The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Santa Monica

The prime beachfront location of Shutters on the Beach is one of the most coveted in Santa Monica
The prime beachfront location of Shutters on the Beach is one of the most coveted in Santa Monica | © Johnny Jones / Alamy Stock Photo
Naomi Chadderton

Santa Monica delights visitors with the Santa Monica Pier, dreamy views of the Pacific Ocean, and sunny Californian weather. Whether you want to spend your afternoon lazing in a private open-air cabana by the pool, or the evenings sipping cocktails on a dazzling rooftop terrace, treat yourself to a relaxing stay in one of the best luxury hotels in Santa Monica. We’ve rounded up the best indulgent places to stay in the area, where there’s even the chance you’ll run into a celebrity or two.

1. Shore Hotel Santa Monica

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

An eco-conscious beach retreat in the heart of Santa Monica, Shore Hotel Santa Monica sits in a coveted spot on Ocean Avenue, directly across from the historic pier. As the town’s first and only upscale Gold LEED-certified property, sustainability is at the heart of everything at the Shore Hotel, where you’ll find a solar-heated private pool, locally procured recycled materials, and luxurious rain showers. For the ultimate experience, opt for a premier ocean view room – which comes with a large balcony offering panoramic views of sunny Santa Monica Beach.

2. Oceana Beach Club

Boutique Hotel

White four poster bed against a patterned navy accent wall, a blue velvet settee, a private balcony and other modern furnishings in a bedroom at Oceana
Courtesy of Oceana / Expedia

With mid-century beach house vibes tucked away on the north end of Santa Monica’s beachfront avenue, Oceana is the place for ultimate relaxation in a luxury setting. Housing a rarely crowded courtyard pool and an on-site farm-to-table restaurant, there are a total of just 70 rooms, so expect service to be delightfully personal. Health is also big on the agenda here, with an on-site fitness center, daily yoga classes, guided hikes, and weekend surf lessons.

3. Viceroy Santa Monica

Boutique Hotel, Luxury

Elegant bedroom with a large double bed against a wall with multiple mirrors, a green bedside table, a striped carpet, a writing desk and a private balcony at Viceroy Santa Monica
Courtesy of Viceroy Santa Monica / Expedia

This LA icon has long been a favorite for special occasion celebrations and limelight-shunning VIPs, and it’s easy to see why. Private, open-air cabanas flanking its two trendy pools are the perfect spaces to make the most of the sunny weather, as is its popular CAST restaurant. Rooms enjoy views of the ocean, pool, city, or gardens – the crème de la crème is the 780sqft (72sqm) Monarch Suite complete with Italian bedding, whirlpool, and steam shower.

4. Shutters on the Beach

Hotel

Outdoor pool, white sun loungers and a shaded sitting area decorated with blue cushions and towels just steps away from the beach at Shutters on the Beach
Courtesy of Shutters on the Beach / Expedia
Located right on the beachfront, Shutters on the Beach first opened its doors in 1993 and has been one of the best luxury hotels in Santa Monica ever since. The city’s most beloved spot for everything from seaside brunches to poolside basking, it was styled by Michael S. Smith, the interior designer who famously decorated the Obama White House. Reminiscent of the luxe quintessential cottages that line Cape Cod, expect shuttered doors, breezy balconies, and a sun-drenched pool surrounded by comfy chaise lounges.

5. Santa Monica Proper

Hotel, Luxury

Boho style bedroom with a double bed, a brown semi circle headboard, cork-textured walls, quirky wooden furniture and floor to ceiling windows at Santa Monica Proper
Courtesy of Santa Monica Proper / Expedia

The embodiment of California cool, the Santa Monica build of the stylish Proper chain of hotels combines contemporary interior design with the elegant bones of a 1920s landmark. The hotel oozes laid-back West Coast charm thanks to its effortlessly stylish rooftop bar and pool, and a relaxing, neutral sandy color palette. The spacious rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in travertine showers. Thoughtful extras, including Parachute Home robes, Aesop amenities, and Apple TVs for late-night Netflix watching, are the icing on the cake.

6. Channel Road Inn

Bed and Breakfast

Bedroom with single bed, an additional white sofa bed, a red dresser, a white writing desk, a flat screen TV and red decorative touches at Channel Road Inn
Courtesy of Channel Road Inn / Hotels.com

A quaint B&B hidden away in the leafy calm of Santa Monica Canyon, Channel Road Inn is home to just 15 individually designed rooms – complete with huge windows overlooking either its charming landscaped garden or Channel Road. Live the ultimate LA lifestyle with four-poster beds, roaring fireplaces, and private balconies in the upper tier rooms, which include homey touches such as fresh flowers, afternoon vino, and freshly baked cookies. There’s no on-site restaurant, but innkeeper Dominique is a whiz at whipping up hearty breakfasts to fuel your morning.

7. Palihouse Santa Monica

Boutique Hotel

Double bed with a beige headboard against white and pink patterned wallpaper in a simple bedroom with white bedside tables and french doors opening onto a private balcony at Palihouse Santa Monica
Courtesy of Palihouse Santa Monica / Expedia

Dubbed Santa Monica’s premier boutique beach lodge, this Mediterranean-style hotel is just blocks from the beach. It offers a range of rooms, including Grand Studio Residences with fully equipped kitchens, and work by local artists and photographers lining the walls. Plush tufted footstools in bright jewel tones, antlers, and paintings propped on easels can be found scattered around the guest rooms. Be sure to ask for a front-facing room that looks out over the gorgeously manicured garden.

8. Shangri-La Santa Monica

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

Harking back to Hollywood’s Golden Age of glamour, Shangri-La Santa Monica is an art deco lover’s paradise. Conjuring up pristine ocean views from some of its guest rooms and the Onyx Rooftop Lounge, head up to the outdoor pool where you can camp out in its luxe cabanas and black-and-white chaise lounges with a cocktail in hand. Relax as you watch the sun slip below the water and prepare for an enthralling LA evening ahead.

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