Santa Monica resorts and hotels are among the best in Los Angeles. What sets these resorts apart, however, is location, elegance, and top-notch customer service. Santa Monica has set the bar on sophisticated beachside dining - and knows how to keep things going well into the evening.
Not to be outdone by their Hollywood and Beverly Hills counterparts, many hotels are transformed by night into hot spots with exclusive bars, restaurants, and rooftop clubs catering to the hip and trendy patrons.
The Santa Monica resorts and beach hotels below offer superb accommodations, stellar sea views, and impeccable service, each with a uniquely Santa Monica vibe.
Home on the sea (as the name Casa del Mar is loosely translated to mean) neatly sums up the very best things about historic, regal Casa del Mar: Its unbeatable location, steps from the sand and sea. Casa del Mar is one of my very favorite places to visit for its cozy lobby bar - a great place to enjoy a curated cocktail while watching the sun melt into the Pacific.
The hotel's interior is elegant, beach-chic decor, with sweeping views of the Pacific throughout. It is rather aptly named: It does feel like a casa - a luxurious home away from home. Read more about Casa del Mar here.
The historic Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows sits atop the scenic bluffs of Ocean Avenue, overlooking the Pacific Ocean below. This elegant hotel takes privacy and service to a whole new level - even for Santa Monica. It's one of the best Santa Monica resorts, rich in history and ambiance, a perfect pairing that keeps political and business titans, along with Hollywood's A-list, coming back, year after year.
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. They came for the peace - and kept coming back for the lovely grounds, the impeccably appointed guest rooms and bungalows, and the million-dollar beach views. More about the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows here.
When the Georgian Hotel, with its whimsical, colorful facade and art deco design, opened its doors in 1933, it quickly became a favorite 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 at the Georgian - this although the hotel had opened during prohibition.
Today, that verandah is still a draw for big-screen stars and media moguls, who come to savor the fresh ocean air, elegant surrounds, and laid-back beach attitude that permeates the Georgian. It feels like a world away from Tinseltown. The location may have something to do with that - it's a 9-minute walk from the Santa Monica Pier and beaches - and across from Palisades Park's oceanfront.
Rooms at the Georgian feature dark wood furniture, richly colored walls, period fixtures, and goose-down bedding. Some have ocean views. A chic restaurant with a bar offers eclectic, globally-inspired fare, and there's also a gym and (in keeping with the hotel's history) a speakeasy. More about The Georgian Hotel here.
The 1939 art deco Hotel Shangri-la is an elegant oasis just a short walk from The Santa Monica Promenade and Santa Monica Pier. The hotel's chic, minimalist rooms (some with ocean views) feature period fixtures, hardwood floors, and marble baths.
The hotel's restaurant features a popular New American menu, emphasizing farm-to-table fare. The Georgian's indoor/outdoor rooftop bar, which serves light bites, is a favorite sunset spot for visitors and locals. The courtyard pool has private cabanas, and there is a poolside spa offering massages, facials, and meditation classes. More about the Hotel Shangri-la here.
The upscale, art deco Huntley Hotel is on a quiet residential street, just a short walk from shopping on the 3rd Street Promenade and Santa Monica State Beach and Pier. The Huntley's elegant rooms feature glamorous touches such as tufted headboards and designer toiletries. Sophisticated suites add soaking tubs and living rooms with leather chairs or pull-out sofas.
California cuisine is served in the trendy Penthouse restaurant on the top floor which is also home to a lively bar. More about the Huntley Hotel here.
Loews Santa Monica Beach is a 7-minute walk from the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. The hotel features modern rooms with fresh color schemes; all have step-out balconies, some with ocean views. Upgraded rooms add poolside cabanas and patios with fire pits. Luxe suites offer living rooms; most have furnished patios or balconies.
There's a California-cuisine restaurant with ocean views and two sophisticated lounges, including a buzzy tapas bar. There's also a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, chic spa with oxygen treatments, and fitness room. More about Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel here.
This elegant, cottage-style resort with grey shingled siding, flower-covered trellises, and cabana-striped awnings channels Cape Cod in all its glory. Shutters on the Beach is set along Santa Monica State Beach, a short walk from the Santa Monica Pier and the shops and restaurants of the Third Street Promenade.
Guestrooms at Shutters are airy and refined, most with balconies and marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. Upgraded rooms add ocean views, and suites feature living rooms with fireplaces.
There is a casual beachfront cafe and bar, a lobby lounge, and a seasonal outdoor pool and hot tub, a spa, and a fitness center. More about Shutters on the Beach here.
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. More about the Viceroy Santa Monica here.
How does a beach city of 8.3 walkable square miles and a vast, 3.5-mile stretch of coastline play host to many luxury resorts and hotels? Even more curious is how they blend perfectly into the landscape and how celebrities worldwide come to these resorts and boutique hotels with little fanfare.
How does Santa Monica pull this off? Magic.