As a newcomer to Southern California I'm still waiting to see the parts that aren't beautiful. This was my primary thought as I checked into my room at the Crowne Plaza Ventura. Expansive views of the sparkling sea poured into the hotel lobby, an open living room like space. Adjacent was an outdoor dinning terrace where you can lounge and enjoy drinks and bites from the bar. Note: there is no happy hour on Friday and it's a really good happy hour.
Once a deeply rural Spanish mission town known more for its agriculture and unique geographic positioning, Ventura is truly a gold nugget of a destination nestled in the hill flecked coast of south central California. Downtown Ventura is charming, nostalgic, with a range of local shops and eats to check out, on Saturday there is a nearby artists market with local goods at great prices.
Travelers heading toward the beach want surf, sun, sand and lots of it. Ventura offers all of the above minus any of the crowds. Ventura is a sweetly sleepy little town. It's main interruptions include the Pacific Surfliner as it ambles down the railroad throughout the day. Ventura is the vacation you take when you want to get away from the getaway.
Unless maybe its the first weekend of August when the Ventura County Fair takes place, but this is definitely the weekend you’ll want to be in the mix. From fine wines to funnel cake there is more than enough variety for all ages and interests.
Getting to Ventura is easy if you live in the Golden state. Both car and Amtrak are efficient options, the latter is less than $40 each way from LA and allows you to soak in some gorgeously unobstructed views of the Pacific and avoid all the traffic involved with getting out of the city and on to the 101. Where to stay when you arrive is up to you as beach rentals abound. Yet, I was beyond pleased with the Crowne Plaza for two critical reasons. #1 Value. #2 Location.
It's an older hotel about to undergo renovations. None of the service buttons on my phone worked and its evident this former Holiday Inn could use a bit of rehab, but for less than $100/ night you've got beach front access. A key feature in a beach vacation that the only other hotel in town with higher ratings, doesn't have. The Crowne Plaza is a surfers paradise. They offer onsite bike rentals, golf, gorgeous meeting space with more sweeping views of the bay and despite the age of the property the staff held nothing back when it came to showing us a good time. At the end of the day, what getaway is complete with out an attentive, service focused staff committed to your total relaxation?
Ventura awaits you. Happy traveling!