While it’s true that Santa Barbara is a dream destination, every so often we locals need to get out of town for a bit. So when I received an invitation to sojourn at the Jamaica Bay Inn in Marina del Rey, I readily accepted.
It was a lovely day for the drive down Highway 1, gliding through Malibu and Santa Monica to our stopping place, the Jamaica Bay Inn. Owned by Santa Barbara-based Pacifica Hotel Company, the inn sits at the convergence of an enviable trifecta — the sandy shore of the city’s Marina (Mother’s) Beach; the up-and-coming hipster street Abbot Kinney; and the “Coney Island of the Pacific,” Venice Beach.
In late 2010, a massive reconstruction and expansion of the inn was completed. The new structure and its décor evoke thoughts of the colonial West Indies, boasting wood, leather, and rattan to create an elegant, tropical feel. The room I stayed in was classy yet comfortable with a balcony that overlooked the blue bay waters.
Jamaica Bay Inn’s premium location meant that there were plenty of places to explore. During my visit, my partner and I borrowed bicycles from the inn (they offer a fleet of free ones for hotel guests) and took a leisurely ride along the Venice Beach Boardwalk to the Santa Monica Pier — just three miles from the hotel. It was good fun to weave our way through the madding crowd of people and then retreat to the quiet of the hotel.
On our second day, we trekked the short distance to Fisherman’s Village, where we rented kayaks. As we paddled around the manmade bay, we encountered sea lions playing in the gentle waters and got nose-to-hull with many a multimillion-dollar yacht.
We were on the bay again that night, this time aboard a double-decker Hornblower cruise ship that provided dinner, drinks, and dancing. The weather was pleasant, the food was delicious, and the twinkling lights of the marina made for a wonderful evening.
In addition to its lovely rooms and great location, the Jamaica Bay Inn also has its own eatery, the Beachside Restaurant and Bar. The seafood-oriented menu was created by Chef Allyson Thurber, who has worked at the well-known L.A. venue Water Grill and Santa Monica’s The Lobster. Thurber understands seafood and likes to experiment with conventional dishes. “[I like] adding some unexpected elements, like citrus habañero sour cream, tobiko wasabi, tomato ginger compôte, or truffle mayo,” Thurber said.
As for cocktails, we had some wonderful made-to-order originals, and there was a healthy wine selection that included vino from Santa Barbara, as well as other spots along the Central Coast.
Jamaica Bay Inn is located at 4175 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey. For more information, call (310) 823-5333 or (888) 823-5333, or visit jamaicabayinn.com.