Travellers to Los Angeles often look for hotels in the centre of the city – and pay a significant premium for the privilege – but if you broaden your search and allow a little extra travel time, there are significant savings to be had.
Meet the Hilton Los Angeles San Gabriel hotel, complete with all the amenities you'd expect of a regular Hilton and more, and just 20 minutes by car from the city centre.
Location & Impressions
Located 17km from Downtown Los Angeles and around one hour from LAX airport during heavy traffic, the Hilton Los Angeles San Gabriel hotel is certainly a drive from the city centre... ... and while it's considerably further out than where many business travellers would prefer to stay, the hotel is often less expensive than its CBD counterparts – even with the added taxi or Uber fares on top.
For example, we made a last-minute booking and paid A$210/night including taxes for a standard room, whereas other properties like the Hilton Checkers Los Angeles were almost A$400/night with tax.
With the USD:AUD exchange rate still unfavourable, choosing this hotel slashed our travel costs by around 40% overall while still staying in a Hilton-level property, which isn't to be sniffed at.
As we arrived on a hot day, the front desk staff also kindly offered a chilled bottle of water – in addition to the two found in the room – and repeated the offer on check-out: a nice touch.
The rooms here resemble your typical American Hilton with comfy beds, coffee makers and HDTVs all making an appearance, although the latter displayed some channels in analogue format and stretched to the wrong aspect ratios, despite being otherwise available in digital widescreen.
Over in the bathroom you'll find a 'shower tub', or 'shub'... ... and on our visit, a vast array of amenities and artfully-folded towels from the housekeeping staff. Slippers were also prepared and placed on our bed without having to request them, which gets our top marks for attention to detail.
Catching up on work was easy with an in-room desk and a height-adjustable chair... ... plus easy-access power points in front of the desk, but also beside the bed – great for recharging tablets and smartphones while you kick your feet up: There's also a mini business centre in the hotel lobby with computers and printing facilities: (Relax: the spiders and spider webs above were decorative for Halloween, not a sign of "please clean me".)
In-room Internet is also offered to all Hilton HHonors members at no charge and clocked in at 8mbps down and 7.73mbps up during our tests.
Trinity Restaurant serves up an 'East meets West' breakfast with everything from the simple muffins and fruits... ... through to dumplings, sausages, bacon and eggs any way, including custom-made omelettes at no charge: Heck, there's even a push-button machine for half-decent lattes and cappuccinos which sure beats the usual American coffee served straight to your table. The full breakfast here is another perk for HHonors Gold and Diamond members who receive their vouchers on check-in, and as with all restaurant breakfasts in the United States, tipping your server – and egg chef, if applicable – is customary, even if the breakfast is otherwise free.
With coffee service to the table but self-serve food from the buffet, we'd suggest a US$2 tip for the wait staff and a US$1 tip for the egg chef, which was the convention followed by other restaurant guests.
As many Hiltons in the USA limit their free breakfasts to the basic cereals, pastries and filtered coffee, we feel the Hilton Los Angeles San Gabriel hotel deserves its four stars for its generosity towards their frequent guests.
As you'd expect of any Hilton there's a 24-hour fitness centre on-hand to sneak in your workout at any hour of the day or night... ... joined also by a pool and spa for when you're off the clock. You're also adjacent to a number of shops and Chinese markets, and with both Qantas and Virgin Australia giving USA travellers an allowance of at least two checked bags even in economy, there's no harm in a little retail therapy before your flight home.
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