Luis Martin is a man on the go. Guests of the Travelodge Hotel at LAX can count on him to pick them up from the airport and, when their L.A. visit is over, to drop them off at their departure terminal in plenty of time for their flight. Martin first started working at the Travelodge in January 1976, back when it was called the Airport Century Inn. Hyatt von Dehn and Jack Dyer Crouch originally opened the property in the early 1950s as the Hyatt House. Jay Pritzker bought the hotel in 1957 and went on to found the Hyatt global hospitality company.
Martin began as a busboy at the hotel’s on-site restaurant, which was then known as Fat Eddie’s. In 1984 the restaurant became Denny's, which continues to serve diners 24 hours a day. When an opening to drive the hotel’s airport shuttle came along, Martin took the opportunity and started working the night shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. A few years later, Martin was promoted to a supervisor position, and he became bell captain in 1984 - a position that he continues to hold today.
The Travelodge Hotel at LAX is a 147-room, AAA three-diamond hotel located on Century Boulevard’s Hotel Row. Martin clearly enjoys working at the hotel. “Here they treat you like a family, you’re not a number like another hotel,” says Martin. “Everybody’s been here a long time. I know a lot of [guests] for 25, 30 years. A lot of them come back and say, ‘You’re still here?’”
The Travelodge Hotel at LAX is conveniently located a half mile from the airport, and only a few miles from the Beach Cities of the South Bay. Martin says, “We send a lot of people to Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice Beach.” When family or friends are in town, Martin likes to take them to the beach or go camping.
“It depends on what people like,” says Martin. “Some people like to go just to see the city. We send people to Hollywood - we have tours of different places in L.A., Beverly Hills, [Hollywood] Walk of Fame, [TCL] Chinese Theatre.” Over the years, Martin has noticed changes in where visitors are coming from. “Lately we get a lot of people from New Zealand, Australia, Germany. Also from Korea and China.”
Asked what he loves about L.A., Martin answers, “Weather. People. I love my job because I meet a lot of nice people. I love meeting people.”