Los Angeles is a top tourist destination in the United States, of course, but it’s impossible to stay in a 5-star LA hotel and have an unobstructed ocean view. That’s because Santa Monica is in between the ritziest parts of Los Angeles and Pacific Ocean. Santa Monica, a travel destination in its own right, has several of the best hotels in the Los Angeles area, all of which stretch along Ocean Way or Ocean Avenue. Either on the beach or across the street from it, these best luxury hotels in Santa Monica have views that even the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills can’t match.
Best Luxury Hotels in Santa Monica, California
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows — A favorite luxury hotel for those in the know, the Fairmont Miramar is surprisingly hidden. Yes, it’s on Ocean Ave., but its Wilshire Blvd address may lead unsuspecting planners to think it’s not on that first street before the ocean. The friendly, professional staff, Exhale Spa inside, the mellow pool, and the bungalows (like small cottages) all add up to a feeling of being far from the city. One of the best newer additions to the culinary scene, The Fig at the Miramar is a delightful restaurant. Really, the Fairmont Miramar is a beautiful hotel.
Georgian Hotel — This was the first hotel I stayed in in the Los Angeles area. It’s since been renovated top to bottom. People who drive along Ocean Ave are familiar with the Georgian Hotel’s teal blue exterior, with a lovely frilled cast-iron veranda. Non-guests can partake in evening drinks on the veranda, enjoying the ocean view (and cars whizzing by on Ocean Ave). The immensely walkable 3rd St. Promenade is just two blocks away; of the top five, The Georgian is the best luxury hotel in Santa Monica with almost immediate access to this popular part of Santa Monica.
Hotel Casa del Mar — This luxury hotel is the first on the list to be on Ocean Way (rather than Ocean Ave). This means direct beach access, and no thoroughfare between the hotel and the Pacific Ocean. Hotel Casa del Mar really pampers its guests with top-notch service. It draws a somewhat younger, hipper crowd than the Fairmont Miramar, but the ambience is still classy, peaceful and relaxed. The bar by the beach is fun: the mosaic tiles and large lounge area add to the class and distinction here.
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel — Full disclosure: This is where I was treated to Mother’s Day Brunch for several years. The restaurant is indoor/outdoor and newly renovated. The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is large and modern, with a fountain at its street entrance and huge palm trees growing inside, in the atrium. Beach access is a snap — Loews is on Ocean Ave but crossing the street is easy here — and the staff is highly professional. The pool area is lovely and the Ocean & Vine restaurant has knock-out views of the Santa Monica Pier. At night, when the Ferris wheel is lit, it’s quite beautiful.
Shutters on the Beach — Want to see a famous actor during an upscale Los Angeles vacation? There’s a pretty good chance there’s someone in the entertainment industry staying at Shutters at any given time. Shutters on the Beach, on Ocean Way, is extremely luxury-minded, yet in the iconic California beach manner. The beach decor and feel permeates throughout the hotel: Rental bikes can be pulled right up to the ground-floor restaurant. This gives an easy-going California feel to the otherwise truly sophisticated, upscale hotel.
These are the five best luxury hotels in Santa Monica, California. A few very nice, upscale hotels that didn’t quite make the cut are worthy of mention as well, though. The Viceroy is a hip, trendy hotel on the other side of Ocean Avenue (not the ocean side). It’s most popular with young people who come to hang out at its indoor/outdoor bar-restaurant. Another hotel deserving of mention is Le Merigot. This luxury hotel is next door to the Loews Santa Monica. Done in a French style, and relatively quiet, Le Merigot is smaller than the Loews next door. Last, the Shore Hotel is elegant, modern, and designed to meet LEED standards. while When travel plans involve a vacation in Los Angeles, the best ocean-view hotels in Santa Monica are a recommended alternative.
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