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Magic Castle Hotel
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Reviewed March 1, 2012

Frankly, this is the very first time I have been disappointed in something so highly rated by TripAdvisor. Just quickly:

We booked for one night because of a meeting on Wednesday evening in LA, less than two miles from the hotel. We drove in six+ hours, and while it wasn't the easiest to find it was found quickly. I'll start with the positives because they started right away!

First off, the staff - wow. They are enthusiastic, helpful, friendly - heck, it's like the Boy Scout motto is part of their training! They offered a glass of sparkling lemonade while I was checking in and while I declined, they took it out to the car to give to my wife. They then directed me to the gated, underground (i.e. under the building) parking, which while not free was certainly both reasonable and unbelievably magnificent in Los Angeles. (Small note - the ceiling is not terribly high, therefore the pipes below the floor are fairly low, resulting in hatchback contact. Worth watching out for.)

Due to our meeting time, we could only just put our stuff in the room, wash our faces, and head out. It was at this point we noticed the very nice facial soap with an orange citrus scent. We also noticed that due to the design of the entryway, the door to the room does not open completely. There is some sort of weird panel near the floor behind where the door tries to open. There's a very antique wall heater of some kind just inside the door. There is a slightly musty smell. And when washing our faces, we saw the cracked basin in the sink, but with no time to talk to anyone about it we headed out.

We got back around 11:30pm, exhausted, and got undressed and into bed. On taking off my shoes and walking through the room, I found an area where it feels like there are cracks or holes, where the carpet sinks in, between the bedroom and the bathroom. On laying down in the bed, I realized the mattress is ... firm, to be kind. It's on a platform. We also took the time to read the small sign on the bed informing us that if we wanted a top sheet between ourselves and our duvet, we needed to have request it. Exhausted, I put my head down. At this point, I noticed the vinyl shutters in the room do not quite completely close. As our room was on the ground floor facing the street, I had to improvise some receipts stuffed underneath to keep them closed.

About the street - there is a window-style air conditioner built into the wall facing the street, which I could see to outside through (a small hole, granted, but it is still there). But that was nothing compared to the continuous and rather loud traffic. All ... night ... long! The windows looked to be single-pane and (upon further investigation of the inside of the shutters in the light of day) hardly sealed.

In the daylight, I found a few other interesting items. First, the shower - nice, serviceable, old, loads of hot water, and as is typical of someone my height (six foot one) excellent at cleaning my chest hairs. No matter, a great percentage of places are like this for me. But I also saw on the wall between the shower and the bathroom door, which is quite beat up by the way, some sort of yellowish runny stains on it with an exceptionally disturbing (in this day and age) red one on the (also very beat up) floorboard. Now the fact that the door opens physically ON to the toilet may be simply because of the age of the building and the plumbing design, but the oddly placed pedestal on the sink is quite modern.

There are two light switches in the bathroom, one for the light and fan and the other for ... well, I couldn't tell what it did. there is a heating element as well on the ceiling, which looks to be from a mid-50's electric stove top, but it never did a thing. And I feel fairly certain the fan was the prop from the airplane in the movie Casablanca, judging by both its age and surprising level of noise.

Throughout the room, the painting job is slapdash. The floorboards are really beat up. The clothes rod in the closet is scary looking, either badly painted and worn or honestly I don't know.

I'm surprised at how much I found, considering we had just enough time for me to grab some of the (very good and very plentiful) included continental breakfast and take it back to the room before we had to leave. Again, a truly friendly staff, I cannot say enough about them, but I just did not have the time to discuss it with them. I do honestly believe they would have done whatever they could to improve the situation, but this type of trip prevented me from being able to discuss it with them and frankly considering the reports everyone else seems to have made I was caught off guard by all of this stuff. I know things go wrong, but I don't expect a place rated as highly as this to require me to address this many shortcomings.

Had I noticed two other items when we arrived we would have been late to our meeting, as they passed beyond unpleasant to dangerous: the first was some sort of power cable coming from the bottom of one of the outlets, down into the carpet. I do not know where it went or what it was for but I cannot believe that type of rigging would pass code. The second was the fact that the smoke alarm had no battery and appeared to be inoperative (no light). I know that wouldn't pass code.

In conclusion, this is a very pretty, funky, cool place with excellent on-site underground parking, a heated outdoor pool, a staff that would make any Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons or wherever proud, in a really great location in Hollywood, but with what I found in my room I just can't come to grips with the fact this hotel is (as of 1 March 2012) the #2 rated hotel in Los Angeles on TripAdvisor. My experience really doesn't seem to match others'.

Please see my photos to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about in this review.

Room Tip: If you can, choose a room that doesn't face the street, the traffic is nonstop.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled on business
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9  Thank TravelingCook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelManager, General Manager at Magic Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough review of your experience.
First off, I’m truly glad that you enjoyed the service from our staff. Yes, you are correct…had you brought any of this to our attention we most certainly would have fixed the problems beyond your satisfaction. It was a short stay and I completely understand not taking the time to let us know. Quite frankly, you shouldn’t have had to..the room should have been in better condition before we rented it out that night. You were in a “Single” room, of which we only have seven. No question, they are small rooms and better for short stays.…in addition, the particular room you had is one of the smaller “singles” at the hotel.

The fact that our housekeeper missed that spot on the base board is unacceptable, and that drip above the base board is sprayed on cleaner that wasn’t wiped off properly.

The smoke detector you took a picture of is inactive and we have another one on the wall right next to it that is hard wired in to the building. Fire safety if extremely important to us and we have strict programs in place to test our equipment…beyond what is required by law.

Our Duvets are Goose down and are substantial in weight. The cotton slip cover on the duvet is washed for every guest. Many hotels in warm environments do not have a top sheet, as many guests like to have only the duvet. Because not all guests prefer this, we’re happy to provide a top sheet. If you were to come back, this being your preference…your bed would be made for you with the top sheet based on your preference from your previous stay.

We will take a look at the slight dip in the floor as you enter the restroom, thank you for noticing this.

Again, thank you very much for your comments…I really do appreciate them.

Sincerely,
Darren Ross
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 28, 2012

Huge accomodations. Best night's sleep after wandering all over Hollywood. No need for a vehicle.Super clean. Super beautiful. Big thanks to our front desk man, Nick, who could not do enough for us!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank dollybuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 28, 2012

We loved Magic Castle Hotel and their staff. We arrived a little after 9a to see about dropping off our bags, and they were super. They gave us our garage card (parking is under the hotel) and offered us to the breakfast. They were able to hold our bags and said they'd call when our room was ready. They had maps and reccomendations and spent the time with us to make sure we were comfortable. When we were able to check in at around 1p, our bags were already in our room and we were offered a glass of a sparkling citrus drink. Take advantage of their extensive snack and dvd list as well. The room was a good size and very quiet. The staff really went out of their way to make our stay amazing and it really was.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Off2Vaca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 27, 2012

If Trip Advisor allowed 6 stars, I'd use them. In spite of the quite dated installations, the outstanding service really makes this one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in!

My family and I (5 people total) stayed there for three days during our trip to California. We stayed at a double bedroom apartment, which is really large, more than enough to accommodate 5, even 6 adults. It has its own kitchen, with microwave, coffee maker (complimentary coffee and tea) and full sized oven and refrigerator. The beds were very, very comfortable, just what we needed after a long touring LA.

One point that needs to be made is that if you're looking for modern, high tech installations, you should look elsewhere (although they did have an ipod dock and flat screen TV).

It's the little touches that really make this hotel, such as being greeted, upon arrival, with sparkling lemonade, then finding a big bag of cheddar popcorn and a large bottle of blueberry juice in our room (both delicious by the way). Or the free danish cookies, apple cider and cucumber water at the lobby. Or the huge list of free snacks, beverages and DVDs. Everything about the hotel shows that the staff goes many extra miles to guarantee that the guests leave the hotel with huge smiles on their faces (which we did).

All in all, I highly recommend this hotel and wish I could have the opportunity to stay there again in the future.

Room Tip: If you're concerned with privacy, you should book a room at the upper floor, which has a private balcony. On the lower floors, people walk right outside your window.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank TravellingLucas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 26, 2012

We booked a 2 bedroom apartment for 2 nights in January. The apartment was very large and also very dated - which we were expecting after reading previous reviews. We were in the building next door to the main complex and not around the pool which looked much nicer. We were also at the front of the building so it was a little noisy.
The location is excellent very close to many attractions and to public transport. There is a fantastic farmers market on Sundays walking distance from the hotel.
Staff were helpful, breakfasts were good. Good option for families.

Room Tip: Ask for a room around the pool.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank Maccyoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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