Long Beach is part modern metropolis and part seaport with a touch of casual beach town thrown in for local flavor. Million-dollar yachts share dock space with cabin cruisers getting ready for the next day’s fishing. Long Beach is home to the Aquarium of the Pacific, The Pike amusement and shopping center and the final resting place of the grande dame of the seas, the Queen Mary. Most hotels are at least a block or two inland, but there are a few along the shore offering some amazing ocean views.
The Queen Mary
Relive the days of trans-Atlantic ocean-liner travel by spending the night on board the Queen Mary. Launched in 1936 and hailed as one of the most luxurious ships that ever sailed, the Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach Harbor. The ship has been welcoming hotel guests since 1972. The 305 staterooms and nine suites have been converted into one-of-a-kind hotel rooms. Each combines period furnishings with modern touches such as flat-screen TVs and iPod clock radios. Suites offer separate sitting rooms and some even have a breakfast nook. Just as on any ship, there are inside and outside staterooms. Inside staterooms have no windows because they are in the interior of the ship. The best views are from the outside staterooms on the upper decks. Enjoy cocktails in the Art Deco Observation Bar, once the site of the first-class passenger lounge. The original artwork and decor has been refurbished, giving you a taste of 1930s elegance. Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge, the Chelsea Chowder House and the Starboard Lounge are also on board. Take the guided Ghosts & Legends Tour or the Self-Guided Audio Tour aboard the ship. As for that ocean view, if you don’t have one from your stateroom, go out on deck and you’ll have a panoramic view of the harbor, Pacific and downtown skyline.
Beach Plaza Hotel
The Beach Plaza Hotel is laid back, low keyed and puts you within steps of the undeveloped part of the Long Beach coastline. Only two stories tall, the property offers oceanfront suites and rooms with partial ocean views. Some of the suites offer full kitchens and/or in-room jetted tubs. Take a dip in the heated pool, relax in the hot tub or walk a few feet to the beach and cool off in the ocean. Continental breakfast, wireless Internet access, use of a fitness center and parking is included in the room rates. Bixby Park is right next door and Rainbow Lagoon Park, across from the Queen Mary, is just over a mile away. (ref 3,also used amenities)
Hyatt Regency Long Beach
Walk into the marble-floored lobby of the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and face a wall of windows overlooking the marina, harbor, lagoon and the Queen Mary Hotel. Most of the property’s 528 rooms and suites offer at least a partial water view. The Harbor View king rooms offer a panoramic view from windows along a curved outer wall. Regency Club rooms offer additional perks, such as a private guest lounge offering continental breakfast and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a club-level concierge. An outdoor heated pool, large enough to do some serious laps, hot tub, sundeck and fitness center are all on site. Hotel restaurants include the Tides, offering outdoor dining; Perks Coffee Pantry; and the Lobby Bar. Do some serious shopping at The Pike, a mall/amusement park that runs from the Convention Center to the aquarium. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or the vintage carousel.
AVIA Long Beach Hotel
The slate-gray wooden rocking chair next to a short, three-legged table is a quirky contrast to the marble floors and contemporary styling of the AVIA Long Beach Hotel’s open and airy lobby. Recessed alcoves house oversize photographs and potted plants. The sleek sophistication continues into the guest rooms and suites, along with that bit of quirkiness. The bathrooms offer an innovative marble cave shower, deep enough to not need a door and plenty large enough for two. The best ocean and/or harbor views are in the Harbor view grand king guest rooms and the master suites. Both have a separate sitting area with a special flat-panel TV that swivels to face whatever side of the room you are in. The rooftop pool terrace is surrounded by glass, offering views of the harbor, The Pike, the Queen Mary Hotel and beyond. Enjoy a glass of wine along with fresh cheeses, steamed mussels and fish tacos at the AVIA Lounge.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images