As soon as my taxi driver drops me at the lobby of the SpringHill Suites Manhattan Beach, I immediately wish I were staying more than one night. For one, the newly reimagined lobby is stunning–it’s fresh, modern decor, birch-colored hardwood floors, white-washed walls and furniture, sea form backsplash with bubbles along the reception counter, chandelier of cascading white balls, and local paintings strategically placed as focus pieces, are not what I expected to see. Secondly, the ocean air as it blows inside is crisp, fresh, and clean–a welcomed change from the hot, dry Arizona heat we’d been battling back home. Having read up on Marriott’s new campaign Art is Everywhere, I knew the line had recently upgraded to an airy, clean design, but I hadn’t expected both the reception and the air itself to be so utterly mesmerizing in its airiness. I go up to the counter, introduce myself to the receptionist, and get a map of all the local bars, restaurants, beaches, and tourist spots between here and the Manhattan Pier, which is only a two-mile ride from the hotel.
I’m in town for the launch of SpringHill Suites’ Art is Everywhere initiative, a social media and community-based campaign aimed at helping local artists connect with their clients, community service programs, schools, and local fundraisers. For the past five years, SpringHill Suites has made a commitment to bring art into their hotels and communities through programs like ArtNight, an annual gallery-like event which provides local artists the opportunity to showcase their work on the hotels’ walls and lobbies, Art on the Road, a social media campaign that tracked local art through ten cities across the United States, and Save Art!, a partnership with Fresh Artists, a national non-profit, to bring art supplies and art programs to under-resourced schools throughout North America. These programs have been not only innovative but incredibly successful: last year, for instance, the Save Art! program raised over $50,000 in funds and used the money to assemble and deliver art kits for schools and students.
I’m also here to spend the night and enjoy the Marriott’s new spin on stylish. For a writer who often finds herself more awkward in most situations than stylish, I’m feeling a little outside my element, but I make a promise to myself to stroll the premises and act like I own the place. If I can review everything from five-star resorts in Asia to log cabins in Texas, I can definitely do this.
My initial impression is simply, well, impressed, partly because this hotel feels nothing like other Marriotts I’ve stayed in and it’s the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to stay in one of the SpringHill Suites. When I get to my room, I pop my keycard into the lock, drag my luggage into the living area, and stop to take a look at the careful details and decisions that have gone into promoting the Suites as a hipper, sleeker alternative to other Marriott brands.
The colors, of course, are pastel and inviting–not like the pastels I remember at my grandma’s and her friends’ houses but pastels done deliberately, like a mix between a stylish redux of 18th century Europe and 21st century South Florida. The room feels decidedly oceanic and northern European–a mix of Ikea-inspired sparseness and a warm, pastel glow. The color scheme, which pulls together everything from the paintings on the wall to the couches to the bed, curtains, and headboard, is baby blue, seafoam green, lime green, and orange. The furniture is espresso-colored and angular, another testament to the openness the Marriott is working to create, and the bathroom features a glass shower and multi-speed showerhead. I know this because I take a shower almost immediately–you can always tell what a hotel is going to be like by its showerhead. This one, in case you’re wondering, most definitely passes the test.
The next morning, I get dressed early and go downstairs to have breakfast and wait for the rest of the Art is Everywhere group. The complimentary breakfast is actually really substantial: surveying the bar, I see fresh eggs with locally made salsa, hot sausage, oatmeal complete with a toppings bar, waffle maker, pastries, croissants, fruits, and coffee, and I realize I am going to overeat. And, no doubt, I do; in the spirit of the weekend, there is definitely art in this locally made salsa and in my coffee cup.
After the Art is Everywhere downtown tour and kick-off that afternoon, I have a few hours to spare before I need to hail a cab back to LAX, so I decide to head down to the Manhattan Pier. Though I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time in my suite, SpringHill Suites has done a spectacular job of making their hotel feel as breezy, welcoming, and fresh as the beach it’s so close to, and for any business or pleasure traveler who needs to be close to an airport but also wants to be close to the glorious Pacific Ocean and spend less than $200/night, I can’t recommend this place highly enough.
As I walk along the beach, eating my Manhattan Beach ice cream cone, it occurs to me that I’m head over heels for these pastels, too.
SpringHill Suites Marriott Manhattan Beach
14620 Aviation Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250
Prices start at $159/night.
Article and all photographs except for featured image by Kristin Winet.
A special thanks to Ogilvy & Mather and the SpringHill Marriott Suites Manhattan Beach for hosting my stay.