I love pretty much everything about the Huntley Hotel. I've had more enjoyable evenings and meals at the hotel's top floor restaurant, Penthouse Santa Monica, in the last four years than I can count.
I don't think there any other hotels near Santa Monica Pier that attracts as many locals as the Penthouse.
Maybe it's the white lacquer piranhas - lit by spotlights on the lobby wall - that sets the stage nicely for an evening that is anything but ordinary.
Maybe it's those divine furry white pillows on butter-soft couches that are so cozy to plop down on while waiting for valet to bring the car around that make it so memorable.
It's definitely not the scenic glass elevator that soars up 18 floors on the building's exterior to The Penthouse. At least for me.
I have this little fear of heights. I only get on that elevator when I absolutely have to - and then I close my eyes. (Everyone else says this elevator has one of the best views of Santa Monica around.)
The Huntley was built in 1964, and extensively renovated in 2008. While it appears to have kept much of its 1960s-era exterior intact, the interior spaces were definitely nicely retooled.
The common areas are open, airy, and very of-the-moment, yet with with touches of 1970s flashbacks (thick shag carpets, low tables carved from wood) that scream "fun". It's this combination of factors that place The Huntley on my list of best hotels in Santa Monica.
The Penthouse Santa Monica is on the 18th floor, and is home to panoramic 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean to the west, Santa Monica to the south, Malibu to the north, and downtown Los Angeles to the east.
The Penthouse is a slam-dunk when it comes to great meals, and features an upscale lounge and bar area that beckons you to sit a spell and enjoy an after dinner drink, while enjoying the city lights below.
The hotel has 204 rooms overlooking the Pacific Ocean, including 15 suites and one Presidential suite.
Guest rooms at the Huntley include:
Rate start at $339 nightly for standard room. For more information, contact reservations at 888-532-5155; or contact the hotel directly at 310-393-8080. You can also visit the Huntley Hotel website here.