Known for its beaches that line the Pacific Ocean, its endless sunshine, its relaxed lifestyle, its endlessly popular 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 cool and unusual hotels in Santa Monica…
1. Palihouse Santa Monica – an elegant and hip boutique beach lodge infused with Mediterranean spirit
Palihouse Santa Monica is equal parts contemporary and historical. Its newly remodelled interiors retain the artefacts of its glorious past including antique Mediterranean furniture, tartan throws, deer antler wall decorations, and quirky prints all over the place.
But make no mistake, this place is ultra-modern – rainfall showers, fridges bursting with gourmet snacks, top-of-the range multimedia systems, just to name a few, guarantee an enjoyable stay. The hotel provides 38 rooms and each boasts its own unique features such as fireplaces or patios.
Your choices range through studios, guest rooms, and suites with fully equipped kitchenettes, so whether you plan to spend a night or the whole summer, Palihouse Santa Monica has got you covered.
- To book, check prices or availability for Palihouse Santa Monica
2. Ambrose Hotel – an eco-friendly craftsman-style hotel located in a tranquil residential area
Ambrose tops the charts of eco-friendly hotels in Santa Monica. Everything from its interiors and amenities to dining options was designed with sustainability and guests’ well-being in mind.
Filled with natural light, rooms are bristling with rich wood accents, nature-inspired colours, and comfy furniture. To help you find your way around, the hotel provides free shuttles, bicycles, and even an electro car. Looking for a way to relax and unwind? An on-site fitness centre and superb library are at your disposal.
Ambrose Hotel takes pride in its dining options – they are available 24/7 and include organic, healthy, and California-grown foods.
- To book, check prices or availability for Ambrose Hotel
3. Santa Monica Proper Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels – an upscale, trendy and chic hotel that blends history and modernity
This hotel is right up your alley if you adore modern chic with a touch of history. Housed in a century-old building, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, garden terraces, private balconies, luxurious marble suites, and vintage furniture.
At the same time, it provides everything a person of the 21 century could wish for – a state-of-the-art fitness centre, yoga terrace, Ayurvedic treatment at a spa, award-winning bars and restaurants (Calabara Rooftop is a must-visit), and even a rooftop pool deck.
There is much to do and to see just outside Santa Monica Proper Hotel – thanks to its location on Wilshire Avenue, you’ll have easy access to a slew of experiences including shopping, wine and dining, along with multiple outdoor activities.
- To book, check prices or availability for Santa Monica Proper Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels
4. Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel – one of the best resorts in Santa Monica where guests can appreciate panoramic views
Dream of admiring breathtaking sunsets without leaving the comfortable confines of your hotel room? Then Loews Beach Hotel is exactly the right place.
Situated next to Santa Monica Pier, its rooms overlooking the Pacific let you take in marine views in all their glory. But you can do much more than chill in your room (although it’s hard not to enjoy these cosy interiors in nature-inspired colours).
Soak up the sun at a pool, sip an exquisite cocktail, enjoy ice cream at a poolside shop, spend an evening at one of 13 fire pits, or go down a private path straight to the beach – your options are countless and most enjoyable.
- To book, check prices or availability for Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
5. Viceroy Santa Monica – a lavish and very Instagrammable resort that features fine amenities and chic settings
Do you wish to wake up to breathtaking sea views? Do you enjoy romantic dinners under string lights? Do you want to indulge yourself in mouth-watering dishes and craft beverages? Viceroy Santa Monica ticks all the boxes. Even more, this newly-renovated oceanfront hotel transports its visitors into an art-packed space decked out with original artworks.
Its modern pool area is dotted with palm trees and open-air cabanas decorated a-la So-Cal. Here you will also find the highly-acclaimed Sugar Palm restaurant and a fancy poolside bar. Santa Monica Pier is just outside the grounds, and if you’d like to explore the surroundings, don’t hesitate to make use of free bike rentals available at the front desk.
- To book, check prices or availability for Viceroy Santa Monica
6. Shore Hotel – a cool and environmentally friendly place to stay that offers oceanfront rooms perfect for Millenials and Gen Zs
Being true to its name, Shore Hotel sits just a short walk from the beach and Santa Monica Pier. The hotel is soaked in sea-inspired turquoise and sandy colours with an abundance of recycled materials. The lovely light-filled rooms feature private balconies (your choices are sea, garden, and city view rooms), custom furniture, and high-tech amenities.
One step outside your room, and you’ll bump into a heated pool, a scattering of local drought-tolerant plants, and a restaurant serving the best tacos money can buy. Shore Hotel is also an eco-friendly place making the most of renewable recourses – it has the LEED certificate to prove that.
- To book, check prices or availability for Shore Hotel Santa Monica
7. Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows – one of the most Instagrammable hotels in the heart of Santa Monica
Although it sits in the bustling area just a few minutes away from Santa Monica Beach Park, its five acres of gardens will shield you from the hustle and bustle of America’s finest resort. It was originally built as a private estate, so the echoes of its past will pursue you every step of the way.
A recent renovation took the sense of luxury even further yet managed to bring chill-out vibes. The hotel is comprised of nearly 300 suites, rooms, and bungalows as well as a pool area, wellness centre, and spa set amid a lush garden. The on-site FIG restaurant offers five-star gastronomic experiences that make the most of fresh, organically grown, and locally-sourced ingredients.
- To book, check prices or availability for Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
8. Shutters On The Beach – a chic beachfront hotel that offers a unique experience
Otherwise known as Hollywood’s Beach Hotel, it is a drag for celebrities of every calibre. It is a hotspot for a reason – only a few hotels sit directly on the beach, and Shutters is one of them. But location is not the only thing that sets it apart.
Have you ever dreamed of exploring the world of wines with your personal sommelier? Or maybe spa procedures tickle your fancy? Or perhaps you like basking in the sun and floating in a picturesque pool? Shutters on the Beach answers the call for luxury leisure experiences. As a cherry upon cherries, it has three premier restaurants and bars.
- To book, check prices or availability for Shutters On The Beach
9. Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts – easily one of the coolest hotels to stay in Santa Monica, perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
Oceana Santa Monica takes cues from the Mediterranean style of the 1950s, adds just the right amount of So-Cal, and throws cutting-edge amenities into the mixture to become catnip for beach enthusiasts.
Once on the premises, you cannot help but notice the spirit of Italy floating in the air. It all starts with a glass of complimentary Prosecco at check-in, persists through lavishly decorated interiors, and ends with al fresco wine and dining including pizza, pasta, and everything we love Italian cuisine for.
Rooms dominated by pastel colours feature balconies and marble walk-in showers, and a beautiful pool area lends itself to spending your vacation at leisure. If that’s not enough, a wide selection of extras ranging from guided hikes to surf classes puts Oceana Santa Monica in a league of its own.
- To book, check prices or availability for Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts
10. Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica – a fabulous art deco themed vacation spot that welcomes pets
Thanks to geometric shapes pervasive through its interiors, Le Meridien Delfina is a paragon of neo Art Deco style. Its calmly coloured rooms are complete with bold accents whether it be cushions featuring geometric patterns, museum-worthy artworks, or retro-looking pieces of furniture.
A heated outdoor pool trimmed with comfy sunbeds and cosy cabanas is an ideal place for lazing a day away.
When it comes to dining experiences, Longitude, the onsite restaurant, serves gastronomic delights from dusk till dawn, and if you fancy something new, Le Meridien Delfina is only 15 minutes away from Santa Monica Pier and everything it has to offer.
- To book, check prices or availability for Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica
11. Casa Del Mar – a chic hotel where guests can benefit from deluxe facilities
When a White House designer puts his hand to Casa Del Mar interiors, you know that they are as sumptuous as they come. Your eyes will be glued to the rich green and blue detailing accentuating classic furniture as well as pieces of art courtesy of local artists.
A lobby greets visitors with a stunning curved staircase, stained glass windows, and splendid chandeliers referring to extravagant estates of the bygone eras. The amenities are capable of pleasing even the pickiest guests – an outdoor pool, spa offering diamond dust procedures, exquisite seafood specialities, marble bathrooms, and all this jazz.
Last but not least, Casa Del Mar is among the few hotels located on the beach, so jaw-dropping ocean views are guaranteed.
- To book, check prices or availability for Casa Del Mar Santa Monica
12. The Georgian Hotel – an upscale art deco hotel dating from 1933 walking distance from the beach
Erected in 1933, The Georgian Hotel is the epitome of the late Art Deco style. It is impossible to overlook this gem even in the crowd of sublime counterparts – its turquoise façade attracts looks from near and far.
But you must come closer and enjoy its sophisticated embellishment. Inside, the hotel is surprisingly sleek and modern, although vintage tiles and geometric decors here and there speak volumes of its glorious past. The rooms provide all the must-haves for a pleasurable vacation – plush beds, huge flat-screen TVs, mini bars, luxurious bathrooms with top-tier bath products, and of course, picture-perfect sea views.
A bistro-style restaurant Veranda serves mouth-watering meals and flavourful cocktails while a downstairs speakeasy lends itself to inebriating night outs.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Georgian Hotel
13. Bayside Hotel – a quirky chic hotel that offers a relaxed atmosphere with an old-school style
Looking for a hotel that is vintage-looking yet technologically advanced? Bayside Hotel located just a stone’s throw from Santa Monica Pier perfectly fits the bill.
You are sure to enjoy its laidback atmosphere while having the time of your life in its full-of-natural-light soft tone interiors. The best views, however, await you outside the rooms. A shady garden gently embracing the property lends itself to contemplation and saunters.
Upgrade to a suite and stunning sea views are guaranteed to arrest your attention day and night. The best part about this hotel is that it is surprisingly affordable, especially considering its prime location just a few minutes away from the Pier.
- To book, check prices or availability for Bayside Hotel Santa Monica
14. Hotel Shangri-La – a unique upscale hotel that resembles a cruise liner, ideal for a romantic stay
Built in the 1930s to resemble a cruise liner, this iconic hotel still retains the air of extravagance. Not only is its fancy shape but also its Art Deco design makes it the shiniest star in the array of spectacular Santa Monica hotels.
Shangri-La has undergone multiple revamps since it first opened its doors, so modern amenities are varied and meet the highest standards. You are bound to fall in love with the Instagram-worthy pool complete with striped sunbeds, statement towels, cosy cabanas, and fancy cocktails handcrafted at the onsite bar.
Rooms look as gorgeous as common areas but if you’re willing to splurge, take one of the suites – their stunning ocean views and spa-like tubs will leave the most lasting impressions.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica
15. Sea Blue Hotel – a tropical beach-themed hotel that is within close proximity to great attractions
Small yet diverting, the hotel strikes the right note with those who can’t get enough of So-Cal style. Its surfboard headboards are a nod to the wave-conquering culture.
Hardwood floors, vintage Hawaiian artworks, and mini-fridges filled with refreshing drinks cement its beach-themed aesthetics. To top that off, Sea Blue Hotel has a Spanish courtyard and easy access to the beach.
It is beneficially located in the very heart of Santa Monica, so every kind of leisure, shopping, or gastronomic experience is within a short walking distance. Are you a traveller on a budget? Then the hotel is worthy of consideration – it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
- To book, check prices or availability for Sea Blue Hotel
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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 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 rescued Greek 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, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.