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Review: Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

a beach with palm trees and buildings at night

A road trip from Monterey to Orange County, California, a free IHG Chase credit card night and newly upgraded IHG Diamond elite status gave me a reason to finally stop at the high-rise hotel located directly off Highway 101 and on the beach in Ventura. I had driven by this Ventura Beach hotel dozens of times over the past 50 years and often wondered what it would be like to stay there.

“It is the one property that everybody recognizes as they go through the community,” said Taylor. “If you don’t know of any of the other hotels, you certainly can see that one on the freeway from both directions.”

Opened in 1972, The 12-story Holiday Inn Ventura Beach Resort Receiving $8 million Remodel and Conversion to Crowne Plaza – August 17, 2005.

a large building with palm trees with Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel in the background
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Southern California greeted me with its familiar afternoon delight of crawling for 70 minutes to travel the final 35 miles from Santa Barbara to Ventura. Slow traffic meant watching sunset from the car rear view mirror rather than Ventura Beach.

a beach with palm trees and buildings at night
Ocean view from Floor 8 Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach.

Self-parking at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach is located in the public parking garage adjacent to the hotel at $10 per night. I temporarily parked in the valet parking lot by the pool for check-in and moved my car to the public garage after getting a room key card. Parking was charged to the hotel.

My first test of IHG Diamond elite benefits was to find out if we would get the choice for complimentary breakfast as a Diamond member amenity.

a piece of paper with black text
Crowne Plaza breakfast voucher
a menu with white text
IHG Diamond elite complimentary breakfast terms.

Kelley was very happy to hear breakfast at Moofish Cafe was available from 6:30 to 11:00am. She is generally not an early riser.

a room with a bed and a television
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach room 714 – two queen beds.
a bed with white sheets and a white towel
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Room 714.

Kelley turned on the air conditioner and set it for cold. Then she claimed the bed located farthest away from the air conditioner, leaving me with the bed subjecting me to arctically chilled blasts of air on my face. Needless to say the air conditioner worked fine.

a bathroom with a lighted mirror
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach bathroom
a bathroom with a toilet and a tub
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach bathroom.
a framed picture of words
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach bathroom decor
a refrigerator and a tv in a kitchen
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach microwave and refrigerator in TV cabinet.
a closet with a blue dress and swingers
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach closet with iron and board.
a swimming pool and palm trees on a beach
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach room 714 balcony view
a balcony with chairs and a view of the ocean
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach balcony

Aqua Bar

Aqua bar was happening with a bunch of people watching Ravens and Buccaneers Thursday Night NFL game. We had beer and food packed from home and settled into the room for the evening. Ice was available right by our room to chill drinks.

a sign on a wall
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Aqua Bar
a room with tables and chairs
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Aqua Bar (morning after).
a room with a large table and chairs
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Aqua Bar
a large mirror in a room
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach lobby mirrors

The ground floor lobby at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach had all the hotel facilities with Aqua Bar, reception, fitness room, computer center and Moofish Cafe. Floor 12 at the top of the hotel is an event space with picturesque views of the Pacific and vineyards on the hillsides. No pictures from me. There was a memorial service set up in the large room. The wall mural in Moofish looks like it depicts the view from Floor 12. 

a glass door with a plant in front of it
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach fitness room.
a shelf with towels and a water cooler
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach fitness room.
a room with treadmills and exercise equipment
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach fitness room.

The fitness room had weights and a running map for the beach area.

a group of computers on a desk
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach computer center
a room with a table and chairs
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach TV booth.

The coffee I made in the room was ruined by the package creamer that turned the coffee into a clumpy emulsion. Seeing the coffee station outside the elevators in the lobby was a welcome sight for a morning coffee do-over.

a coffee maker on a table
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach coffee station in lobby by elevators.

Moofish Cafe Breakfast

Last month’s brief opportunity for complimentary instant IHG Diamond elite upgrade motivated me to change my original booking from a Holiday Inn Express to Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach. The Diamond elite breakfast benefit is significant added value for my IHG stays with another 18 nights booked for 2022.

a sign on a wall
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Moofish Cafe
a plate of food with sauce
Surfers Eggs Benedict at Moofish Cafe
a plate of food with sauce
Shrimp omelette at Moofish Cafe

These $19 breakfast dining plates added quite a bit of value to our stay.

 Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach pool

The pool is located between the outside lounge area of Aqua Bar and the hotel parking lot.

a patio with tables and chairs
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Aqua Bar outside lounge
a pool with palm trees and a building
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach pool
a pool with palm trees and a building
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach pool
a building with palm trees
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach
a sign in a sand box
Life is Better at the Beach

Ventura Beach

a beach with rocks and trees
Ventura Beach
a walkway with Seacliff State Beach in the background
Ventura Beach boardwalk
a group of people in the ocean
Ventura Beach surfers

A lot of days surfing in California is just about being in the water.

a person in the water
Ventura Beach surfer
a tree with rocks and a sign on it
Haole’s Memorial Rock Garden, Ventura Beach

Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach hotel review


  • Hotel located right on Ventura Beach
  • All rooms appear to have an ocean view, higher floor the better. Rooms on north side of hotel for sunset view.
  • Outdoor pool and beach bar.


  • Train track is next to hotel and train horn blasts loudly as it passes. Really loud! 
  • Highway 101 next to train tracks and road sounds carry when balcony door open.
  • $10 parking at public garage next to hotel, but cheaper than most California beachfront hotels.
  • In 2020, Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach was a 25,000 points per night hotel. Reward nights tend to be higher now and frequently over 35,000 per night.

I used my Chase IHG Mastercard annual free night for this stay. The standard reward rate was 34,000 points and the best flexible rate was $298.34 after tax.



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  • Joseph N. November 10, 2022

    I get it. It’s all about location, location, location, and finding a hotel that has balconies is quite a find these days. The view looks great.

    However, that room looked really tight, especially for more than one person, and the breakfast didn’t look as good as what I get for free at HI Express.

    35,000 points? Wow, IHG has completely devalued their system. I don’t use my IHG Mastercard at all anymore, not even at IHGs.

  • Soren November 10, 2022

    Nice photos!
    I guess you managed to snag that recent short lived IHG Diamond promo. I was just too late.
    I have 2 x free Chase IHG Plat credit card nights in my account right now.
    I’m in Las Vegas soon to status match Caesars Diamond, so I’m using them at Palazzo on my way to Europe.
    Their good feature is they include all taxes and resort fees….so no out of pocket.
    Man… I hate resort fees.

  • Ric Garrido November 11, 2022

    @Joseph N. – I have eaten plenty of Holiday Inn Express breakfasts in the U.S. and they get pretty tired. In Europe I have had some good breakfast buffets.

    Never had eggs benedict or shrimp omelette at an HIX. The potatoes were not great, but not bad.There was a full breakfast menu of choices if staying longer than one night.

    Crowne Plaza Ventura room was fine in size. There was plenty of space for our luggage with the ability to move around. The photo showing one of the beds and bathroom does not reveal the large walkway space between bathroom and door where luggage could be placed out of the way.

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