May faded into June and my husband and I so needed a break. It couldn’t be far, not longer than an hour’s drive away and it had to include salt water. With a number of choices, Marina del Rey beckoned to me. I really enjoyed my trip last year during the fall months. I love looking at all the boats. I imagine I’m on the deck, sipping wine, with the wind blowing in my hair. My own private Idaho.
This time round we stayed in the largest of the Marina’s hotels: The Marriott Marina del Rey. With an enviable location, just across the street from Mother’s Beach, the hotel offers both water and Santa Monica views. We had a marina view and could also see out into the open ocean. On the day we arrived there were sailboats with black and white sails dotting the water. It was so picturesque.
Our newly renovated room had a small balcony, big enough to stand and admire the view, and a separate seating area to read or watch TV, or whatever. For those of us who must combine business with pleasure (that would be us), there was a long desk with plenty of electrical and usb plugs for all manner of electronics. Speaking of electronics, the Marriott Marina del Rey has high speed internet and if you are a member it’s free! I wasn’t but signed up and got the free service myself. It was fast enough to stream a couple of shows on the room’s large TV and complete the work we needed to get done.
Marina del Rey has so many wonderful restaurants. They have some chains but many of them are unique. It was to one of these unique spots we were headed for dinner: Dear Jane’s which is the sister restaurant to Dear John’s in Culver City. What Dear John’s is to steaks, Dear Jane’s is to fish. With a menu focusing on the fruits of the sea, Dear Jane’s offers old school dishes like Trout Almondine, Shrimp Louie Salad, and Oysters Rockefeller alongside updated offerings like “Van de Ken’s” Fish Sticks, Caviar, and 7-Layer Dip and Blackened Big Glory King Salmon. It sits on the marina with views of the boats from both the indoor dining room and the patio area. We came on a Wednesday and it was packed! It was obvious that Dear Jane’s was a favorite with locals.
We began our meal with a Shrimp Cocktail for my husband and Dungeness Crab Cakes for me. The Shrimp Cocktail was redolent with large, chilled prawns and bright, tangy cocktail sauce. I managed to snag a bite of the shrimp and cocktail sauce before it disappeared. I loved the heat and tang of the sauce, it was definitely house-made. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, leaving them tender and sweet. The crab cake was accompanied by a celeriac salad and Cajun remoulade. I do enjoy a good crab cake and Dear Jane’s ranked right up there. It had plenty of crab and very little filler. I loved it combined with the Cajun remoulade which had just enough heat to make it interesting but not so much as to disguise that beautiful crab flavor. I also enjoyed the earthy celeriac salad, which grounded the dish.
Trout Almondine and Coconut Prawns with a side of Creamed Spinach were our dinner choices. My husband loved the trout with its nutty, buttery flavor. My prawns were a tropical treat on a plate. They were crusted in a crispy breading and topped with coconut, passion fruit and roasted pineapple. Each bite was a party in my mouth. We both loved the creamed spinach, it was awesome!
Back in our room it was a relaxing evening of streaming movies and sparkling lights across the water.
The following day we enjoyed a bit of breakfast from the M Club. The M Club is a lounge available at select Marriott Hotel locations. The M Club Lounge offers members, complimentary buffet breakfast, light snack throughout the day, and hors d’oeuvres in the evening. It is a benefit offered to Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador Elite members.
We also took the time to explore the beautiful grounds. On our stroll we discovered a fanciful fire wall with seating and many other fire pits and seating areas. It was shady and peaceful and a perfect place to relax and have a drink or read a book. Because of the weather the pool was deserted, which gave us free reign to explore the pool area. The greenery was verdant and there were plenty of places to sun yourself.
If you own an electric car (I was actually driving a Volkswagen ID4, the all-electric crossover) be sure and tell the Valet. Although they can’t promise it, they will do their best to put your car on a charge so the charge will be refreshed when you next pick it up. Ours was charged to 100%. Nice!
It was with great reluctance we prepared to return to the daily grind. I find Marina del Rey the perfect juxtaposition between beachy lifestyle and urban sophistication.
Marina del Rey Marriott: 4100 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey
(310) 301-3000, www.marriott.com
Dear Jane’s: 13950 Panay Way, Marina del Rey
(310) 301-6442, www.dearjanesla.com