I used to live near Santa Cruz so I knew I didn't want to stay on Ocean Street or near the Boardwalk. Most of the motels are old or run down, and I don't like the neighborhood near the Boardwalk. I found a nice, small motel on Mission Street on the western edge of town, and only a couple miles from the Boardwalk and also UC Santa Cruz. It's a small motel, only about 30 rooms. It isn't fancy, but has all the basics. It was very clean, looked fairly new, and there were no bad smells at all. The bed was not super comfortable, but about average. They had a continental breakfast which only consisted of oranges, muffins or prepackaged danishes, along with coffee. Not much, but it was ok for me.
I called a couple days ahead to make a reservation and was quoted the lowest available price as $109. Since I was going alone, that was a bit steep for me. I decided just to go and show up...when I went to the front desk, she said it would only be $89 (this was midweek). They also have larger suites for about $20-$30 more, which would be nice for a couple.
There is a 7-Eleven and pizza across the street, and more stores/food along Mission Street (including "Yogurt Delite" the best frozen yogurt I've ever had!). It's a good location, though very busy, and I could hear some traffic from my room. To get to the Boardwalk, don't go back into town, but just across from the motel is Swift Street. Take Swift all the way to the ocean (1 mile), and then go left on West Cliff Drive, and it's only 1-2 miles to the Boardwalk from there. Better yet, walk or ride your bike. West Cliff Drive is one of the most beautiful walks you'll ever take!! This is definitely one of the nicer motels in all of Santa Cruz, for a reasonable price. If you are fine with no frills, this one's for you.
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