During a recent trip to Malibu I was lucky enough to stay at the newly renovated Malibu Beach Inn hotel located in the heart of Malibu California. The hotel recently reopened after a $10 million dollar renovation and has been attracting quite a lot of attention. Recently, Conde Naste Traveler added the newly reopened Malibu Beach Inn to their 2017 Hot List. After staying at the property for a long weekend it’s easy to see how and why this hotel made the list. There are still a few areas where the hotel could improve, but overall the Malibu Beach Inn hotel is an excellent place to stay if visiting Malibu California.
The Leading Hotels Of The World
While everyone is familiar with Marriott, SPG, Hilton, and Hyatt the Malibu Beach Inn does not belong to either. The Malibu Beach Inn is a member of The Leading Hotels Of The World. LHW is a collection of nearly 400 premium hotels and resorts around the world. Unlike other superchain hotel groups, membership is not free. LHW members must pay a membership fee to join the Leaders Club. A standard membership costs just $150 each year while an Unlimited membership costs $1,200 annually.
Standard Leader Club members receives a few benefits while staying at the Malibu Beach Inn and other LHW hotels. Members have access to member only room rates, free in-room wifi, and free continental breakfast for two daily among other benefits. We found the last benefit as the most valuable during our stay, but more on that later.
Arriving At The Malibu Beach Inn
The property is located near the eastern edge of Malibu very near the Malibu Pier. Located approximately 23 miles from Los Angeles International airport an Uber from the airport to the property took roughly an hour and a half. Transit costs vary significantly based on demand, but you’re almost always better off taking a ride sharing service (Uber/Lyft) over a regular taxi. Taxi rates from LAX to the Malibu Beach Inn cost upwards of $120.
If you approach the property from the east you’ll have to make a left turn into the drive which requires cutting across two lanes of the Pacific Coast Highway. Although entering the property isn’t easy, it’s well worth it in the end. The hotel’s reception is in a separate building across from the hotel’s entrance.
Check-in took just a few moments. Having never been to the property the receptionist explained the property and surrounding location. While learning about the hotel guest can enjoy complimentary cookies which the hotel bakes fresh daily. Don’t worry about indulging in the cookies because the hotel also has a list of daily hikes or other outdoor activities to burn off the extra calories. When checking in ask for a list of the areas hikes. The list explains each hike and rates the difficulty of each.
Malibu Beach Inn Guest Rooms
One of the major selling points of the Malibu Beach Inn property is that each room features ocean views. As you leave reception and walk toward the guest room hallway you get a brief glimpse of what’s to come.
The hotel assigned us to a room on the 3rd floor which requires you to take a set of stairs located just behind the lobby restaurant hostess stand or an elevator located to the right just prior to reaching the hostess. Once upstairs guests walk down an open air walkway which features stunning views of the Malibu hills as you walk to each guest room.
As we entered our room we were once again greeted by excellent views of the Pacific Ocean. Also waiting for us was a complimentary bottle of wine and a handwritten note from the hotel staff.
As you can see in the background of the above picture, nearly the entire exterior facing wall of the room is a window overlooking the ocean. The sliding glass doors lead to a spacious balcony.
The balcony offered a beautiful oasis to sit out and have a morning coffee or evening glass of wine (or reversed, whatever, I don’t judge). The bed, located across the room from the balcony, faces the glass doors. It’s a unique experience to lay in bed and watch the ocean in the mornings which adds to the entire experience of this property.
The hotel room also features a fireplace and a sleeper sofa which faces the fireplace.
Upon request the hotel staff completes a full turn-down service. With the turn-down service the hotel places a memory foam mattress on top of the sofa’s standard mattress.
Malibu Beach Inn Guest Room Bathroom
Just behind the bed and down the entry hall to the room is the guest room’s bathroom. The bathroom is fairly small, but offers all of the amenities you’d expect from a premium hotel.
Located on the sick were two closed containers. The black container held various cleansing items such as cotton balls and q-tips while the orange box held some rather interesting items.
The orange container (which added a great burst of color to the room) held lip balm, make up remover, etc. but also held two packets of energy drink powder. Apparently the orange packet contained some sort of energy drink powder.
The shower was quite large compared to the rest of the bathroom and offered an excellent flow of water, but there were a few issues with the shower. For starters the flat tiled floor of the shower lead to a lot of sand building up near the drain. Also it took quite a while for the temperature of the shower to warm up. Not an unnecessarily long time, but long enough to make you think of all the water you were wasting while it warmed up. After all, we were in California.
Each guest room also came with two bathrobes embroidered with the hotel name and logo.
Malibu Beach Inn Amenities
Located in the heart of the hotel is a full restaurant and bar. The bar area itself is fairly limited, but the surrounding indoor restaurant and lounge makes up for the lack of bar real estate.
The hotel’s restaurant features a glass railed outdoor terrace which offers phenomenal views of Malibu and the famous Malibu Pier.
The Malibu Beach Inn restaurant serves breakfast on the terrace each morning, snacks in the afternoon, and a full service dinner each evening. It’s truly a lovely place to dine if staying at the property. It’s been reported that you can see dolphins jumping in the morning while eating on the terrace.
The hotel does not feature an on-site gym, but guests have complimentary access to the Malibu Health Club across the street. By street I of course mean the Pacific Coast Highway. You can either play a great game of life or death frogger to get to the gym or walk a few blocks west to access a cross walk. The Malibu Health Club is plenty nice and has all of the standard workout equipment you’d expect from a gym. The health club felt a little dated on the inside, but it’s far better than the hotel not offering a gym at all.
Mini-bars are located in each room although prices are quite high, even for an in-room mini bar. Inside the mini-bar are the typical, expected, offerings while half-bottles of wine are sitting in a small wine rack next to the fridge.
On the desk above the mini bar was a small tray of snacks and goodies. Again, prices for some items were extreme while others (like the branded Swell bottle) were quite reasonable.
Additionally, the hotel restaurant offers in-room dining, but we chose to dine on the terrace instead.
Malibu Beach Inn Service
I want to start out by saying that I loved my stay at the Malibu Beach Inn. I’d definitely recommend staying at this property if you’re looking for an ocean front hotel in Malibu. That being said, considering the average nightly room rate of this property, the overall service was poor to average.
Leader Club members receive complimentary continental breakfast for two each morning. The breakfast menu was fantastic and we loved dining on the terrace, but the restaurant service was painfully slow. Waiters were slow to refill water glasses, slow to refill coffee, and slow to take breakfast orders. Considering we were on vacation and wanted to get a jump-start on each day we found this frustrating at times.
Hotel housekeeping wasn’t much better. After the initial turn down service the sleeper sofa never returned to the couch configuration. It’s typically standard practice to store the bed in the day time and offer a nightly setup for sleeper sofas. Although this lack of service wasn’t a huge deal, it did make the room feel even smaller than it was during our stay. Additionally, throughout our stay the hotel staff did not replace certain mini bar items. This was nice because we avoided added incidental costs, but frustrating for obvious reasons.
Lastly, housekeeping kept placing items of clothing back into our suitcases during our stay. I know this sounds like a great idea, but we had three family members (2 men, 1 woman) staying in the room. It was odd when my sister found my socks stuffed into her suitcase when we came back to the room each day. It also made it fun to sort out my brother’s and my clothes before departing.
As I mentioned earlier, I loved my stay at the Malibu Beach Hotel. The private beachfront access offered during the day was amazing. The hotel staff setup beach chairs and umbrellas upon request and even had a bags (corn-hole) set to play with during our stay. Additionally, sleeping with the door open and falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing just feet below you makes for an amazing stay.
That being said, the above issues with the hotel staff were frustrating. It’s not so much the actions of the staff that are frustrating, but rather knowing in your mind the price your paying. When paying such a high nightly room rate you expect the absolute best and that wasn’t the case during our stay. Also not all aspects of the hotel’s service were poor. The front desk and concierge staff were excellent as were the bartending staff. It simply seems the hotel is experiencing a few hiccups during its first few months since re-opening. I’d expect the level of service to improve with time.
Note: All in all I wouldn’t let the slightly poor service deter you from staying at this property. These were overall extremely minor inconveniences which simply are worth noting for the purposes of this review. I hesitated to mention them because I realize how petty and elementary they are, but felt I’d be doing the reader (you) a disservice by not including that aspect of the property in this review.