Of all the hotels in Santa Monica, Casa del Mar has always been my favorite.
It's one of the few hotels in Santa Monica located right on the sand, is elegant but never stuffy, and is a short walk from all the city's best attractions.
It's the ultimate escape - a place to unwind the kinks of daily daily life, sink your toes in the sand and let the lull of the surf take you to your happy place.
The hotel opened in 1926 as an exclusive beach club and hotel where the partying was hearty and L.A.'s elite came to see and be seen - until World War II started and proved to be the ultimate buzz-kill for the elite playground.
It was quickly converted into a military hotel, and after the war ended, it never quite regained its following.
Enter new owners in 1999, who spent $50 million restoring the historic landmark to its former grandeur, creating an elegant and sophisticated European-style hotel.
Today, the hotel Casa del Mar remains a hot spot for a new generation, attracting trendsetting hotel guests and locals alike to its Terrazza Lounge for nightly happy hour drinks and delectable small plates and live music.
Weekends, electro-lounge DJs starting spinning at 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
Catch restaurant, overlooking the sand and sea, serves up market-fresh dishes for lunch, dinner, and brunch under the seasoned eye of Managing Chef Sven Mede.
"Our ethos at Catch is straightforward: source the freshest seasonal seafood and locally grown produce, and prepare each dish with refined technique, simplicity, and attention to detail," Mede says. "Great product means great food, and that's what our guests will experience here."
Dinner here, too, is always a special treat. Sunday brunch offers so many choices... but our personal favorites are the dungeness crab florentine and lemon and ricotta pancakes with blueberries and creme fraiche.
There are 129 recently renovated guest rooms including 17 suites, all with a style evocative of a chic, romantic beach estate.
Each room has high ceilings and stately windows framed by luxurious ivory sateen draperies with a dramatic arched valance, sumptuously dressed beds, and big, Italian-marble bathrooms. It's easy to find a room or suite with views of the Pacific Ocean, many with balconies.
While the place is historic, the technology here is state of the art. All guest rooms sport the latest technology, including flat-screen televisions, wireless internet access and an iPod docking station.
This is a pretty good overview of the hotel filmed by a recent guest and published on Youtube:
Rates start at $555 for a double guest room; $1,275 for suites. (Prices subject to change.) For more information or reservations: 800-898-6999; or contact the hotel direct at 310-581-553.
Visit Casa del Mar's website for more information.
Get a list of the Top Santa Monica Luxury Hotels here.