Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles

29 Nov 2013 by Tom Otley

BACKGROUND

At the time of my visit in October 2013, there was a lot of ongoing construction work at Los Angeles International Airport, so catching the free hotel shuttle to the hotel proved a long, drawn-out affair.

Basically, you head outside from arrivals and stand on an island in the road in a busy underpass area on the lower roadway under a red overhead sign that says "Hotel and Courtesy Shuttle".

Various hotel buses pull up to shuttle you for free to whichever hotel you are staying at (Radisson LAX, Hilton, Westin etc.). After about 20 minutes, the Sheraton bus turned up and because of heavy traffic (it was a Thursday evening around 2015), it took about another 15 minutes to reach the hotel.

Sheraton Gateway LAX

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Big, fairly featureless, with long corridors and low ceilings.

When I checked in at 2030, despite it being obvious I had just got off the shuttle bus from the airport, I was told I had a "complimentary valet". I had to ask what that was, half-expecting a butler. It meant free car parking — normally this is $33 per night.

Perhaps, because of having status in the Starwood Preferred Guest programme, I was upgraded to a club floor room on the 14th floor, allowing me access to the Club Floor Lounge on the 15th floor (worthwhile for the free wifi). I asked what was being offered there at that time of the night and was told hors d’oeuvres had ended at 2000, but fruit and water were there (in fact, it was just water).

I was asked what time I would be checking out the next day, and I said 1200, since I wanted to have a good sleep. I then got my key card and went to my room, where I worked until 2300 (0700 UK time), then went to sleep.

About 30 minutes later I was woken by a persistent banging on my door (it began as knocking, but then got louder). When I got up and opened the door, it was a hotel employee trying to deliver a platter of fruit and cheese and biscuits to my room. I told him it was 1130 at night, and he said he knew, and apologised, but that he had been told to deliver it to me.

I refused the gift, shut the door and went back to bed. I appreciated the thought (or, at least, I did when I thought about it the next morning), since someone had realised that I would want something healthy to eat after a long flight. But I had been checked-in for three hours by this time and it was 2330 local time, 0730 UK time, where I had just come from. In the hotel's defence, I suppose I hadn't stuck the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door, but that's because I hadn't found one.

WHERE IS IT?

Along with a handful of other hotels (Radisson LAX is one of them) it is between the north and south runways of the airport.

ROOM FACILITIES

There are 802 rooms with an entry level size of 26 sqm. All rooms have flatscreen TVs, tea and coffee-making facilities, iron and ironing board, a good work desk and plenty of plug points, one of which is in the base of the table lamp on the work desk. The bed was lovely and comfortable.

My room had sound-proofing and outstanding views of aircraft taking off and landing from both runways, although I was disappointed that the windows were so dirty that it was impossible to take a picture through them (the camera just auto-focussed on the dirty window).

The 51 Club rooms come with access to the club lounge, where there's a decent breakfast served, although the room is not large and gets crowded. It has the same views over the runway, and the windows were slightly cleaner. This was the view that morning:

Sheraton Gateway LAX view of airport

For those not on the Club Floor, wifi is chargeable at $12.95 per day. Breakfast is served on the ground floor in The Brasserie and there is a full-service Starbucks Cafe located in the hotel lobby.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

The hotel has huge conference and meeting facilities, with up to 4,645 sqm of meeting space that can accommodate up to 1,500 people, but I did not get a chance to take a look at them during this short stay.

LEISURE FACILITIES

There's a good-size gym on the ground floor, accessible 24 hours a day by key card. Towels and water are available, but you need to bring your own headphones for the machines. There is also an outdoor heated pool and outdoor whirlpool.

VERDICT

Obviously, I was unlucky with being woken up. The hotel prides itself on trying to add a personal service to its offering. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me, but there's no doubt that it is good value.
 

FACT FILE

  • ROOMS 802, ranging from Traditional (26 sqm) to Corner Suites (55 sqm).
  • HIGHLIGHTS Free wifi if you pay for an upgrade to a Club Room (or have status in the SPG programme). Good views of the runways of LAX from some rooms, and a very good price available for the standard rooms. Free shuttle to and from the airport.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay started at $137.50 including taxes for a Standard Room (room only), and $121.35 for an APEX room.
  • CONTACT sheratonlax.com


Tom Otley

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