Summer in Santa Monica

New developments in hotel dining, regional and local mobility, and bringing the Santa Monica experience to London

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 27, 2016) Summer in Santa Monica has become synonymous with sunny beach days, treasured outdoor entertainment options, and long balmy nights – all of which will be an inevitable part of the summer of 2016. Yet a host of new developments within the culinary, hospitality and transportation spheres signify exciting changes within California’s quintessential beachside city.

New in Transportation:

Regional and local mobility expand at unprecedented levels with the addition of rail service to the beach.

Metro Expo Line connects Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles by rail for first time in over 50 years
When Metro’s long-awaited Expo light rail opened in Santa Monica on May 20, 2016, it began providing rail service to the city for the first time in over 50 years. The Phase 2 addition of 6.6-miles of tracks between Culver City and Santa Monica now enables visitors and locals to take advantage of daily service between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Santa Monica in only 46 minutes, even during rush hour.

The completion of the 15-mile light rail line represents a significant long-term public investment in citywide transit, regional mobility and sustainability, and makes it easier than ever for Santa Monica visitors to base their stay on the beach while enjoying convenient and car-free access to many of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks and attractions.

Santa Monica launches first bike share program in Los Angeles
Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share program, launched in November 2015, gives riders access to 500 “smart bikes” at 75 stations citywide. This popular transportation option represents an important development in Santa Monica’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion while improving mobility within the city. Thousands of city residents and visitors have taken advantage of this new active transportation method to get around Santa Monica’s bike-friendly streets.

New on the culinary scene:

Exciting new openings and rebrands, the addition of high-profile chefs, and a continuing overarching commitment to farm-to-table dining has people buzzing about the Santa Monica culinary scene more than ever before.

Kris Tominaga joins Paligroup as group executive chef
Celebrated Los Angeles chef Kris Tominaga has joined Paligroup’s executive team as group executive chef. Tominaga will oversee culinary development and execution for the brand’s food and beverage concepts across all properties, including Santa Monica’s newest hotel, Palihouse Santa Monica. Expect simple and seasonal dishes on Palihouse’s in-house menu, such as chicken panzanella salad and roasted cauliflower with quinoa and almonds.

FIG Restaurant Santa Monica launches new menu and wood-fired grill
Executive Chef Yousef Ghalaini’s mastery of Mediterranean flavors received a new boost this month when FIG, located inside Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, launched a revamped kitchen, complete with an authentic wood-burning oven and wood-burning grill. Expect an emphasis on wood-grilled dishes from Ghalaini’s newly-introduced, seasonally-inspired menu, with new options like: angry Maine lobster, lamb merguez sausage pizzas, and wood grilled jidori chicken.

Gemma Gray returns to Santa Monica to helm Hotel Casa del Mar’s culinary operations
Spanish native Gemma Gray joins Hotel Casa del Mar as the property’s new executive chef, where she will oversee the kitchens and menu development of its two on-site dining operations, Terrazza Lounge and Catch. Gray brings a focus on Mediterranean cuisine with fresh Southern California farmers’ market produce, prepared with a combination of both class and modern culinary techniques. Gray joins Hotel Casa del Mar from the Andaz West Hollywood, but has previously held culinary positions at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and at Santa Monica’s Border Grill, where she learned from James Beard Award-winning chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.

New in the United Kingdom

Santa Monica at SkyLounge brings the Santa Monica experience to the heart of London
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism has transformed one of London’s most stylish rooftop lounges into its hotly anticipated summer residence, Santa Monica at SkyLounge. The new pop up lounge atop the DoubleTree by Hilton – Tower of London offers a taste of laid-back Santa Monica living high up within the rooftops of London. Visitors can take in views of The Gherkin, The Shard and the Tower of London while embracing the Santa Monica way of life in a space that has duplicated Santa Monica’s vibrant cultural scene and beachfront lifestyle. A healthy food menu, fresh cocktails, California beer and wine options and the replication of some of the city’s most beloved landmarks round out the Santa Monica experience in the heart of London.

Returning favorites:

Summer at Annenberg Community Beach House
Santa Monica’s Annenberg Community Beach House, the only public beach house in the country, recently rolled out its brand new line up of summer programing, including: adults-only Sunset Swims, slacklining on varying heights of lines set up in the sand, the annual Community Picnic and Cardboard Yacht Regatta, and daily rentals on beach essentials, including: boogie boards, chairs, umbrellas, and stand-up paddleboards. For more information, visit

Twilight Concert Series
Santa Monica’s favorite summer tradition and premier outdoor concert series will return to the Santa Monica Pier on July 7 for its 32th year. The annual Twilight Concert Series is a free public event that features a different band each Thursday night for 10 consecutive summer weeks. The impressively diverse line up allows concertgoers to enjoy a wide range of musical genres from a picnic on the beach amidst the stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Highlights this year include: Ohio Players, Save Ferris, Psychedelic Furs and Mayer Hawthorne.

ROGA on the Pier
ROGA on the Pier brings together two of Santa Monica’s most treasured activities – running and yoga – for a free workout one the Santa Monica Per each Saturday morning this spring and summer. The session begins with a 2 – 5 mile run along Santa Monica State Beach, and is followed by a guided yoga class at the end of the Santa Monica Pier. ROGA is the perfect way to find your zen and get in shape while taking in sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains.

About Santa Monica Travel & Tourism
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 2427 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call 800-544-5319 or 310-393-7593; visit; or email Follow SMTT on Twitter @GoSantaMonica or become a Facebook fan at


Contact: Jackie Alvarez
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism