The Portofino Hotel in a Nutshell:
As Redondo Beach’s most luxe lodging, the Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club features amenities, style, and a location superior to the neighboring hotels in this sleepy burg. A recent renovation brought the property up to the design level expected of a boutique hotel, with a vaguely nautical theme throughout (though it thankfully steers clear of model ships, knotted ropes, and general Red Lobster-style kitsch). Guests can enjoy views of sailboats passing right by their windows, but be aware that the beach is a few blocks away. The Portofino is oceanfront, but not beachfront — a subtle difference to keep in mind.
Guest Rooms at the Portofino Hotel:
Rooms are decorated in shades of blue, tan, and pale yellow, and face either the ocean or marina. Oceanside suites and oceanside Jacuzzi rooms are the most romantic choices — and are naturally the priciest. Jacuzzi rooms feature a tub with a direct view of the ocean from under the bubbles. Suites are generously sized, with a living room, bedroom, and bathroom each separated by glass French doors. Bathrooms include a clawfoot bathtub with ocean views and a separate shower with room for two. A large balcony connects the living room and bedroom and is ideal for an unobstructed sunset.
Dining at the Portofino Hotel:
Baleen Los Angeles is the onsite restaurant, attracting a fairly hip crowd from the South Bay area with a lounge-y vibe, plush sofas for two, and outdoor fire pits. The menu is naturally heavy on seafood; standouts include the Togarashi seared ahi with sweet fried rice, baby bok choy and broccolini. The appetizer to get is the indulgent (and not guilt-inducing when shared) truffle lobster mac & cheese with chorizo breadcrumbs. Lunches are simpler and are served outside along the marina, with excellent sandwiches, salads and seafood options.
Destination Weddings at the Portofino Hotel:
The hotel regularly hosts weddings and special events in several dedicated spaces that provide oceanfront views, with the green hills of Palos Verdes visible in the distance. The Bayside Ballroom is the largest, with 3,500 square feet of space, including an outdoor wraparound terrace along the water. Four other spaces range from around 1,000 to 2,200 square feet, and three smaller rooms provide space for brides’ rooms and last-minute preparation/freakouts. Wedding packages can include rehearsal dinners, luncheons, and groomsmen outings in the area, far from the temptations of the Sunset Strip.
Honeymoons / Romance Packages at the Portofino Hotel:
Several romance packages are available at the hotel. The “Fall in Love” package includes overnight accommodations and a bottle of port and Godiva truffles. “Do Not Disturb” offers one of the well-appointed oceanfront Jacuzzi rooms, a bubble bath, rose petals for the bed or bath, and champagne and truffles. The “Italian Riviera” package includes oceanfront suite accommodations, a candlelit dinner for two on the balcony, a bottle of Mondavi wine, and an Andrea Bocelli CD and “Roman Holiday” on DVD.
Activities at the Portofino Hotel:
The hotel offers plenty by way of activities, particularly given the fact that “Yacht Club” is actually part of its name. Sailing lessons, paddling, kayaking, and all variety of water activities are available. The area is perfect for beginners, since the breaker wall keeps the waters right outside the hotel calm. Beach bicycles are also available free of charge to guests, and are a popular mode of transportation from Redondo into Hermosa and Manhattan beaches. The hotel also features a heated oceanside pool and hot tub that closes at 10pm; Jacuzzi-room guests can take the late-night party back to their rooms.
Nearby the Portofino Hotel:
The Portofino is on a private peninsula but is still close to everything that Redondo has to offer. The U-shaped Redondo Beach Pier is nearby, with a family-focused carnival vibe. Redondo Beach itself tends to be less crowded than other Baywatch-style beaches in the South Bay, and is great for a more relaxed day out. One block east of the beach is Riviera Village, a six-block area of shops and cafes with oceanfront views. Santa Monica and Venice Beach are a 20-minute drive north assuming good traffic... which can be a dangerous assumption in California.
What Could Be Better at the Portofino Hotel:
The sea lions. Oh, the sea lions. A sea lion sanctuary sits in the waters just off of the hotel, and they bark, growl, and gurgle (or “chatter” as the hotel says) at all hours of the day and night. With the windows and doors shut, they’re practically inaudible, but with just one window cracked they’ll be heard within seconds. The complimentary earplugs given to guests would probably nullify the romance of a balcony cocktail and conversation, though it may depend on how many years you’ve been married. Overall amenities are ample for a boutique hotel, though room service and the pool closing at 10pm are a bit early.
The Portofino Hotel Vibe:
The overall vibe at the hotel is relaxed and casually elegant. The Portofino fits the area in its sense of being a traditional California waterfront getaway. Redondo is a fairly sleepy area and feels miles away from an over-the-top Malibu or Laguna experience (since…well, it is). The Portofino matches that in an understated, graceful way that attracts many romantic weekend getaway-seekers from around Southern California. Don’t come if you’re looking for a glitzy LA experience, but put it at the top of the list for a relaxing, well-appointed waterfront weekend.
The Portofino Hotel Info and Reservations:
The Portofino Hotel
260 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310-379-8481 Hotel Web Site
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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.