There’s plenty of reasons to love Santa Monica – it’s a rare spot in Los Angeles where you can easily go car-free while still enjoying glorious beaches, sunshine, premier shopping, and dining and maybe even some celebrity spotting. Not to mention a gorgeous stretch of beach, a beachfront amusement park at Santa Monica’s nostalgic pier and some stunning sunsets to top off your days. Santa Monica is quintessential California cool with a relaxed but stylish vibe. You can rent a cruiser bike and spin along the ocean with the breeze in your hair, try a surf lesson or take a yoga class on the beach.
Shop until you drop along the 3rd street promenade – Santa Monica’s buzzy pedestrian retail destination – is a place to see and be seen and is always entertaining with street performers along the mall. Montana Avenue and Main street have shops for all budgets and styles. Stroll the Santa Monica farmers markets – considered one of the best in the country for fresh produce, flowers, cheeses, and gourmet treats. And there is no shortage of arts and culture, with over 75 galleries, public art, and Bergamot Station Arts Center, which boasts over 20 galleries and creative businesses housed in an old train depot.
There’s always something to do in Santa Monica and it’s all easy to access by bike or on foot. There’s also plenty of stylish properties to call home base for your perfect Santa Monica stay – most are an easy walk to the beach.
Cool Hotels in Santa Monica
Shutters On The Beach – Laidback luxury in this Iconic hotel with oceanfront views
Shutters is an iconic property sitting directly on the beach with panoramic ocean views. The style is quintessential Cape Cod with white shuttered doors opening onto breezy patios. If a stay here isn’t in your budget, don’t miss sunset drinks from the living room. The hotel also boasts two restaurants – One Pico – which offers fresh California seasonal cuisine and their beachfront cafe, Coast offers a casual bite. The hotel also features a pool and outdoor hot tub. Treat yourself to organic wellness rituals at their inhouse spa, ONE.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows – Historic Elegance meets SO-CAL chic
The Fairmont is situated on five acres with lush gardens full of palm trees and bougainvilleas giving it the feel of a sanctuary. The property was originally a private estate, built in 1889, and was converted to a hotel in 1921. The rooms in the Ocean Tower are the most recently renovated and boast spectacular ocean views. The hotel restaurant, Fig, is a popular bistro featuring farm to table fare. The 32 bungalows are nestled in the gardens with private patios making them perfect for a romantic stay. Guests can enjoy courtesy transportation to the beach or borrow a cruiser bike from the hotel. The onsite fitness center and spa offer classes and therapies.
Viceroy – Beach Chic with a brand new look
The Viceroy is a cool place to hang out – with a beach-chic vibe and two outdoor pools with cabanas, you’ll want to linger there. The hotel was recently remodeled and unveiled a fresh new look and pool area. The in-house restaurant features fresh coastal cuisine in an inviting space. The hotel also offers beach yoga and a fitness center. It’s conveniently located a block from the beach and also a quick walk to great shopping and restaurants- or use one of the hotel’s complimentary bicycles.
Le Meridien Delfina
This property is a 15-minute walk from the Santa Monica Pier and offers a heated outdoor pool with poolside cabana. Enjoy a glass of bubbles upon arrival to start off your vacation. Select rooms have a view of the Pacific Ocean. Amenities include a glass of bubbles upon arrival, complimentary coffee service in the mornings, use of computers with free WIFI, car service, and loaner bicycles. It also offers an onsite restaurant, Longitude, for breakfast, lunch or poolside service.
Proper Hotel – New Beachy Luxury with rooftop pool deck
This new luxury lifestyle property boasts the only rooftop pool deck in Santa Monica with a bar and cabanas for a great view of sunsets on the Pacific. The hotel has three in house restaurants including Onda which boasts a collaboration with two James Beard award-winning chefs and rooftop bar and restaurant, Calabra, an indoor-outdoor bistro with Mediterranean and California cuisine with ocean views. The hotel Spa, Surya, highlights eastern-inspired wellness with Ayurvedic therapies with its own yoga terrace and fitness center.
The Georgian – Historic beachfront hotel with art deco style
This boutique hotel was built in 1933 and features original art deco style throughout the hotel and its luxury guest rooms. The property overlooks the ocean and is a short walk from the Pier and great shopping and dining options. The in-house restaurant, Veranda, offers breakfast and lunch both indoors and outside with a patio overlooking the ocean. There’s also a speakeasy downstairs for evening drinks.
Palihouse Santa Monica – Boutique Beach Lodge
Your elegant home away from home in Santa Monica, this boutique property has just 36 rooms that combine comfort with contemporary chic. Rooms include classic guest rooms as well as studio, one and two-bedroom suites which are perfect for longer stays. Most rooms come with fully equipped and generous kitchens, separate vanity rooms, walk-in closets and huge windows that make it feel more like a cool urban apartment than a hotel room. There’s also an onsite restaurant with an all-day menu featuring fresh items from the Santa Monica farmers market and a coffee bar, and cruiser bikes available to hit the beach path.
Hotel Shangri-la – Oceanfront Art Deco with Rooftop Bar
This Art Deco property dates from 1939 and has been a hangout for Hollywood throughout the years. It boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Pier. Don’t miss Suite 700, the hotel’s rooftop bar with open-air views of the ocean. Guestrooms are modern cool with neutral tones and a pop of color with decor that blends vintage and modern together perfectly. The suites include private balconies, full kitchens and marble bathrooms with clawfoot tubs. There’s a pool with loungers and an on-site restaurant serving fresh California cuisine.
Shore Hotel – Earth Friendly Coastal California style
This California chic property is also eco-friendly with LEED gold certification, green standards include their housekeeping practices, use of recyclable building materials, solar power and electric car stations. A quick walk from the Santa Monica pier, the hotel is bright and airy and rooms boast ocean views (garden and city views also offered) with private balconies. The hotel also features an outdoor solar heated pool, hot tub and fitness center. A $30 resort fee is assessed which includes complimentary champagne on arrival, morning coffee service, wifi, newspapers and use of bikes.
Oceana Hotel – Refined but relaxed luxury
This popular property features modern luxe decor and is adjacent to the Beach with some suites providing an ocean view. Guests will enjoy the outdoor pool with poolside dining or an evening cocktail next to a cozy firepit. The Oceana is a perfect beach escape with wellness in mind, featuring a full-service spa, personal trainers, fitness room and a range of activities from beachfront yoga, surf lessons, and complimentary beach cruisers. The on-site restaurant features innovative fresh cuisine by Santa Monica native chef Raphael Lunetta.
Huntley Santa Monica Hotel – Modern but playful with a rooftop restaurant
Great location with just a short walk to Santa Monica shopping, dining, and beach, this modern beachfront luxury hotel is a stunning home base for your Santa Monica adventures. The hotel boasts a rooftop restaurant and bar, The Penthouse, with panoramic ocean views., beach cabanas, California fresh cuisine and signature cocktails. The guest rooms are modern and clean with white linens, fresh decor, and spa-like bathrooms. The hotel does not feature a pool or spa.
Loews Santa Monica – Beach fun with oceanfront pool
This beachfront property features contemporary rooms with small balconies, some with ocean views and a large oceanfront pool. Enjoy dining poolside or at one of the 13 cozy fire pits with ocean views. The hotel restaurant, Ocean and Vine, offers farm-fresh California cuisine. Hotel amenities include a fully-equipped fitness center, poolside game area, beach amenities (towels, chairs, toys) and bike rentals. A complimentary shuttle service is also available from 11:30 am to 9 pm.
JW Marriot Santa Monica Le Merigot – Mediterranean Inspired Luxury Hotel
The hotel is inspired by Mediterranean hotels on the Cote d’Azur, France. This property features oversized, pet-friendly rooms with marble baths, luxurious bedding, and balconies with city, partial or full ocean views. Rejuvenate with a healing treatment in the full-service spa with pool, sauna, and fitness center. The hotel restaurant, Cezanne, serves global cuisine and the patio lounge is open for casual lunch or dinner.
The Ambrose – Inviting Craftsman-style Property
This warm and inviting property is located in a quiet residential neighborhood but is a quick drive to the heart of Santa Monica. The hotel also offers free transportation within a 3-mile radius of the property or guests can hire a hybrid car from the front desk or take a free bicycle to get around easily. The hotel is an environmentally friendly boutique stay with rooms that are light-filled and spacious with a relaxing vibe. Amenities include a daily organic breakfast, a 24-hour fitness center, and free wifi. There is a 24-hour in-room dining service with a healthy menu.
Carmel Hotel – Historic Classic Hotel
This classic California hotel has been welcoming visitors since 1924, with laid back hospitality. This modest hotel retains some of its Spanish Revival style. Less than 10 minutes walk to the beach and the Pier, the comfortable rooms feature Mission furniture and Spanish decor with modern conveniences including air-conditioning, wi-fi, flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges. The cozy lobby features a fireplace and wood-beamed ceilings for guests to relax. The Independence Tavern is a modern American tavern for lunch or dinner and is also popular for brunch with bottomless mimosas or happy hour.
Featured Image by Pamla J. Eisenberg