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-   -   A Room with A View: LAX Stopover and AA 738 LAX-SFO (http://www.sqtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15022)

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:28 AM

A Room with A View: LAX Stopover and AA 738 LAX-SFO
 
On a recent trip to Tokyo and the USA, I spent a day in LAX as a pit stop enroute to SFO. I write LAX, not LA, because I didn’t really spend time in LA proper this time round, just the area around LAX and Manhattan Beach…

I had just a few hours in LA / LAX. How would I spend my time? Earlier, I had asked the folks on SQTalk for food recommendations. The Alibi Room and In-N-Out Burger came up as recommendations. I visited both.

I also went for a run along Manhattan Beach, just as the sun was setting along the beautiful Californian coast.

This time round, I stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott at LAX / Century Boulevard. Airport hotels are usually drab, unexciting affairs. My stay at the Residence Inn was anything but! If you are an aviation enthusiast, it is likely that you would enjoy a stay here. And even if you are not, the rooms and facilities here are a cut above what you would expect.

And I flew American Airlines on a very new and well equipped 738 from LAX to SFO – and was very impressed with the AA product on this short sector!

This is part 2 of a 3 part TR. For part 1, click here.

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:29 AM

This TR continues from part 1, and starts at LAX, where I had just landed from NRT, on SQ12…

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I waited kerbside outside the International Terminal for just a few minutes for the Marriott courtesy shuttle, one of many shuttle buses plying the area which would bring guests to the many airport hotels around LAX…

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For this short stopover, I would stay at the Residence Inn Marriott LAX at Century Boulevard…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:30 AM

This hotel was beautifully styled, with reception and rooms looking very modern and new.

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Aviation themed design elements…

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Comfortable seating and work areas in the lobby…

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A small outdoor pool, which looked very inviting in the warm California weather…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:30 AM

Self service convenience store by the reception…

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Touchscreen information panel, internet facilities and boarding pass printing stations in the lobby.

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All very high tech. But the most high-tech item here was Wally, the robot butler…

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Wally was standing idle by the reception when I checked in…

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…but later on in my stay I did see Wally on his/her/its way up to a guest room to autonomously deliver something to one of the rooms. I was intrigued and followed Wally into the lift.

So did another guest, who actually tailed Wally all the way from the reception right up to the guest room on the 8th floor just to see what he was up to.

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:31 AM

There was a well equipped gym…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:31 AM

I was upgraded from a studio room to a suite on a high floor.

This was a "room with a view”, the friendly receptionist said.

Given that this was an airport hotel, their concept of a room with a view was a little different from, say, a beachfront property, as I would soon discover...

My room was on the tenth floor…a suite with living room / kitchenette and separate bedroom.

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This was a beautifully done up room, and very new.

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Separate bedroom…

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Bathroom with spacious shower stall, no tub.

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:32 AM

And this was the view…

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An aviation enthusiast’s dream…views up close of two of LAX’s four runways, 25L and 25R.

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With the wind direction that day, I had clear views of aircraft beginning their take-off run from 25R (The further section of the runway where they actually rotated was beyond my field of vision, though…) and superb views of mainly short haul aircraft landing on 25L…

Similar views from the bedroom…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:33 AM

I spent many minutes just sitting by the window, camera in hand, watching the comings and goings at LAX, occasionally snapping photos.

Aeromexico 787 preparing for take-off, while a Southwest737 lands on the parallel runway…

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AA 757…

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A blimp far in the distance…

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KLM 747-400…

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Emirates A380…

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The Uma Thurman of the skies, the Lufthansa A340-600…

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Swiss A340 landing after a long flight from Zurich...

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United 787…

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American 787.

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Looks like quite a few airlines are now operating the 787 out of LAX.

Old and new AA liveries…

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I still prefer the old AA livery…

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:35 AM

A few other things about the hotel room. The kitchenette was very well equipped with cutlery, tableware and cookware. If you did not feel like cooking, there were menus from nearby eateries that would deliver food to the hotel.

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This included pizza, subs, and Chinese food of the American kind, with dishes like Chop Suey, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and General Tso chicken, supposedly Chinese dishes which are unknown outside the USA…

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I found myself spending more time using my MacBook at the bar counter than at the work table. A really comfortable room to relax in, and a great work environment too.

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A lovely hotel room which would now be my first choice should I need to stay near LAX on a future trip.

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:46 AM

Before dinner, I headed to Manhattan Beach for a run.

It was a tough choice deciding between Santa Monica Beach to the North and Manhattan Beach to the South, but I figured I didn’t have enough time that day to fully explore Santa Monica Beach, so I would save that for a future trip.

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Rather than take a taxi to the start point of my run, I signed up for Uber, and requested an Uber car instead, using the iPhone App which I had installed and signed up for that day. Signing up is simple, all you need is to download the app, and provide your credit card details. It will send a verification SMS to your Singapore mobile number, and once that is verified, you are all set for Uber trips.

This was my first experience with Uber, and it was fantastic. I would strongly recommend Uber for anyone visiting the USA.

I picked the Dockweiler Bike Path on Google Maps as the start point of my run. This was along the coastline, at the junction of the Imperial Highway and Vista Del Mar.

There was a trail and bike path from that point to the pier at Manhattan Beach, to the South, a 6km run which would take me 35-40 minutes to complete at a comfortable pace.

My Uber car dropped me off there and I began my run as the Sun began to set, turning the sky a beautiful orange pink.

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In the air above, I could see aircraft taking off from LAX, not far away…

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I began my run towards the pier at Manhattan Beach.

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I passed the Dockweiler RV park, where a large number of huge, and very luxuriously appointed, RVs were parked.

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The RV's had amazing features, like side panels that folded up to unveil flat screen TV's, viewable from outside the RV...

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Further down along the beach, night had fallen, and the surfers had all gone home for the day.

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:48 AM

I ended the run in near pitch darkness, with only the occasional headlamps of cyclists on the path visible…

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The pier at Manhattan Beach was also fairly quiet on this warm evening, with just a few couples and groups of people taking a stroll up the pier.

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The restaurants along the streets near the pier were going roaring business, and the whole area was still fairly lively, but rather than eat there, I headed back to my hotel for a shower and change before heading out again for dinner.

My jogging route that day…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:49 AM

After a quick shower and change back at the Residence Inn, I uber’ed my way to Alibi, as recommended by Kyo and HUGE AL.

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I have to admit, it was not what I expected when I walked in the door…low seats and a large bar completely jam packed with patrons. No host or wait staff to speak of, except the bartenders working at a very rapid pace behind the counter…

What do I do? Where do I sit? Where do I order?

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I spent a few minutes just taking in the chaotic and lively scene around me. I figured I would just look out for someone who was ordering food/drink and just do the same, except that I could not figure out how anyone was doing anything…

Eventually I figured it out (Or maybe I didn’t and was doing it all wrong…) I just slotted myself at an empty spot at a table, standing in between some other seated patrons, and not long after, one of the bartenders came over to take my order. I ordered a cocktail from a very interesting cocktail menu, as well as a 3 taco combo…

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My memory is a little hazy now, but I believe I ordered a Paloma…whatever it was, it tasted great…

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The tacos came a few minutes later, all freshly prepared from the nearby kitchen, just three tacos with different fillings in a cardboard box…

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Not the fanciest food presentation I have ever seen, but the tacos were absolutely delicious! I gobbled it all up in a flash…amazing stuff! I wish I knew how the dish was put together…it would be great to reverse-engineer this taco recipe…

Thanks, Kyo and HUGE AL, for a wonderful recommendation!

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:50 AM

Later that evening, when I was back in my hotel, I got hungry again, and decided to take a late night walk to the nearby In-N-Out burger outlet close to the airport, at South Sepulveda Boulevard as suggested by 9V-JKL and SQGamespeed.

This was 1.7km away from the Residence Inn Marriott, just a pleasant 20 minute walk away along the brightly lit streets of Century Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard, close to LAX.

This outlet is open till 1am each day. I could see the LAX tarmac and terminal buildings just across from this In-N-Out outlet.When I got there close to midnight, it was still jam packed.

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Inside, I ordered a double-double burger, fries “Animal Style” and a chocolate shake to go…

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While waiting for my order, I marvelled at the burgers, fries and other food being prepared and cooked fresh right behind the counter…there were patties on the grill, and whole potatoes being cut into fries right behind the counter. And I saw at least one 4 by 4 order (Four burger patties in one burger) being served.

In-N-Out used to allow n by n burgers of any size, until several years ago, one group of customers at a Las Vegas outlet ordered a 100 by 100, an order which was successfully cooked and served. Since that time, though In-N-Out management decided to limit the maximum order to just 4 by 4…

With my take-out order in hand, I left In-N-Out to walk back to my hotel, marvelling as I left at the long queue of cars still waiting to place drive-thru orders…and this was at 12.15am!

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Back at the Residence Inn, I unwrapped my order on my bar counter and tucked in…

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The burger tasted fantastic, still warm and moist.

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The sauce on the animal style fries had grown thick and stuck to the fries, but still tasted ok, if not perfect. Perhaps regular fries next time.

Washed down with a chocolate shake, this made a wonderful, if very substantial, midnight snack…

In-N-Out should really open an outlet in Singapore soon!

yflyer 10th November 2015 11:50 AM

The next morning, I sampled the complimentary hot breakfast spread that was offered to all guests at the Residence Inn.

This was not a high-end buffet, but there was a decent selection of items that would satisfy your typical family on vacation, and business travellers too, as long as what you were looking for was a quick breakfast before heading to work.

Dining area next to the lobby…

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Self serve counter with beverages, cereal, and hot items…

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Self service waffle maker…

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Sausage patties and scrambled eggs…

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yflyer 10th November 2015 11:51 AM

Later in the day, I checked out and headed to LAX T4, just a few minutes away on the courtesy shuttle bus. Very convenient.

I had already pre-printed my boarding pass, and so was directed to the express security line for AAdvantage and Oneworld frequent fliers…

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Airside area…quite a pleasant terminal with decent shopping and F&B.

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I took the opportunity to visit the AA Admiral’s Club Lounge before my AA flight to SFO.

After I left the AA Admiral’s Club, and I walked to my gate, I noticed that there was a Kogi food “truck” at LAX T4, right next to the gate for my departing AA flight to SFO. Kogi? This was the same wonderful food served at the Alibi Room!

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It was busy…

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…and the bowls coming out of the “truck” looked really delicious as well.

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I was running a little late for my flight, so I wasn’t able to pick up another taco to eat onboard my flight. But I would have if I had known about the outlet earlier. Perhaps next time.


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