The coastal city of Santa Monica pairs laid-back beach vibes with the amenities of a bustling metropolis. Travelers can get scuba certified in the morning, shop the Promenade in the afternoon, and enjoy a relaxing night with a Pacific Ocean backdrop. The area also has some of the best oceanside accommodations in LA. From breezy maritime inns to luxury resorts, these are the 11 best hotels in Santa Monica.
Shore Hotel | Courtesy of Shore Hotel / Hotels.com
Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel is as sustainable as it is sleek. Its long list of environmentally friendly features includes using solar energy, drought-resistant landscaping, building and decorating with local, recycled materials, and reducing water waste with low flow shower heads. Aside from being a green property, this chic hotel is just steps from the coveted Santa Monica Pier and blocks away from prime shopping at the Third Street Promenade.
There’s nothing facetious about the name “Shutters on the Beach” – the luxury hotel is literally nestled on the beach. The property offers elegant rooms with unimpeded views of the Pacific Ocean (and possibly some celebrity sightings). Though so conveniently shore side, visitors may find it difficult to leave the property at all – Shutters boasts exquisite dining options in 1 Pico, Coast, and the Living Room lounge, as well as ONE Spa for those who really want to treat themselves.
For those who want a more zen beach experience, the Ambrose Hotel is a calming retreat. Two miles inland from the Santa Monica Pier, the environmentally friendly, LEED EB Silver-certified property offers craftsman influenced decor, organic continental breakfast, an Asian garden, and complimentary car service within a three-mile radius. Because nothing’s more stressful than having to find parking in Santa Monica.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is an urban resort that blends relaxation and luxury with the vibrance of Santa Monica. The five-acre property is settled on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and the lush grounds make patrons feel like they’ve arrived in a tropical paradise. The accommodations range from garden and ocean view guest rooms to specialty bungalows, and the dining is top-notch. Even for those who don’t choose to stay here, the rustic indoor/outdoor Bungalow lounge is a must-visit.
Just south of Shutters on the Beach is its sister property, Casa Del Mar. Where Shutters has more of a Cape Cod kind of feel, this luxurious property transports its patrons to the Mediterranean. The lobby is decorated with Spanish tiles and ironworks, and the rooms are equipped with hand-painted armoires and bathrooms wrapped in marble. Dining options include Terrazza, Italian cuisine made with seasonal local produce, and Catch, which focuses on seafood.
The Viceroy Santa Monica is just the right blend of luxury and chic. Its 162 rooms boast ocean views without being right on the water (for an immediate aquatic fix, rent a cabana at the pool). This modern hotel also offers a gourmet dining experience at its on-property restaurant, Cast. And if your travel companion is a furry, four-legged friend, fear not. Viceroy is pet friendly.
The Georgian Hotel looks like it was plucked from Old Hollywood and plopped onto Ocean Avenue, and in a sense it kind of was. The eight-story, vibrant Art Deco property was built in 1933 and has been part of Santa Monica history ever since. During prohibition, its basement restaurant transformed into a bona fide speakeasy, and in the ’60s First Mother Rose Kennedy spent her summers at the Georgian. Today, the hotel offers a classic option in a city known for its luxury resorts.
Where The Georgian Hotel gives visitors an Old Hollywood feel, Oceana is perfect for anyone who loves mid-century, retro style. The boutique hotel boasts guest rooms swathed in greens, yellows, and blues, equipped with chess and backgammon tables and plants galore. Visitors can enjoy a dip in the courtyard pool while sipping a spiked milkshake, and dine at the hotel’s swanky restaurant.
Palihouse is an enchanting, restored 1920s Mediterranean garden-style hotel. Coined as a boutique beach lodge, the 38-room property offers classic rooms, studio residences, and two-bedroom guest suites equipped with full kitchens. The historic building acts as both a hotel and long-stay residence for those who are relocating or simply want an extended vacation. Though tucked away from the beach, Palihouse is only a mile from the Santa Monica Pier.
Hotel Shangri-La is an Art Deco lover’s dream. This historic hotel was built in 1939 and gives a nod to Hollywood’s Golden Age with curving ocean liner-inspired architecture. It is set across the street from the beach and walking distance from Santa Monica Pier, shops, and restaurants. The 70 guest rooms and 30 suites boast ocean or city views, but the best view of all is from the hotel’s Onyx Rooftop Lounge.
The Huntly is for the travelers who prefer sophistication and luxury over the breezy maritime resorts that are synonymous with beach towns. Though technically located downtown, The Huntly is just a block from the beach for those who feel so inclined to dip their toes in the Pacific. For guests who prefer viewing the ocean from afar, the 360-degree view from the hotel’s Penthouse restaurant on the 18th floor is absolutely breathtaking.