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DoubleTree Hilton Westside
DoubleTree Hilton Westside:
A Perfect Place for a Culver City Staycation

Story and photos (unless stated otherwise)
by Mary McGrath

t's vacation time, or in our case staycation time, since lately, we've been enjoying short jaunts within a few hours from Los Angeles. This time, we decided to explore Culver City by vacationing five minutes away from home.

DoubleTree Hilton Westside, Culver City, with the pool in the foreground
DoubleTree Hilton. Photo courtesy of Hilton

In our neighborhood is the recently renovated DoubleTree Hilton Westside, on the edge of Culver City and Westchester. I have passed by this hotel upon numerous occasions, and have noticed the change of hands over the years. When I heard that they had recently renovated the property with Hilton hands, I decided it was time to take the plunge and investigate this hotel.

It was close to 3 o'clock and time to check in. Boy this place is busy. I stood in line, anxious to unwind in my room, when all of a sudden a nice fellow from the front desk appeared with chocolate chip cookies. I hungrily grabbed a few. The aroma alone lifted my spirits.

"What a smart way to appease the weary traveler," I thought to myself. This was a nice touch and a great way to begin our stay at the DoubleTree Hilton Westside.

outdoor pond, DoubleTree Hilton Westside
Outdoor pond

Munching on my treat I rolled my suitcase toward the elevators. Outside, the window showcased a cool beckoning pond that reminded me of my visits to Hawaii. Although I'm only five minutes from my home, I felt like I was transported across the Pacific without having to endure the crush and stress of a busy airport.

This is a cool place, the earth tones providing a welcoming air. Amenities are modern with over 22,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to accommodate business meetings and conferences. This is a great venue for the busy business traveler, yet there are enough things to do that give families a chance to relax and enjoy themselves. There was even a high school reunion in full swing in the lounge. What fun!

Our suite was gigantic, affording both of us the opportunity to have some privacy before we headed down to dinner.

writer's suite inside the Doubletree Hilton Westside
Inside the suite. Photo courtesy of Hilton

Normally I'm not particularly impressed with hotel restaurants. They are usually overpriced and the food is fairly mediocre, but both of us were wowed at the selections and caliber of food that was served at Share Restaurant.

We started with some crab cakes and unlike most I've tried that are diluted with all types of cheap filler, this dish had tons of crab layered over a tangy Caesar salad.

crab cake over a Caesar salad at the Share Restaurant
Crab cakes

The short ribs were both succulent and flavorful, braced with mashed potatoes and a medley of roasted vegetables. I opted for the seafood linguine, an ample mound that was more than I could handle. I knew doggy bags were in order for both entrees before I even begin the meal, although we did some serious damage on our hot fudge sundae before heading back to the room.

seafood linguini, Share Restaurant
Seafood linguini

Nearby, you can go shopping at the Westfield Culver City or catch a movie at the IMAX in the Howard Hughes complex. There are hiking trails and beautiful park settings nearby in Playa Vista, where you can also enjoy a wide sampling of wildlife, and free concerts during the summer.

baby gosling at Playa Vista
Duckling

For those who want a plethora of dining options, downtown Culver City is a few miles away where you can enjoy live music, art galleries in a wide variety of restaurants. This area can get crowded though, so plan accordingly.

If theater is your thing, catch an affordable production at the Westchester Playhouse, where "Sordid Lives," winner of 14 DramaLogue awards is currently playing. This campy and colorful production will keep you laughing as you delve into the quirky nuances of a dysfunctional family in a small Texas town.

the cast of 'Sordid Lives' at the Westchester Playhouse
Colorful cast of "Sordid Lives." Photo by Shari Barrett

My favorite scene was when Dr. Eve (Cherry Norris) was attempting to cure Brother Boy (Greg Abbott). Her attempts to obliterate his homosexuality were quite amusing, yet a provided a poignant commentary about alternative lifestyle choices.

Culver City is a happening area, and it was exciting to discover it with fresh eyes. I'm glad we solved the mystery of the DoubleTree Hilton Westside, and now, I will no longer drive along Centinela Blvd. without doing a "double" take as we pass the hotel.

DoubleTree Hilton Westside
6161 W. Centinela Ave.
Culver City, CA. 90230
(310) 649-1776

Related Articles:
Hollywood and the Hilton Garden Inn; Sammy's Woodfired Pizza & Grill Comes to Los Angeles; Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village; Oxnard: LA's Affordable Beachside Community; Fairmont Miramar Hotel And Bungalows; The Queen Mary Still Reigns in Long Beach

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FEEDBACK FOR PATTI

I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK

FEEDBACK FOR JULIO

The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.

Julio

* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!

Julio

FEEDBACK FOR WENDY

For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!

Cheers

--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,

Wendy

For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in responding...you had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy

FEEDBACK FOR NINO

I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA

FEEDBACK FOR RUSH & CHUCK

Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA



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