If there’s one special place you want to stay in Santa Monica, it’s near the beach. No other Los Angeles beach city has as such a great variety of hotels overlooking the Pacific Ocean. By Spencer Spellman
At the beach
One of the many things that sets Santa Monica apart from other cities is the number of hotels that are either directly on the beach, or just off it, perched on Ocean Avenue and overlooking the Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Ocean. Two of the closest to the water are the luxurious Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa del Mar, located just a couple of blocks south of the Santa Monica Pier, directly on the beach. Shutters' beachfront location features everything from oceanfront bar and restaurant views at Coast and The Living Room, a full gym and spa, to surf lessons and yoga on the beach. Equally as breathtaking and with historic charm, Hotel Casa del Mar offers some of the best views in town, whether it be from a hotel suite, the outdoor pool deck or dinner at seafood restaurant, Catch. Hotel room rates for both properties start at $500+ per night.
Near the pier
A few steps from the Santa Monica Pier are the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Viceroy Santa Monica. Like Shutters and Casa, these luxurious hotels sit just off Santa Monica Beach. The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel features an eco-friendly full-service spa with organic treatments, a heated pool and Jacuzzi, and beachfront restaurants, including Ocean & Vine. Rates start at $399 per night. The JW Marriott has a full spa and gym, while its signature restaurant, Cézanne, is an award-winning eatery that serves a California take on French-inspired cuisine. Rates start at $299 per night. Viceroy Santa Monica offers an ultra-chic getaway, with its poolside bungalows, and has been featured in numerous fashion spreads, movies, music videos, and guides to top L.A. dining. Rates start at over $300.
Offering a family-friendly setting in the heart of the action, Wyndham Santa Monica at the Pier offers easy access to the Pier, Santa Monica Beach and Third Street Promenade. Room rates range from $200 and above.
On Ocean Avenue
A number of Santa Monica hotels are perched on Ocean Avenue overlooking the Pacific Ocean and within a few blocks of the pier. From the Palisades bluff, they offer great Pacific Ocean views, such as the Shore Hotel. With rates starting at $325, this boutique, LEED Gold-certified Santa Monica hotel has made a name for itself for eco-conscious amenities such as low-flow water fixtures and recycled building materials. Downstairs, at Blue Plate Taco, enjoy outdoor dining while watching people stroll along Ocean Avenue. Nearby Ocean View Hotel offers newly renovated accommodations, with most rooms offering private balconies. Room rates start from $239 per night.
A couple of blocks north on Ocean Avenue is the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This Santa Monica hotel offers something for everyone, as there are luxurious hotel rooms in the 10-story Ocean Tower and 6-story historic Palisades wing, and 32 bungalows that are ideal for families or larger groups. Popular spots for dining and drinking can be found here, including FIG, which features local ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, and The Bungalow, a vibrant outdoor lounge with the charm and decor of a beachside cottage. Room rates start at $400 per night. A more boutique option is Oceana Beach Club Hotel, located on Ocean Avenue just steps form Montana Avenue. The beach bungalow styled hotel has 70 rooms and offers unique guest experiences like complimentary yoga classes in Palisades Park, summertime surfing lessons, beach cruiser bicycles to use and more.
There also are a number of boutique options along Ocean Avenue that sit within a few blocks of both the beach and Santa Monica Pier. This includes the Hotel Shangri-La at the Ocean and The Georgian Hotel, both of which boast Art Deco style that dates back to the 1930s. Each hotel is multiple stories, and each features unobstructed sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The Hotel Shangri-La at the Ocean has the added benefit of one of the best rooftop bars in Santa Monica, Suite 700. Rates start at $300 for both hotels. For budget hotel options in Santa Monica, there’s the Seaview Hotel, Ocean Lodge Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and The Hotel California, all of which are located on Ocean Avenue just a few blocks to the pier.
You don't need a car
The great thing about all of these hotels in Santa Monica is that they are not only within walking distance of the beach, but also the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. Thus, a car isn’t even required since all of these hotels are a five to ten minute walk from a majority of Santa Monica’s attractions, restaurants, and bars. Our transportation guide has additional information about using bus, bikes and walking in Santa Monica.