The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica offers a heady mix of city and beach life
Santa Monica offers a heady mix of city and beach life | © Matthew LeJune / Unsplash
Alex Temblador

Few places epitomize Southern California as completely as Santa Monica‘s combination of city life and laid-back beach vibes. As far as accommodation, this city is not short on luxury, and the area’s boutique stays boast everything from beachside spas to noteworthy restaurants. Here are seven of Santa Monica’s best boutique hotels to try on your next California visit.

1. Georgian Hotel, for art deco character

Boutique Hotel

The blue exterior of The Georgian Hotel with stripy awning
© The Georgian Hotel / Shutterstock

This grand old lady of Santa Monica has been welcoming guests since 1933. Her face hasn’t changed much since then, still turquoise and sunshine-yellow with art deco flourishes on show. A striped awning shades the cafe bistro seating, facing the promenade – the perfect spot for a tipple and Mediterranean-style tapas beneath stringed lights as you watch the world go by. Want to get closer to the beach? No problem, the concierge team can arrange a deluxe picnic for you. Sleek and modern rooms are a far cry from the vintage facade, most boasting ocean views for miles.

2. Hotel Erwin, for playful interiors

Boutique Hotel

Private balconies with yellow chairs overlooking the beach and ocean at Hotel Erwin
Courtesy of Hotel Erwin /

A rooftop terrace with views of the ocean and a bohemian and eclectic interior; Hotel Erwin captures the spirit of Venice Beach. Funky-chic rooms come with ocean or city views and the suites have stylish mid-century seating areas. If you really want to splash out on something unique, the Red Bull Dogday suite has its own foosball table, oceanview balcony, and graffiti-style art inside. When it comes to sundowners, there’s probably no better spot in Venice than Hotel Erwin’s rooftop bar, as the sky streaks purple and pink over the water.

3. The Kinney - Venice Beach, for a festival feel

Boutique Hotel

Inner courtyard with bar with a neon sign and pool at The Kinney - Venice Beach
Courtesy of The Kinney - Venice Beach / Expedia

A bold, street-art mural on the side of this Santa Monica hotel sets the tone here. The hotel is set around The Quad – the ultimate hang-out spot in Venice Beach style. Dappled with stringed lights, there’s a festival atmosphere and the astroturf is furnished with beanbags and loungers, ping pong tables, and fire pits. Crash-pad suites and standard rooms are all bold and bright, dazzled with modern art, and all feature a minibar of pre-mixed craft cocktails. In the morning, the Breakfast Club’s breakfast burritos are sure to set you up for the day.

4. Viceroy Santa Monica, for craft brews and biking

Boutique Hotel, Luxury

Bright and modern room at the Viceroy Santa Monica with striped carpet and balcony
Courtesy of Viceroy Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Steps from the Pacific Ocean, this lavish hotel is a Santa Monica icon. Geometric artworks adorn the exterior and can be found scattered throughout the grounds. Cabanas are decked out like surf shacks amid the Art Deco pool scene. This is also where you find the main dining option, Sugar Palm, which offers craft cocktails and a menu of seafood specialties served under strings of festive light bulbs. When it comes to exploring the area, Santa Monica Pier and beach are just a five-minute walk away, and the hotel offers free bike rentals to get around.

5. Shore Hotel, for Santa Monica pier proximity

Eco Hotel

Bright room with a double bed against a turquoise accent wall, a flat screen TV, hardwood floors and a private balcony overlooking the beach at Shore Hotel
Courtesy of Shore Hotel / Expedia

While not directly on the beach, Shore Hotel is just across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, which is perhaps one of the biggest draws of this boutique property. The turquoise and brown color scheme, and the decor made from local recycled materials, are a stylish take on beach chic, while the fact that the hotel uses solar energy and drought-resistant landscaping makes this one of Santa Monica’s best boutique properties. It shows as much love for its guests as it does the environment, with in-room spa services, balconies with ocean views, and a taco joint on-site where guests can grab a bite after hitting the beach.

6. Casa Del Mar, for unique spa treatments


Beachfront outdoor pool at Casa Del Mar
Courtesy of Casa Del Mar / Expedia
Casa Del Mar has a beachfront location in Santa Monica, which is surprisingly rare in such a beach-centric city, but there’s much more to this boutique property than its setting. Walking into the lobby, guests are met with a sweeping staircase, iron chandelier, and stained-glass window, and further in, the soft blue and green decor has been put together by White House interior designer Michael Smith. Rooms have beach views and Italian marble jet tubs, though guests can also choose to relax around the guests-only pool or in the Terrazza lounge for cocktails. Extra LA luxury is on offer in the form of gemstone and diamond dust treatments in the spa and in the restaurant, which serves some of the freshest seafood on the coast.

7. Palihouse, for quirky décor

Boutique Hotel

Room with white and pink wallpaper, ochre carpet, an elegant bed and a private balcony at Palihouse Santa Monica
Courtesy of Palihouse Santa Monica / Expedia

Set in a building that dates back to 1927, the Mediterranean revival-style Palihouse Santa Monica mixes historic elegance with quirky touches such as antlers on the walls, armchairs with peach-printed fabric, pink domed poufs and tartan throws. Some rooms have kitchenettes – perfect for guests who are in town for longer stays – but you may not need to use it, as the restaurant serves impeccable plates of food, made from produce sourced at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.

8. Shutters on the Beach, for a beachfront location


Beachfront outdoor pool and loungers at Shutters on the Beach
Courtesy of Shutters on the Beach / Expedia
There are only two hotels with beachfront locations in Santa Monica, and Shutters on the Beach is one of them. It was designed by Michael Smith, so there’s a sophisticated vibe to the beachy decor, and the hotel has appeared in TV shows such as Entourage. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a boutique property special, and at Shutters on the Beach guests will discover priceless art pieces on the walls by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, an on-site sommelier (one of only 96 master sommeliers in the US), and of course, wooden shutters that open to spectacular beach views.

9. Hotel Shangri-La, for more art deco cool

Boutique Hotel

Modern bedroom with cream-toned walls, a spacious double bed with a silver headboard and a red leather chair at Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica
Courtesy of Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica / Expedia

Hotel Shangri-La, built in 1939, is an art deco property just a block from the beach and within walking distance of the Santa Monica Pier. The ocean liner-inspired architecture is just one Instagram-worthy aspect of the property, as is the outdoor pool framed by black-and-white striped loungers and pink towels. In the evenings, up at the Onyx Rooftop Lounge, SoCal comes out dressed to impress, but you can also forgo partying in favor of a relaxing day at the spa or a soak in one of the tubs if your budget will stretch to a suite.

10. Oceana Beach Club Hotel, for a true SoCal feel

Boutique Hotel

Modern bedroom with a white four-poster bed, navy patterned wallpaper, cream carpet and a private balcony at Oceana
Courtesy of Oceana / Expedia

Oceana Beach Club Hotel offers a mid-century beach house vibe. It’s a quiet and elegant beach vacation spot and doesn’t attract the party crowds of other trendy boutique hotels. The courtyard pool is a lovely place for a relaxing dip, while Tower 8, the on-site restaurant, caters to guests with farm-to-table SoCal cuisine. With only 70 rooms, it’s the sort of quiet stay where the staff remembers your name, and its small size means they can offer extras such as free yoga classes and guided hikes.

Suzy Pope contributed additional reporting to this article.
On a budget? Check out our pick of the best cheap hotels in Santa Monica, California, bookable on Culture Trip.

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