My unforgettable journey to Ritz Milner, Los Angeles

A lovely, relaxed hotel on the beach, the Ritz Milner Hotel, Los Angeles is popular for weddings and 20-somethings who want to hop a cab to South Beach but not stay there. The 243-room of is calmer, cleaner, and seemingly newer than almost anyplace you’ll find in South Beach. From tropical fans to gazebos, the grounds are filled with colonial-style touches. Yet unlike many properties in Mid-Beach, it manages to have a scene of its own at least during the day. Service at the Hotel Ritz Milner is just as solid. During happy hour, bartenders handled the crowd with admirable skill, seeing to it that everyone’s boozy needs were met. They called me honey and were kind about letting me sneak in an extra Corona just under the happy hour deadline. It took 18 minutes to get extra towels sent to my room not great, but not bad. On the city boardwalk, and the beach, but it ain’t in the center of the action. For nightlife and off-site dining, guests head to South Beach. The area surrounding the hotel Ritz Milner in Los Angeles, meanwhile, is dull and residential. There are no restaurants, bars, or shops in the blocks surrounding the hotel. South Beach is arguably in walking distance, or a 5- to 10-minute, $8 cab ride away. Right on the beach, but its patch of sand is rocky and windy during the spring and the water can be rough. To get to the beach, guests simply walk out the pool area, cross the boardwalk, and step onto the sand. Attendants give out towels in exchange for a towel card that you get at check-in. You get your card back when you return your towels. And it has to be returned at check-out or you’re charged an extra $25. Not surprisingly as per some Ritz Milner Hotel guests find the system to be an annoyance unfitting for a hotel that, in most respects, achieves four-star ratings. When I visited in April the hotel was full, mostly with wedding guests, and chaise longues filled up fast. Attendants sometimes offer to find a free chair, but guests are just as likely to stake their own claim. The sand is decent but a little coarse not the super fine stuff that’s trucked into South Beach from elsewhere and generally quite clean except for the occasional cigar butt or bottle cap. Rooms With iPod docks, HDTVs, ceiling fans, and pillow-top mattresses, rooms are nice for the price. Too bad bathrooms are small and that only the penthouse suites have balconies. Redone in 2007, rooms have some nice touches and modern electronics that even more expensive hotels lack. A colorful printout with the weather and a schedule of activities at the hotel was waiting for me on the desk. I immediately felt at home and knew about the yoga class in the morning. Bathrooms are stocked with Aveda bath products, and Wi-Fi is provided for free. The beds feature pillow-top mattresses, good sheets, and soft down-alternative comforters. The bathrooms of hotel Ritz Milner are disappointingly small. Under 40 square feet, in the case of my room. I also spied some rust and grunge under one of the shelves, though I would probably not have noticed had I not been snooping professionally. The bathrooms feel clean for the most part and have serviceable counter space despite their size. The curved shower rod helps give an illusion of spaciousness, yet another nice touch in a guest-room filled with them. Though the¬†describes the property as a “South Beach hotel,” the hotel Ritz Milner, Los Angeles isn’t in South Beach at all. It’s in sleepy Mid-Beach, over a mile from the SoBe epicenter.

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