On a short trip to Los Angeles at the end of February for the most recent West Coast UPGRD meetup, I found myself in the odd position of needing a place to stay for the night. Normally when we travel to L.A., I stay with my in-laws in the Inland Empire, but we weren’t going to be able to make it work due to the short amount of time we’d be there and the long drive between the airport and their house. Since our meetup was scheduled for the Westin LAX, I looked for hotels near the airport, preferably a Hilton since that’s my preferred hotel chain (a choice that most other UPGRD bloggers give me grief about, but what can I say). I settled on the Hilton Garden Inn LAX – El Segundo, primarily because the price was right and they offer free parking, which was important since we’d have a rental car.
Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo
- 2100 East Mariposa Avenue, El Segundo, CA
- Features: free WiFi, free airport shuttle, free parking, business center, fitness center, outdoor heated pool, meeting rooms, on-site restaurant (additional charge applies)
Approximately 2 1/2 miles south of the airport terminal complex, and fairly easy to get to. Take Sepulveda Boulevard (State Highway 1) south, cross the 105 into El Segundo, then turn left at Mariposa Avenue (there is a Ralph’s at the southeast corner). If you are picking up a rental car, go south on Aviation Boulevard, then turn right to go back to Sepulveda. If you are coming in from outside the airport, take the 105 westbound to the Nash Street exit. Exit at Nash, loop around on the ramp, then continue straight. Hotel is at the corner of Mariposa and Nash.
ADVISORY: the hotel does offer a free shuttle from the airport, but it does NOT run on a schedule. You will need to call the hotel to schedule a pick-up when you arrive.
Date of Stay: February 28, 2015
For those unfamiliar with the Hilton Garden Inn (HGI) concept, it’s what I’d characterize as a “mid-market” business hotel. The hotels aren’t fancy by any means, but the hotels are geared towards business travelers, with free WiFi, meeting rooms, on-site catering, and A/V equipment, among other business-friendly amenities. Most locations also contain an on-site restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner (breakfast is NOT complimentary unless you are a Hilton HHonors Gold member or above), again highlighting the convenience appeal to business travelers on a tight schedule. It’s somewhat similar to Homewood Suites, except meant for short-term stays instead of long-term.
Upon arrival following a quick drive to look at the Hollywood sign and explore the famous Mulholland Drive, we were warmly greeted by the desk clerk, who promptly offered us two bottles of water as our preferred HHonors Silver benefit. Yes, it’s not much, but we were both really thirsty, so we were happy to have it. The hotel wasn’t busy, so we were in our room in less than two minutes.
The lobby has a decidedly 70s feel, what with all the brightly colored, square-shaped cabinetry, and funkily-shaped chairs. I haven’t decided if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but there is at least plenty of space to sit and relax to take a phone call or get some quick work done on the computer. There is a coffee station set up (free) where you can grab a quick cup as desired.
The hotel has nicely landscaped exterior grounds, with the aforementioned outdoor heated pool (sorry, couldn’t get a good shot of the pool itself).
Our room was functional, clean, and comfortable, if not particularly fancy. There is a nice large desk in the corner, and a recliner and ottoman in the other corner, providing plenty of space for two people to work and/or read. My one complaint is that while multiple plugs are available on the desk and by the recliner, there are no plugs by the bed. I like to work on my laptop on the bed while watching TV, so this was a little irritating. On the other hand, the “Garden Sleep System” bed was quite comfortable, one you can fall asleep in very quickly. My back gets a little achy, but I woke up the next morning with no issues. The bathroom was also a little on the small side, but it was clean.
As mentioned above, the hotel does have an on-site restaurant, the Great American Grill (the same name is used at most HGI properties). We didn’t eat any meals there, but there is a basic “comfort food” type of menu. I’ve eaten at the restaurant at a different property previously, and it was OK. I certainly wouldn’t come here with the express purpose of eating at the restaurant, but if you’ve had a long day and really don’t feel like going out somewhere, it gets the job done adequately. I was also impressed with the friendliness of the staff. Staff quality can be hit-or-miss at lower level Hilton properties, but at least on this visit, the desk clerks were warm and welcoming.
Location wise, the airport is an easy drive from LAX, roughly 10 minutes up Sepulveda. Freeway access is a big plus, as the hotel is located just a few blocks south of the 105 freeway, which in turn provides easy access to the 405. In addition, the hotel is directly down the street from a Metro Green Line station, so if you don’t have a car, you at least have an easy option to get around the city. On the downside, there really isn’t anything near the hotel in terms of eating and drinking establishments, with the main section of El Segundo maybe a half an hour’s walk to the west.
- Easy access to LAX and the 105 and 405 freeways
- Adjacent to Metro light rail station
- Free parking (important if you have a rental car)
- Located in a fairly quiet area of town
- Friendly staff
- Shuttle doesn’t run on a schedule; you have to call for a pick-up
- No restaurants in the immediate vicinity
- No real price advantage over hotels next to the airport
- Plenty of plugs in the room but not enough by the bed
Overall, the HGI LAX – El Segundo was just fine for what we needed on this trip, which was a clean room and comfortable bed near the airport. It isn’t fancy, and you won’t be blown away, but if you need a room near the airport, say because of an early flight the next morning, it’ll get the job done.