. Toiletries were by Crabtree and Evelyn, which in general smell great and later well. I appreciate that Hilton hasn’t yet completely mimicked Marriott in this regard.
Other than the dirty windows, I found the room to be great and would definitely say it is one of the nicer LAX airport hotels.
The 12th floor of the hotel features a well equipped gym and the rooftop lounge with views of LA and the runways at LAX. There’s even a Peloton bike which I made good use of the following morning. Again it was fantastic to have this place to ourselves for the most part. I saw maybe one other person use the gym during the time I was there.
Rooftop Viewing Lounge/Deck
Now the highlight of the hotel has to be the rooftop deck and lounge area from where views of runways 24R and 24L were pretty much unhindered. For the greater part of our stay there was absolutely no one here. The two guys I met were fellow aviation enthusiasts so we just kind of hung out talking about planes while listening to ATC and watching Flight Aware.
LAX has to be one of the most exciting US Airports to photograph. The only domestic US airline that doesn’t fly here is probably Frontier.
I pretty much set up my laptop, tripod, and camera and went to town on shot after shot of heavies landing at LAX, while also getting some work done. It was a perfect 70 degrees in LAX that day and things were looking up.
I decided to make a collage of the planes landing at LAX and did so with reasonable success over the course of 5-6 hours.
And as an added bonus we also got the added bonus of seeing the LAX skyline with the mountains as a backdrop:
And of course there was also the Hollywood sign, which was clearly visible at times out in the distance.
Sunset ended up being spectacular with beautiful pastel colors making their appearance soon after the sun set over the Pacific.
I also got to get this iconic shot of the LAX Airport that we see on TV when they refer to it.
The very next day, my sister and I hung out here while waiting for our flight. Unfortunately the front desk said they couldn’t give us late check out (After 1pm) despite, well the hotel being for the most part empty. I guess it balances out in the end.
The breakfast credit at this property is $15 per person per night and can be used either at the coffee shop, the Homewood Suites Market downstairs or at the hotel restaurant Waypoint. Do note that as far as the restaurant goes, the credit is enough for a continental breakfast. We opted to use the credit at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (located right next to the lobby) where we spent $20 to buy some croissants, hot tea, and iced coffee.
Don’t crucify me for saying this, but I would take this breakfast benefit any day over sitting and eating a mediocre continental breakfast at the hotel restaurant. The iced coffee Frappuccino drink was very refreshing and the croissant more than filling enough for the day. Not a bad Diamond benefit in this instance. I miss breakfast 90 percent of the time anyway because I’m out shooting sunrise with my camera or because I’ve slept in too late.
Oh yeah if Krispy Kreme donuts are your thing, this hotel advertises and sells them everywhere. From the lobby, to the marketplace, to the coffee shop, the donuts were on display everywhere. Definitely one of the root causes of America’s problems (sigh). I have to admit that I was tempted to eat a donut upon returning home after seeing all of this not so subliminal messaging.
Checkout and Shuttle to the Airport
As I said before the hotel didn’t give us a late check out claiming that their rooms were all full for Saturday night. While 4 PM checkout has been pretty easy to get with Marriott, Hilton hasn’t been so kind from what I can tell with these late check out policies. Given that they let me check in at 10 AM, I wasn’t the one to complain about sitting on the rooftop lounge for an hour or two watching planes again.
Anyway the oddest part about check out was that the front desk couldn’t guarantee whether the hotel shuttle would roll around to pick up guests every hour. The receptionist said it could be anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes before the next pick up. This made our run to the gate a bit too close for comfort in my mind. Warning: depart 30 minutes before the time you think you should depart. The front desk often has no clue when the shuttle left the previous time.
The H Hotel has some of the finest views of LAX and the surrounding vicinity. If you are looking to spice up your stay at an airport hotel with some views this is your hotel. The rooms are fairly nice and the gym is well equipped so you can’t go wrong with staying here. Another positive is Midway Car Rental being right next door, in case you are looking for a quick outing in LA. As a person redeeming a free night, it was a no brainer for me. With that being said, it’s not exactly the cheapest option near the airport with nights averaging over $200/night so maybe staying at Homewood Suites or Hyatt Regency may end up being the more economical option.
As for safety, COVID protocols weren’t really much of an issue throughout my stay because the place was empty. For the record, everyone in the hotel staff was wearing a mask, which was nice to see.
What’s your favorite LAX Airport Hotel?