Downtown Long Beach hosts millions of visitors each year, and is well equipped to do so; Its many big-name hotels play host to tourists, conventioneers, and locals looking for a getaway filled with lots of amenities onsite and predictability in services. You can go anywhere in the world and expect the same level of amenities and service from well-known hotel chains.

For those seeking a more personal travel experience that truly complements the uniqueness of Downtown Long Beach, there are several independently-owned boutique hotels which offer easy access to Downtown’s contemporary attractions while connecting guests with the flavors of our town’s past. These stylish lodgings have a way of making a guest feel like they’ve become a resident, somehow closer to the pulse of Downtown and in tune with its vibes from previous decades.

Here are three boutique hotels to consider while creating your travel itinerary for a visit to Downtown:

Originally built in 1922, the Metropolitan was re-built in the Streamline Moderne style after it was severely damaged by the 1933 earthquake. “Some people book a room at our hotel just to stay in such an iconic building,” said owner Nancy Downs. “We have only twenty rooms. By operating on such a small scale, we are able to have personal interactions with our guests and give them unique service.”

Located in the heart of the East Village Arts District, the Metropolitan is right at home among all the nearby dining, drinking, shopping, and entertainment possibilities, and is walking distance to Pine Avenue, the Convention Center, The Aquarium of the Pacific, and Shoreline Village.

Restoring the building to its original glory was a mammoth undertaking for Downs; When she bought it in 1999, it was “a flophouse,” she said. “Starting with the interior, I slowly worked on upgrading the units. We were already zoned for hotel use so it was just a matter of time before I took the leap.” Upgrades to the sprinkler and alarm systems, along with new furnishings, upgraded hallways, new paint, and air conditioners in each room were all part of the renovation process.

Downs’ efforts paid off. The Hotel Metropolitan is now designated as a Historic Landmark, and Downs will be receiving an award in May for her achievement in adaptive reuse. “There isn’t a room in the hotel I wouldn’t want to spend the night in,” said Downs. “We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Another East Village architectural treasure, the Hotel Royal was built in 1923 and retains its Art Deco roots. Recently, the 29-suite hotel received recognition from the City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County, and the State of California for its own historic preservation efforts.

“We learned long ago that guests visiting Long Beach want an experience as unique as the City itself,” said owner Victor Beauchamp. “To help create that, we offer six unique room types — such as apartment-style suites, kitchenettes, and private bath units — for any budget, which are decorated with works by local artists.”

The Hotel Royal gets consistently excellent reviews from satisfied guests on such travel sites as Tripadvisor and Expedia. “We work hard to provide a warm welcome and pleasant stay for every type of traveler,” said Beauchamp. “Our location, only three blocks from the ocean and Convention Center, makes us the perfect home base from which to explore the East Village and the rest of Downtown’s shops, bars, and restaurants.”

This imposing brick building at the corner of Broadway and Linden was built in 1928, the same year as its fellow Historic Landmarks the Lafayette, also on Linden, and the iconic Villa Riviera, which stands at the corner of Ocean and Alamitos. Guests from all over the world enjoy their stays at the Broadlind, known for many years as “the biggest little hotel in Long Beach.”

The hotel has an intriguing history; In decades past, the Broadlind was popular among visiting U.S. Navy officers, who would rent rooms for extended stays. During Prohibition, the basement, which now houses the Blind Donkey cocktail bar, was a secret gambling and drinking spot — a speakeasy! It is rumored that there is a tunnel connecting it with the Lafayette, which is directly across the street.

“The Broadlind is not your typical hotel,” said Lorraine Valez, who leads the hotel’s reservations team. “We offer a self check-in, European-style ‘ApartHotel’ experience for guests so they can feel like a resident of the neighborhood. We have utilized the original apartment layout, filling our 20 newly renovated rooms with the fine amenities of a boutique hotel.” Each room features a fully equipped and remodeled kitchen, plush bedding, a laundry area, and scenic views of Downtown.

Whether you are an out-of-towner coming to visit for business or pleasure, or a local looking for a new way to experience Downtown, these boutique hotels offer a distinctive, intimate alternative to the large hotel chains. They are highly recommended for those who wish to immerse themselves in the Downtown Long Beach experience and create special memories while doing so.