A breezy little beach hotel filled with rough wood, natural linen, and flea market finds, the Rose seems, to the uninitiated, like a pure product of quirky Venice’s hipsterfication. In fact, the historic, wood-and-stucco building was built by the beach town’s founder, Abbot Kinney, in the early days of the 20th century; rumor says it was his private brothel, frequented by such friends as Charlie Chaplin. By the 1970s, at the height of Venice’s drug culture, the building had become a flophouse of sorts, and neighbor Dennis Hopper was known to drop by. Before two British photographers discovered it, the house had turned into a mural-covered crash-pad for surfers, yogis, and beach bums of all kinds.
Looking at the low-key Rose now—the town’s first true boutique hotel, barely half a block from the beach—one would hardly know that the entire history of Venice had passed through it. The 14 rooms are spare but stylish, with large windows, art photography, and furniture mostly from the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Some rooms are large enough to live in, whereas others share a hallway bathroom. Amenities are minimal—Blue Bottle coffee, free bicycles—but a relaxed beach house that attracts artists and creatives looking to delve into Venice’s eclectic, vibrant culture doesn’t need to try too hard to be cool.
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Half a block from the beach, two blocks from Main Street, and only slightly farther from Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the Rose is ideally situated for exploring all sides of Venice. The beach and boardwalk are iconic in surf and skateboard culture, and are home to a colorful parade of people and sights. Borrow bikes from the hotel to tool around the neighborhood, admiring the architecture along the canals, seeking out street art, and shopping and dining at such favorites as General Store and Gjelina. Bike all the way up along the beach path to Santa Monica’s cleaner beach and ritzier atmosphere.
Need to Know
Rooms: 14 rooms, including one penthouse, six suites, and seven shared-bath rooms. From $175. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The Rose doesn’t have a restaurant, but, in typical beachfront style, the low-key café—a communal wooden table in the low-key, sun-drenched lobby—serves coffee from Blue Bottle, croissants from Short Cake Bakery, and juices from Moon Juice. Three of the suites, and the penthouse, also have fully equipped kitchens with dining areas. Spa and gym details: The Rose is far too laid-back to have a gym, but there are bicycles available to borrow, and the resident sportsman on staff will take guests surfing or recommend other beachfront sporting activities. A range of massages are also available.
Who's it best for: Artists, hipsters, beach bums, and other low-key, independent travelers. Our favorite rooms: The shared-bath rooms are one of the most affordable ways to stay in Venice, while the three master suites feel like little rustic-chic beach houses, with their own kitchens. The Simpson Suite is the most private, and has its own wraparound balcony, ocean views, and a sofa bed. For art lovers: Owned and renovated by photographers Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce, the hotel is adorned with their work, as well as pieces and prints from Luchford’s personal collection, artist and collector friends, and Dashwood Books. The long-term plan includes opening an attached gallery space.