A Night in Inglewood: LA’s Most Underrated Gem
It was early January and I’d been in the arsehole of California otherwise known as Hollywood for five nights too long. My brother was scheduled to fly in from Reno that night and my mum from Brisbane the next morning before we all continued on to Chile to meet my dad. Good old Dad was originally supposed to come to LA too, but sadly he’d had a little trouble having his ESTA granted in time due to a minor legal altercation involving a spot of home gardening.
Naturally, the night between the two airport visits, my only qualification for my accommodation was proximity to LAX. At just $40 a night for two people – including a buffet dinner and free airport transfers every 15 minutes – Los Angeles Adventurer All Suite Hotel seemed too good to be true.
After being checked in by a teen with hoop earrings larger than her head and the IQ of a donut, we were given a small tour of the common areas before being ushered to our room. The courtyard took the pride of place, featuring a swimming pool (heated, presumably due to its acidity levels), a tasteful blow-up Santa and some old carnie’s popcorn machine full of complimentary unpopped kernels. A number of guests lay about in deck chairs zonked out on Valium whilst their neglected children developed radiation sickness in the bright green water.
The buffet dinner was on offer in a den carpeted in a beautiful pattern of ciggie burns for a generous 30 minutes each night. It consisted of a pyramid of cold white rice and a pyramid of corn chips. Once that was over, the in-house restaurant and room service offered a range of caloric treats, from hot chips to hot chip sandwiches.
The hotel’s WiFi didn’t work (presumably a tactical move to prevent guests from live-blogging their stays), but there was free porn, which would normally have been a bonus, but as it was just my brother and I, it was more just awkward. We did enjoy the light winter’s breeze that circulated the room through the smashed window panes, however.
After deciding that we felt like treating ourselves to a slightly more exotic meal than what was on offer at the hotel, my brother and I strolled into the lobby to ask about the surrounding restaurants.
“You can’t go outside here,” the receptionist said through her gum in a bored drawl. “Ya’ll white.”
Deeply skeptical, we chose to ignore her and instead strode across the road to a pizza place and Chinese takeaway. Before we could order, a local youth in pants so baggy his whole family could’ve lived in them approached us and asked us if we wanted to buy some weed. I personally couldn’t have thought of a safer and more productive way we could spend our first night in Inglewood, so ordered some fried rice and a meatlovers whilst my brother went for a walk with the guy for roughly 45 minutes. Just as I was about to report him as a missing person, the two of them returned with red eyes and ganja grins.
“We need to get papers,” Sam said, so we shuffled over to a minimart. The storeowner laughed as he handed us over a packet. “For weed?” he said, smiling warmly. I was beginning to like this place.
With not a hair on our heads harmed, we returned to Casa Inglewood and our cigarette-infused hotel room to get high as fuck and eat. The next morning, we waltzed into reception, onto the bus and into our mother’s waiting arms, vowing never to stay in the godforsaken hovel ever again.
But poverty and a lust for convenience makes you do funny things. After browsing hostelworld.com for some backpackers with free airport shuttles in December last year, fellow hobos Kelsi Barris, Laura Olds and I stumbled upon the All Star Suites Hotel and Adventurer Hostel. Yes – a slight tweak to their name has seen them enter the realm of hobo territory. For a laugh and a Christmas treat, we decided to book a triple-share room the night before our 11am flight to Mexico.
Although the intelligence of the staff has since diminished even further, I am pleased to report that the buffet has increased its repertoire to include potato gems, the pool has been cleaned and the internet is up and running at dial-up speeds. The girls even described the place as “fine”, “okay” and “not as bad as they expected”, and we had a fun night fake tanning, making a gingerbread house and realising at 9pm that our flight was actually at 11pm that night as opposed to 11am the following morning. But it didn’t even matter, because the transfers run every 15 minutes 24 hours a day.
So while this underrated gem may not have the highest rating in terms of luxury, you’ll have had more than enough of stars if you’ve been anywhere near the Walk of Fame. And while booking.com may have only afforded it a two, we give it five out of five.