The Desert Sun
June 18, 2009

Dining, staying

The city's vision of maintaining the old while bringing on the new is most apparent in downtown's happening Pine Street. A little quieter during the day, the Art Deco area reverberates at night with hot dining spots and entertainment.

Another example of an excellent merging of the old and new comes in the form of Long Beach's first boutique hotel. Within an easy stroll of Pine Street and Rainbow Harbor, The Varden has been lovingly restored by owner Larry Black who broke the bank to keep the 80-year-old hotel as historically intact as practical, while adding luxury touches.

The original hotel sign greets you with “a bath in every room” and the surrounding area might at first say “boarding house,” but the interior reveals a painstaking restoration with a contemporary punch.

Guests enjoy an evening wine and cheese tasting, a morning continental breakfast and high-speed Internet.


The District Weekly
Wed. October 15


BEST STEP FORWARD: THE VARDEN A little over a year and a half ago, you could have driven past the Dolly Varden Hotel without ever noticing the 80-year-old building or its city landmark signage with the words “A Bath in Every Room.” Today, thanks to a complete overhaul of the property by Laguna Beach’s Urban Hotel Group, you’ll want to stay the night here—even if your apartment is only two miles down Third Street. Owner Larry Black painstakingly deliberated over small details—the shower curtain rods were cause for consideration—and the result is a quaint boutique hotel (Long Beach’s first) that is as cute as it is refreshing. Finally, someone got things right down here: Take an old building and make it new with care and consideration (see the squeaky staircase, preserved during the remodel). Visitors enjoy complimentary wine and cheese at night, and continental breakfast in the morning, plus, Black says, a bed that’s five grades better than the Westin’s Heavenly Bed. Send visiting friends and relatives here, or take a night off and come see for yourself. Downtown has never—ever—felt so right. 335 Pacific Ave., Long Beach 90802. 562.432.8950.