Known for its beaches that line the Pacific Ocean, its endless sunshine, its relaxed lifestyle, its endlessly famous Pier, fine restaurants, and for being LA’s cute, bohemian little sister, Santa Monica is a place where you can sit side by side with Hollywood producers, sip on cocktails and watch some of the best sunsets on the West Coast.
The charming and alluring Californian spot is also home to some seriously gorgeous places to stay. From beautiful, intimate boutiques to sleek, modern, and sexy, here are some of the best excellent and unusual hotels in Santa Monica…
Palihouse Santa Monica
Palihouse Santa Monica is one of my favorite places—equal parts contemporary and historical. While staying at this ultra-modern gem, I love how the newly remodeled interiors seamlessly blend with artifacts from its glorious past. The antique Mediterranean furniture, tartan throws, deer antler wall decorations, and quirky prints create a unique ambiance.
During my visit, I experienced the perfect fusion of history and modernity. The rooms boast rainfall showers, fridges filled with gourmet snacks, and top-of-the-range multimedia systems, ensuring a delightful stay. With 38 rooms, each offering unique features like fireplaces or patios, the choices cater to diverse preferences.
Whether opting for studios, guest rooms, or suites with fully equipped kitchenettes, Palihouse Santa Monica has you covered. While exploring the options, I found this place to be perfect, whether for a single night or an entire summer retreat.
A blend of history and modernity
Fully equipped kitchenettes
Some rooms with fireplaces or patios
No onsite swimming pool
No onsite spa
Parking can be tricky
Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica is one of my favorite places, topping the charts for eco-friendly retreats. While visiting, I loved its commitment to sustainability and guest well-being. While staying at Ambrose, I experienced rooms filled with natural light, adorned with rich wood accents, nature-inspired colors, and cozy furniture. Navigating the area was a breeze, with free shuttles, bicycles, and even an electric car provided by the hotel. If you’re seeking relaxation, the onsite fitness center and a superb library are at your disposal—making my stay even more enjoyable. The dining experience at Ambrose Hotel became a highlight of my visit. Available 24/7, the options are not only convenient but also showcase organic, healthy, and California-grown foods. Eco-friendly and sustainable design Tranquil neighborhood for peace Complimentary shuttles and bicycles 24/7 organic dining options No pool Quiet location might not suit everyone Potential crowds at amenities
Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica is one of my favorite places, topping the charts for eco-friendly retreats. While visiting, I loved its commitment to sustainability and guest well-being.
While staying at Ambrose, I experienced rooms filled with natural light, adorned with rich wood accents, nature-inspired colors, and cozy furniture. Navigating the area was a breeze, with free shuttles, bicycles, and even an electric car provided by the hotel.
If you’re seeking relaxation, the onsite fitness center and a superb library are at your disposal—making my stay even more enjoyable. The dining experience at Ambrose Hotel became a highlight of my visit. Available 24/7, the options are not only convenient but also showcase organic, healthy, and California-grown foods.
Eco-friendly and sustainable design
Tranquil neighborhood for peace
Complimentary shuttles and bicycles
24/7 organic dining options
Quiet location might not suit everyone
Potential crowds at amenities
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
This hotel became one of my favorite places, especially if you love the blend of modern chic and history. Set in a century-old building, I enjoyed the floor-to-ceiling windows, garden terraces, private balconies, luxurious marble suites, and vintage furniture.
During my stay, I loved how it seamlessly combined historical charm with 21st-century amenities. The state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga terrace, and Ayurvedic spa treatments were fantastic. The award-winning bars and restaurants, especially the must-visit Calabara Rooftop, added to the overall charm. Oh, and the rooftop pool deck was a definite highlight.
Being on Wilshire Avenue, the Santa Monica Proper Hotel offered easy access to a plethora of experiences – from shopping to wine, dining, and outdoor activities.
Historic charm meets modern luxury
Stunning floor-to-ceiling windows
Upscale fitness centre and rooftop pool
Award-winning bars & restaurants
Some rooms are small
A little far from the beach
Not a great TV option
Viceroy Santa Monica
Waking up to breathtaking sea views, enjoying romantic dinners under string lights, and indulging in mouth-watering dishes and craft beverages – Viceroy Santa Monica has become one of my favorite places. The newly renovated oceanfront hotel is a captivating space filled with original artworks that truly elevate the experience.
During my stay at Viceroy Santa Monica, the modern pool area, adorned with palm trees and open-air cabanas, transported me to a So-Cal paradise. The acclaimed Sugar Palm restaurant and a sophisticated poolside bar became my go-to spots. What’s more, the Santa Monica Pier is just steps away, and the hotel offers free bike rentals at the front desk.
Romantic dining under string lights
Gourmet cuisine and craft beverages
Art-packed and newly-renovated space
Modern pool with stunning sea views
No coffee in the rooms
Breakfast can be expensive
I love Shore Hotel; it’s one of my favorite places. Situated just a short walk from the beach and Santa Monica Pier, the hotel immerses you in sea-inspired turquoise and sandy colors adorned with abundant recycled materials. My room was a haven of natural light, boasting a private balcony with a sea, garden, or city view.
While staying at Shore Hotel, stepping outside my room led me to a heated pool surrounded by local drought-tolerant plants. The hotel’s restaurant served the best tacos I’ve ever tasted. What’s impressive is that Shore Hotel is eco-friendly, harnessing renewable resources and proudly holding the LEED certificate.
Sea-inspired decor and recycled materials
Eco-friendly and LEED-certified
Oceanfront rooms with balconies
Heated pool and excellent tacos
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
Possible noise near the pool
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Nestled just minutes from Santa Monica Beach Park, one of my favorite places is this hidden gem that shields you from the bustle of America’s finest resort. Originally a private estate, the echoes of its past accompany you every step.
While visiting, I explored nearly 300 suites, rooms, and bungalows, all surrounded by lush gardens. The recent renovation elevated the sense of luxury, creating a perfect blend of sophistication and chill-out vibes. The pool area and wellness center provided a rejuvenating escape.
While staying at this haven, I fell in love with the FIG restaurant. The five-star gastronomic experiences showcased the best of fresh, organically grown, and locally sourced ingredients.
Secluded oasis in bustling Santa Monica
Rich historical ambiance
Extensive suite options
Exquisite dining at FIG restaurant
The elevator can be slow
Restaurants closed on Sundays
Shutters On The Beach
Shutters on the Beach, also known as Hollywood’s Beach Hotel, became one of my favorite places. It’s not just a hotspot for celebrities – it’s a beachfront gem. While visiting, I dreamed of exploring the world of wines with my sommelier.
The spa procedures truly tickled my fancy, and basking in the sun while floating in their picturesque pool was pure bliss. What sets Shutters apart isn’t just its prime location; it’s the embodiment of luxury leisure experiences. With three premier restaurants and bars, it’s a cherry upon cherries. I love this place.
Unique wine experiences
Outstanding dining options
Luxurious spa retreat
Attracts celebrities frequently
Rooms are on the smaller side
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
Oceana Santa Monica
Oceana Santa Monica quickly became one of my favorite places, drawing inspiration from the 1950s Mediterranean style with a perfect infusion of So-Cal vibes and cutting-edge amenities, making it a magnet for beach enthusiasts.
While visiting, I couldn’t help but feel the Italian spirit enveloping me when I stepped onto the grounds. The experience began with a welcoming touch—a complimentary glass of Prosecco during check-in. The essence of Italy persisted throughout. It was a delightful spread featuring pizza, pasta, and everything that made Italian cuisine unforgettable.
Staying in rooms adorned with pastel colors, complete with balconies and marble walk-in showers, was a treat in itself. The beautiful pool area added an extra layer of relaxation to my vacation. Yet, what truly set Oceana Santa Monica apart was the array of extras available, from guided hikes to surf classes.
Complimentary Prosecco at check-in
Stylish pastel-coloured rooms
Al fresco Italian dining
Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica
Le Meridien Delfina quickly became one of my favorite places, embracing the neo-Art Deco style with its pervasive geometric shapes. The calmly colored rooms were a delight, adorned with bold accents like cushions featuring mesmerizing geometric patterns, museum-worthy artworks, and retro-looking furniture that added a unique charm.
I found solace by the heated outdoor pool surrounded by comfy sunbeds and cozy cabanas. It became my go-to spot for lazing away an entire day.
As for dining experiences, Longitude, the onsite restaurant, offered gastronomic delights from dawn till dusk. I love this place for the culinary journey it provides. And if you’re in the mood for something different, the Santa Monica Pier, with all its attractions, is just a 15-minute drive away.
Immersed in Art Deco charm
Welcomes your furry friends
Bold accents and museum-worthy art
Heated pool with comfy amenities
Only one onsite restaurant
Decor may not suit all tastes
Casa Del Mar
Casa Del Mar instantly became one of my favorite places when a White House designer worked their magic on its interiors. The sumptuous details, especially in rich green and blue, beautifully complement classic furniture and local artwork that captured my heart.
While entering the lobby, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the stunning curved staircase, intricate stained glass windows, and opulent chandeliers that transported me to the extravagant estates of bygone eras.
During my stay, I explored the impeccable amenities that catered to even the pickiest guests – an inviting outdoor pool, a spa offering diamond dust procedures, delightful seafood specialties, and marble bathrooms.
What truly set Casa Del Mar apart was its beachfront location. Being among the few hotels right on the beach, every moment offered jaw-dropping ocean views.
Deluxe facilities and amenities
Stunning designer interiors
Opulent historic ambiance
Beachfront with ocean views
The Georgian Hotel
Erected in 1933, The Georgian Hotel is one of my favorite places, epitomizing the late Art Deco style. I love this gem; its turquoise façade grabs attention from both near and far.
While visiting, I couldn’t help but come closer to enjoy its sophisticated embellishment. Inside, the hotel pleasantly surprised me with its sleek and modern ambiance, blending vintage tiles and geometric decors that spoke volumes of its glorious past.
My room provided all the must-haves for a pleasurable vacation – plush beds, a huge flat-screen TV, a well-stocked minibar, a luxurious bathroom with top-tier bath products, and a picture-perfect sea view.
I tried the bistro-style restaurant Veranda, which served mouth-watering meals and flavorful cocktails. Downstairs, a speakeasy lent itself to inebriating night outs.
Timeless Art Deco charm
Prime beachfront location
Modern room amenities
Culinary excellence at Veranda
Limited parking space
Vintage elevator occasionally slow
Noise from nightlife nearby
I found one of my favorite places – Bayside Hotel, nestled a stone’s throw away from Santa Monica Pier. The vintage yet tech-savvy vibe immediately captured my attention.
While visiting, I fell in love with its laidback atmosphere, basking in the soft-tone interiors bathed in natural light. Yet, the real magic happened outside the rooms. The property boasts a shady garden, inviting contemplation and leisurely strolls.
During my stay, I opted for a suite, and the stunning sea views had me mesmerized both day and night. What amazed me most was the affordability, considering its prime location just minutes from the iconic Pier.
Vintage charm with modern tech
Prime location near Santa Monica Pier
Beautiful sea views from suites
Surprisingly affordable rates
Sea Blue Hotel
Sea Blue Hotel instantly became one of my favorite places with its small yet diverting charm, perfectly capturing the irresistible So-Cal style. I love the surfboard headboards that pay homage to the wave-conquering culture.
While visiting, I couldn’t help but appreciate the hardwood floors, vintage Hawaiian artworks, and the thoughtful touch of mini-fridges stocked with refreshing drinks. The Spanish courtyard and easy beach access were delightful surprises.
While staying at this gem in the heart of Santa Monica, every leisure, shopping, or gastronomic experience was conveniently within walking distance. I tried to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and found it to be a budget-friendly option.
Vintage Hawaiian artworks
Spanish courtyard ambiance
Prime Santa Monica location
Parking is very limited
Wi-Fi can be temperamental
Rooms are on the smaller side
Top 13 Cool Hotels in Santa Monica
Assessing Unique and Quirky hotels in Santa Monica
In the table below, we have compared the top 13 cool and unique hotels in Santa Monica. You can sort the table based on different factors, like location, distance from attractions, price per night, and restaurants nearby:
Hotel Name Location Price Range (per night) Fitness Facilities Distance to Attraction (Km) Nearby Restaurants
Palihouse Santa Monica 1001 3rd Street, $554-$884 Yes 0.1 23
Ambrose Hotel. 1255 20th Street $483-$622 Yes 0.7 19
Santa Monica Proper Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels. 700 Wilshire Boulevard $241-$1878 Yes 0.7 29
Viceroy Santa Monica. 1819 Ocean Avenue $593-$1849 Yes 0.4 23
Shore Hotel Santa Monica. 1515 Ocean Avenue, $486-$578 Yes 0.1 21
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. 101 Wilshire Boulevard $843-$2092 Yes 0.2 35
Shutters On The Beach. 1 Pico Boulevard $983-$2403 Yes 0.3 28
Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts 849 Ocean Avenue $1078-$3370 Yes 0.3 11
Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica. 530 Pico Boulevard $533-$874 Yes 0.7 26
Casa Del Mar Santa Monica. 1910 Ocean Way $845-$2874 Yes 0.4 26
The Georgian Hotel. 1415 Ocean Avenue $580-$1167 Yes 0.1 28
Bayside Hotel Santa Monica 2001 Ocean Avenue $293-$389 No 0.5 24
Sea Blue Hotel 1670 Ocean Ave $315-$361 No 0.1 18
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six-month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh-faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi-nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in the warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds, and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex-Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
Hotel Reviewing Experience – published hotel review in the 52 Sleeps Book organised by Laterooms.com and Lonely Planet. Asked by over 12 tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board, Canada Tourist Board, Eviivo, France.fr, Visitoostende.be, Live Riga and Queensland Tourist Board. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos.
I’ve also been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, LA Weekly, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, Daily Express, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and Metro. Winner of Travel Blog of the Year. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.