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Cal Mar Hotel Suites
Ranked #29 of 36 Hotels in Santa Monica
Reviewed 2 April 2012

We have completed our trip having had a wonderful time in Santa Monica.

We stayed at the Cal Mar Hotel located at 220 California Street, which is on the corner of 3rd and California Street. Although our room wasn’t ready upon our arrival ‘Holly’ was nice enough to inform us about the surroundings, and offered us a seat in their lovely pool area while waiting.

There are three carport areas surrounding this hotel which are open, you are free to choose which stall you wish and have… unlimited in/out privileges. We have a Tahoe and although it looks like clearance is low, we fit under with no problem. In the three days we spent there we never had an issue finding a spot to park. Parking was 13.82 per night plus tax 1.38 bringing daily parking to 15.20. Quite a bit more affordable than the 32. - 36. a day valet parking with limited in/out privileges we saw at other local hotels. This was a consideration for us since we were paying for two cars… bringing parking total alone just under 100. for the three days.

The area is residential, a bit away from the crowds. Quiet and safe.

As always I did extensive research before we left. Cal Mar is a refurbished apartment building offering a lot more space than conventional hotel rooms. A full kitchen completely supplied with silverware/dishes/pots and pans/etc. A dinning room table area and full living room with sleeper sofa. Two TVs. A separated bedroom with door, and a detached bathroom. We were given a choice of top or bottom floor, but recalling other posters comments of thin walls we chose top floor room 311. Top floor has carpeting. Bottom floor has hardwood floors. We were not disturbed by noise, and could never hear other patrons conversations unless they were walking by kitchen’s open window. The room is dated, carpet older, and if you look hard enough you will find wear-n-tear, so if you are accustomed to ‘high end’ comforts only… you might consider another place. BUT all things considered… it is clean and comfortable having everything you need in place, with location being their greatest plus.

Room rate was 249. plus 34.86 tax per night… totaling 283.86 each for a Friday night and a Saturday night, and 219. plus 30.66 tax... totaling 249.66 for a Sunday night. *This does not include parking charges. A hefty final total of 908.58 for a three day weekend March 23, 24, 25 including the parking of two vehicles for those three days.

Although we brought some supplies with us we did venture out to the well advertised Whole Foods store located two blocks away to buy perishables. Going down Third Street toward Promenade one block, and up one block on Wilshire Blvd. it was within easy walking distance. Be prepared… two small bags of breakfast and lunch items totaled 80.

Seeing OVO Cirque du Soleil show located at Santa Monica Pier was the highlight of our visit, which we all enjoyed very much. Seating was excellent… 659. for four. Parking was a nightmare! We left at 3pm for 4pm show thinking it was just down the street, not a problem. HA! Traffic and walking people jams everywhere. All parking areas were full but one, which took your vehicle to another spot leaving you with a little piece of paper and directions to go to ‘pink building’ across the street to retrieve your vehicle. A word to the wise LEAVE EARLY to avoid this as your only choice to park! These people were ‘very rude’ and young guys were seen racing around enclosed parking garage with other people’s fancy cars. One family was disputing damage to their auto as we were leaving. Parking cost: 24. for a few hours.

Ate a nice dinner at Marisol’s at end of Santa Monica Pier after OVO show. Good Mexican food with Mariachi band going from table to table singing requests. Place was packed! Service was good. Fancy drinks were great. Cost: Just under 100. for four adults.

Also, all took Ferris Wheel ride to finish off our evening.

There is an older man who paints with oils using only his fingernail, located around the pier. He wishes to remain unnamed for whatever reason. His work is ‘phenomenally beautiful’ and he will paint anything you request. He lets you set the price.

SMOKING
Cal Mar Hotel allows smoking around pool patio area, and they have chairs with a little table outside each room with an ashtray for smokers. Additionally our room 311 was a smoking room and smoking was allowed inside. For a considerate smoker - smoking wasn’t an issue at all in Santa Monica, and we did see people smoking while walking down the streets. Other hotels which allow smoking:
Holiday Inn (designated areas)
Doubletree (designated areas)

We have traveled the US extensively, as well as the world to such places as England and India, but the level of homeless people in Santa Monica was quite disturbing to our daughter… she believes this issue should take precedence in being addressed over any other public issues Santa Monica may view as important.

Husband thought bed was hard and uncomfortable. Daughter and fiancé thought sleeper sofa was uncomfortable.

All in all... had a wonderful time!

Room Tip: 311 if you are a smoker
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank baylover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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204 - 210 of 445 reviews

Reviewed 1 April 2012

The Location is perfect the rooms are large and very clean. It felt like home. The Parking price is very high 15.00 a day seems alot for what you pay for the room and 9.95 for wifi daily .it would be nice if one was included with the room.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Robin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2012

The Cal Mar is motel-esque with some unique characteristics that make it more enjoyable than a typical motel. The location is perfect for seeing Santa Monica, Venice Beach, etc. You can walk from Cal Mar to the Promenade, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping; we loved the convenience. The courtyard area with heated pool is really enchanting, and beautiful at night. However, I gave it only three stars for the noise and the interiors. The walls are really thin, and all the rooms face the courtyard, which means if anyone is in the pool area you can hear them. Also, we managed to find ourselves directly above the garbage pick up EVERY morning. Thin walls are inevitable with an older place, but I would recommend earplugs or a white noise machine if you plan on sleeping in at all, or in case of noisy neighbors. The furnishings and interiors were clean, but decidedly aged/dated.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay, and would go back, but only with our white noise machine!

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank KG310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2012

We rented a suite with two beds in the bedroom for our kids and a fold out sofabed in the living room for my wife and I. The suite was large (approx 600 square feet) with lots of storage space in the hall and bedroom. As others have noted, the suite was retro: with a cute country kitchen (window overlooking courtyard); pink tile with grey fixtures in the bathroom; and older furniture throughout (including tube tv). Unfortunately, we could not sleep on the ancient sofa bed that offered no support. We ultimately pulled the mattress off the springs, closed up the sofa and put the mattress on the floor. While the hotel may have offered to let us drag our stuff to a new room if we complained, that is not easy to do with a family of four and lots of luggage. There are other sleep issues: the blinds in the living room do not block out the lights from the courtyard (pretty, but why are they on all night) and the walls are thin - the tv in the next room must have been directly next to the head of our sofabed. This is an urban residential neighbourhood so there is some traffic noise from loud car stereos, etc (the windows do not help: the kids thought their bedroom window was open).
I would describe the service here as "hands off." We arrived directly from the airport at approximately 9pm. It was a considerable job to drag our luggage up various stairways to our room on the 2nd floor (no elevator or trolleys). The desk clerk did not offer any assistance or sympathy. Similarly, on a rainy day, I asked the clerk if they had an umbrella that we could borrow for an hour to walk over to the promenade. He replied that he had one - for himself. This is a hotel where you are basically on your own. If you have mobility issues or need a bit more service, you will not be happy here. On the other hand, there were some nice touches: on the day of the farmer's market, we came back to find a flower arrangement in a vase by our door. Our room was clean and the staff did a great job of freshening it up over our stay.
We loved the location - it was great to feel part of a Santa Monica neighbourhood and close to everything. However, we would not go back to this hotel. It is quite expensive for what you get. Including $15.20 per night for parking (and a room that was priced higher on Thursday and Friday nights) we paid almost $1000 for a 4 night stay in March (wifi not included). We paid the same for 7 nights in a condo in Palm Springs. I appreciate that Santa Monica is an expensive area but I do not think that this hotel is a good value.

Room Tip: If you have mobility problems think twice about this property or ask for a lower floor room. You wil...
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank NorthVanDMo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2012

The Cal Mar is a great find. The location is perfect as it's a short walk to the beach, the Promenade, Whole Foods and only one block from a Starline Tours 'hop on hop off' bus stop at Wilshire and 3rd. The area is residential so it's quiet even so close to the action. We could see the ocean from our outside balcony on California Ave.

The size of the unit allowed us (my teenage daughter and I) to spread out. The fully functioning kitchen (and closeness of Whole Foods) allowed us to eat breakfast in and even one night have a friend over for dinner. We loved the pool and swam one afternoon. Yes, the walls are a little thin but not so much as to disturb our visit. The bathroom was very cute with its bright blue fixtures and pink tiles (it could have used a shelf for toiletries) but I can see how that wouldn't appeal to everyone. Housekeeping was great and the unit was always clean.

We love the Santa Monica area and Cal Mar will definitely be our place to stay. We've already recommended it to friends.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank klashToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this reviewResponded 21 March 2012

klashToronto Toronto, Canada - super comments regarding your recent visit to our property. We are delighted that we exceeded your expectations and that you enjoyed your stay at the Cal Mar. We appreciate your highlighting all of the wonderful amenities that that our property has to offer. Thank you, too, for recommending the Cal Mar to your friends. We look forward to seeing you in the future and making us your home away from home. Have an amazing day!

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Reviewed 16 March 2012

My husband and I returned to the Calmar for our third visit -- approximately 20 years after our first -- and enjoyed it just as much as our first stay. (It has been upgraded since then!) The suites are very comfortable and clean. It's very nice to be able to spread out. The staff is extremely helpful, and the location, walking distance to everything, is great. In the past, we've stayed on the second floor. This time we were on the first and could hear people above us (walking around, not voices). In the future, we'd request the second floor to avoid that. However, this is a wonderful place to stay in Santa Monica.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank siva2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this reviewResponded 20 March 2012

Hello Sivia2Boston, thank you for relating your experience on your most recent stay. We are delighted that you continue to return to the Cal Mar and appreciate so very much your great comments. As you mentioned; we have an awesome staff, great location and our rooms are very large and comfortable for the traveler. Thank you again and we hope you will continue to return to our property when you are in Santa Monica. Have an amazing day!

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Reviewed 13 March 2012

I am so of two minds about the Cal Mar. I really like properties like this one; it is a converted 60s-era apartment building with older but clean furniture. Plenty of space to spread out, a full kitchen, separate bedroom, small but clean bathroom with no shampoo but good water pressure, and great location. And unlike so many pools that are advertised as heated, this one really is and is very pretty, obviously recently renovated, making for a delightful swim even during a chilly night. The only thing I feel I must mention is that in the previous reviews, the owners have written reassuring responses about their ongoing soundproofing, but our room had none. The street noise was not a problem at all; the Cal Mar is on a quiet street and we live in an urban apartment so we are quite accustomed to the occasional partygoer and traffic sounds. The problem was the paper-thin walls! We were on the second floor and could hear every word the people on either side of us said. A disconcerting intimacy not conducive to relaxation! We had to choose our bedtime according to that of our neighbors—no use trying to sleep when a discussion was happening seemingly inches from our heads. The people were not loud by any means, it was just that sound carried so effectively. The fourth night, two well behaved small children occupied one room. Very good parents; I know because I could hear their parenting happening all evening. It could be that some of the rooms have been sound insulated and some have not, so it is worth asking about that if you like a tranquil stay.

Room Tip: When you book, ask about a quieter room?
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Marisol2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this reviewResponded 14 March 2012

Greetings fMarisol12 from the Cal Mar Hotel, we appreciate so very much your awesome comments relative to our property, the spaciousness of our suites and are wonderful garden area situated around our lovely pool which was just upgraded a few years ago. We apologize about the problems you encountered with our “thin walls”. We are still renovating many of our suites and adding insulation in each room to cut down on the “noise factor” in some of our rooms. We are always straightforward in acknowledging the issues you mentioned and whenever possible, we move our guests to another quieter room. Again, we apologize for any inconsistencies that you dealt with and hope you will return so you are able to view the progress we have made in our renovation process. Have an great day!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cal Mar Hotel Suites

Address: 220 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403-3606
Region: United States > California > Santa Monica > Santa Monica
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#19 Business Hotel in Santa Monica
Price Range: $277 - $377 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Cal Mar Hotel Suites 3*
Number of rooms: 36
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Also Known As:
Cal Mar Hotel Santa Monica
Cal Mar Santa Monica

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