Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica is where you'll find Santa Monica beach hotels for every budget - from the don't-ask expensive to the shoestring budget-friendly.
This westernmost street in Santa Monica runs parallel to Santa Monica State Beach, and is home to the Santa Monica Pier; the Third Street Promenade is just two blocks east. Lodging in Santa Monica doesn't get any better than this.
So let's get to it - what are your options for beachfront hotels in Santa Monica. Let's start with 5 budget-friendly hotels (starting at $125 per night) and then take a look at 9 of the top Santa Monica beachfront hotels.
While Santa Monica is famous for its expensive beach hotels, the truth is that there are cheap hotels here, too - and some are even steps from the beach.
These 5 budget-friendly hotels will have you staying in the heart of downtown Santa Monica - for a song. (Well, an $125 nightly song for the least-expensive room.)
The Bayside hotels is a stone's throw from Santa Monica's best attractions.
Ocean views, courtyard, and economy rooms ensure these Santa Monica accommodations suit everyone's needs and vacation budget.
All rooms are non-smoking, and many have full kitchens. Nightly room rates start at $195 per night.
2001 Ovean Avenue; (310) 396-6000; baysidehotel.com.
Hotel California is a laid-back, beach-style hotel with 26 California-themed rooms (including surfboard headboards) just a short walk along a small private footpath to the beach and less than a block from the Santa Monica Pier.
The hip, So-Cal vibe and matching decor make the Hotel California one of Santa Monica's most popular places to stay. (Of course, having breakfast included probably helps, too.) Rooms start at $259 a night.
1670 Ocean Avenue; (310) 393-2363; hotelcalifornia.com.
Ocean Lodge has maintained its historically significant 1950s-style architecture for more than 50 years.
Today Ocean Lodge has grown and updated for today's visitors, featuring all the modern amenities necessary to meet the needs of travelers from around the world.
With a backdrop overlooking the Santa Monica Pier and beaches, the location is second to none, affording guests the best of Santa Monica at budget-friendly prices. Rooms start at $199 per night.
1667 Ocean Avenue; (310) 454-4146; oceanlodgehotel.com.
The Seaview Hotel is a 1950s art deco gem one block from the Santa Monica Pier and beaches on Ocean Avenue, one of the most convenient locations to access the city's best attractions.
The cozy rooms feature fresh colors, trendy furniture, and each room includes free wireless WiFi, a flat-screen television, and complimentary daily maid service.
Rooms start at $125 per night.
1760 Ocean Avenue; (310) 393-6711; seaviewhotel.com.
You probably noticed that the Wyndham Santa Monica isn't on Ocean Avenue. So why is it here?
In short - because it is right across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, the closest of all the Santa Monica beach hotels listed here.
The Wyndham's newly renovated hotel features rooms and suites with contemporary decor, ocean views, and modern comforts like complimentary Wi-Fi, HDTVs, iPod docking and refrigerators. Rooms start at $251 per night.
120 Colorado Avenue; (310) 451-0676; wyndhamsantamonica.com.
Cheap Santa Monica beach hotels are available - so be sure to compare prices and locations to find the perfect seaside place to stay during your vacation on a shoestring budget.
There are lots of other cheap Santa Monica hotels. But these are the ones closest to the beach that I can vouch for.
If you're on a limited budget, I'm pretty sure you'd be happy at the hotels detailed above.
These 9 Santa Monica beach hotels and resorts are the best of the best, offering superb accommodations, stellar sea views, and impeccable service, each with a uniquely Santa Monica vibe.
Not to be outdone by their Hollywood and Beverly Hills counterparts, many of these resorts and hotels are transformed by night into hot spots with their own exclusive bars, restaurants, and rooftop clubs catering to hip and trendy patrons.
In Santa Monica, it seems, if price is no object - you really can have it all. Here's a peek inside Santa Monica beach hotel stars.
Casa del Mar is one of my very favorite places among all Santa Monica beach hotels.
I love the elegant, beach-chic decor, its sweeping views of the Pacific from virtually every inch of the resort.
Its prime location can't be beat: Casa del Mar is just a short walk from both the Santa Monica Pier and the shopping and restaurants at the 3rd Street Promenade. Read more about Casa del Mar here. Rooms starting at $555 per night.
1910 Ocean Way; (310) 581-5533; casadelmar.com.
What's not to love about this decadent, historic hotel perched on the bluffs of Ocean Avenue that takes privacy and service to a whole new level - even for Santa Monica?
It's one of the best Santa Monica beach hotels; rich in history and ambiance.
Hollywood celebrities including Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, and Marilyn Monroe, regularly flocked to the exclusive hotel in years past, seeking a tranquil haven from fans and the prying eyes of the media. Read more about the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows here. Rooms starting at $356 nightly.
101 Wilshire Blvd. (at Ocean Avenue); (310) 576-7777; fairmontsantamonicacom.
When the Georgian Hotel opened its doors in 1933, it quickly became a rendezvous spot for stars of the silver screen and Hollywood elite, including lovers Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.
The notorious Bugsy Siegel and comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle had martinis and enjoyed jazz on the oceanfront veranda although the hotel opened during prohibition.
Read more about The Georgian Hotel here. Rooms starting at $270 per night.
1450 Ocean Avenue; (320) 395-9945; georgianhotel.com.
The first time I really noticed the Hotel Shangri-la Santa Monica was in the fall of 2008. It had just reopened following a $30 million renovation.
Today, the white, 7-story hotel is impossible to miss with its sleek, streamline modern architecture and Art Deco design.
But there's more to the hotel a than just a pretty facade, including a rooftop pool with a steamy social scene that's among the hottest places to see and be seen in Los Angeles. Read more about the Hotel Shangri-la here.
Rooms starting at $305 per night.
1301 Ocean Avenue; (310) 395-9945; hotelshangrila.com.
The French-themed Marriott Santa Monica (officially called JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot, but locals know it simply as the Marriott) is a luxury resort in the best of settings: It's just two blocks from the historic Santa Monica Pier and beach and a short walk from the Third Street Promenade.
There's a deliciously decadent European-style spa, an intimate lounge with fine wines and rare liquors; a fitness center, sauna, and steam room; to keep you busy when you're not lounging by the pool.
Read more about the Santa Monica Marriott here. Rooms starting at $399 per night.
1740 Ocean Avenue; (310) 395-9700; marriottsantamonica.com.
Loews holds the distinction of being one of Santa Monica's premier pet-friendly and family-friendly resorts. (It's home to Loews Loves Kids, a program complete with custom-designed activities, toys, and family fitness programs.)
You definitely won't lack for things to do here: You can take a fitness class (indoors or out) at the award-winning fitness center, relax at the eco-friendly Ocean Spa featuring organic body and facial treatments, or just chill beside the oceanfront pool.
Read more about Loews Santa Monica here. Rooms starting at $360 per night.
1700 Ocean Avenue; (310) 395-9700; loewssantamonica.com.
The Third Street Promenade and many of Santa Monica's best bars and restaurants are at your doorstep - and the Shore Hotel is nicely situated on a bluff overlooking the beach.
And you'll still have a room with a balcony and a prime view (ocean or garden). Read more about the Shore Hotel here. Rooms starting at $305 per night.
1515 Ocean Avenue; (310) 458-1515; shorehotel.com.
This New England-style cottage resort - with its grey shingled siding, flower-covered trellises, and cabana-straped awnings - channels Cape Cod in all its glory.
It also holds the distinction of being one of just two Santa Monica hotels that are right on the beach - with its next door neighbor, the equally luxurious Casa del Mar, sharing the honor.
The guest rooms and suites at Shutters are stellar; service impeccable and the ocean-view bars and restaurants unparalleled.
Your West Coast retreat with an upscale East Coast vibe awaits. Read more about Shutters on the Beach here. Rooms starting at $725 per night.
1 Pico Blvd.; (310) 458-0030; shuttersantamonica.com.
The 162-room boutique hotel (including 18 suites) is known today for its hip, local crowd, ocean views, and plunge pools with a sexy poolside scene.
It's also known for its funky decor. I'm talking yellow benches, kelly green armchairs, white porcelain dog lamps (yes, you read that right) in the guest rooms.
I've always loved the seemingly discordant decor for its sophisticated, inviting vibe that makes for a lively setting for sunset cocktails.
Read more about the Viceroy Santa Monica here. Rooms starting at $326 per night.
1819 Ocean Avenue; (310) 260-7500; viceroysantamonica.com.
How does a city a city with a broad, 3.5-mile stretch of coastline play host to so many luxury resorts and hotels?
Even more curious is how they blend perfectly into the landscape, and how celebrities from around the world come to these resorts and boutique hotels with little fanfare.
How does Santa Monica pull this off? Magic.