- Back from my epic/insane trip: overall thoughts
- Business vs. economy: is the mileage upcharge worth it?
- Assigning $ value to Priority Pass during our trip to South Pacific
- Our two magical nights in Bora Bora
- Hilton Moorea resort and spa: spectacular setting, not a 5-star property
- Making the most of our one night in Moorea
- InterContinental Resort Tahiti: Lovely Property with Freezing Pools and Hot Bellhops
- Hilton Auckland: a Great Choice in a Great City
- Sick, jet lagged and Uber-less in San Francisco, plus review of InterContinental Mark Hopkins
- Los Angeles layover: my huge mistake that nearly spoiled our trip
- Packing tips, laundry hacks and other things I’ve learned during my trip to South Pacific
I’m happy to say that for the most part, I’ve made good decisions when it comes to hotels on this particular trip. I’ve poured hours into research and resisted the urge to cheap out like I usually do. Sure, Hilton Moorea was more rustic than I expected, and the mattresses in Park Hyatt Sydney were of cheap variety despite the high price tag. Still, overall, I got what I paid for and then some.
But I made one huge blunder by not doing enough research on Los Angeles airport hotels. In the spirit of keeping things real, let me share my story. Many of you will at some point have a layover in LAX, so hopefully my cautionary tale will prove helpful.
So, the deal is this. My in-laws flew to Los Angeles the night before us. However, our respective flights to Fiji and Tahiti were set to leave at midnight on Friday. My husband and I flew to LAX on Friday morning, so we just needed a place to crash for part of the day. Since I’m cheap, I didn’t really want to use points on a separate room. My in-laws were supposed to be out and about, doing a tour of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. That would give my husband a chance to nap in peace.
After they came back from the tour, I figured we would all hang out in one room until it was time to leave for our flights. Of course, since we had seven people, I had to make sure we had enough places to sit. I was using Hyatt points, so based on that specific requirement I was left with one option: Hyatt Place LAX El Segundo
The rooms have two queen beds and a big corner sofa, so we wouldn’t have to sit on top of each other. The hotel also provides free shuttle to the airport.
As you can see, according to map, it appears to be very close to LAX. What I didn’t take into account is that 2 miles in Los Angeles is like 20 miles in another city. If you are going during rush hour or Friday night, you could spend 50 minutes in traffic. And we were flying on a Friday night.
But of course, I didn’t really think of that. By the way, Hyatt Regency LAX (the hotel closest to the airport) costs 12,000 Hyatt points, identical to Hyatt Place I ended up booking. Since I was using points, I could also attach the club lounge upgrade, which would give my in-laws free breakfast and evening snacks. But the rooms didn’t have a sofa, which was a deal breaker.
Well, at the eleventh hour I decided to burn my renewal Hyatt certificate (from co-branded credit card) on a separate room. I figured it would give us privacy and make it more relaxing before a grueling flight. A bonus: we could still switch to Hyatt Regency LAX without penalty. Except, my sister-in-law booked a tour and the company was supposed to pick them up at Hyatt Place. She didn’t feel like making changes, so we left things alone. Big mistake. In retrospect, I should have put my foot down, but oh well.
Hyatt Place LAX El Segundo was decent enough.
There is currently some construction in the area, so expect some noise during the day. Once again, I didn’t do my research.
The view from the room
The hotel does have a pool, though it was a bit cold when I went in it. Overall, it’s definitely a decent place to stay, just as you would expect from Hyatt Place brand.
When we checked in, I asked if we could get a food credit since we would not be eating breakfast the next morning. The manager was happy to oblige and gave us $15 voucher, which we utilized towards Korean tacos and a hamburger. There is a laundry room in the hotel, so I was able to wash all of our clothes before flight to Tahiti.
Unfortunately, this is where the good ends. We pre-booked our free shuttle to the airport, allowing 2.5 hours before the flight. The front desk person told us it could take 35 minutes to get to the airport on a Friday night, so I took that into consideration. We showed up on schedule, but there was no shuttle waiting for us. Fifteen minutes passed, and nothing. After waiting thirty minutes, I politely told the manager we have to get to the airport NOW. Otherwise, we may miss the flight.
She understood and booked us an Uber, something they are apparently authorized to do in situations like this. Of course, it would have been nice to get that option fifteen minutes ago. Regardless, we were finally on our way, except the traffic was horrible, worse than expected.
After forty minutes on the road, we passed by Hyatt Regency LAX. I looked at it longingly, cursing my cheapness. Another fifteen minutes, and we were finally at Tom Bradley international terminal. We did make our flight with maybe fifteen minutes to spare, and I was sweating bullets the entire time.
It was so incredibly foolish to risk our super expensive trip in order to save my $75 renewal certificate (which I ended up burning anyway). Lesson learned. Next time we are staying as close to LAX airport as possible.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.