Santa Monica Travel Guide
If you're not a fan of soccer, or football, and could care less about who's winning or losing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, then
shame on you, er, that's totally acceptable. But over at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Calif., we think you'll find it hard to resist their own clever version of the tournament called, The World Cup of Wine.
The hotel's general manager, Gregory Day, and Master Sommelier, Peter Neptune, have created a wine menu that represents each of the 32 participating countries. Yes, some of the wines were harder than others to secure but as you can see in the menu above, Shutters is serving wine from the Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Mexico, Russia and South Korea.
Now, the way the game works is like this--once a team is knocked out, so is its corresponding wine. Adios Espana!
The hotel will be showing the games and offering the World Cup of Wine menu in their Coast Cafe and Beach Bar throughout the tournament which ends on July 13. Interested in spending the night? Rates start at $468 a night this weekend. Remember: USA plays on Sunday.
[Menu: Shutters on The Beach]
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One of the perks of staying in a luxury hotel is riding in the complimentary house car, which is often a car you'd never be able to afford in real life. We're talking Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous cars like Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Bentley. But now in Santa Monica, Calif., Shutters on The Beach is offering a very 21st century type of house car, one that's quickly become the new "it" brand in luxury--a Tesla Model S.
General manager Gregory Day said the hotel changes out their house car every year but have slowly been moving towards a greener alternative.
"We've always been heavy-Mercedes house," he said, while showing off the Tesla in the hotel's porte-cochère. "We had a CLS 550 when I got here and I think our next one we got, to make it more environmentally-friendly, we got a V6 engine, and then the last car we had was a S400 hybrid Mercedes," Day said. "But the more we learned about it, hybrid isn't that green in a sense because the battery, once it's done, there's no way to recycle it."
The hotel considered electric vehicles but Day said it was hard to find one that would also appeal to their high-end guests. So when the Tesla came out, the hotel dug both its sleek look and its technology.
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Fresh off a rather good review in the NY Times, the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica will soon no longer exist. But don't worry, it's not as dire as it sounds. Actually, the hotel is getting a brand upgrade to Le Meridien.
The hotel, which incidentally is managed by the Viceroy Hotels, will be known as the Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica. It will also receive another round of renovations to feature the signature Le Méridien Hub™ lobby experience, large-scale artwork, the exclusive Le Meridien signature scent, and the brand's UNLOCK ART program, featuring LM100 ™ artist designed key card collection and access to Le Méridien brand affiliated contemporary cultural centers in the city.
Rates at the Sheraton start at $270 a night. The Le Meridien brand will officially take over sometime this fall. Rates will definitely go up then but don't worry, your SPG points are still good here.
Not only does this news mark a return to Los Angeles for Le Meridien (they used to be where the SLS Hotel now is), this is another example of the brand's push to expand their brand, right here in America. So far this year, we've seen Le Meridien take over existing hotels in Atlanta, Dallas, and Charlotte. We wonder who will be next?
When we toured the Palihouse Santa Monica a few months back, the hotel was still in the middle of transforming the old Embassy Hotel Apartments near Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade into hotelier Avi Brosh's vision for "Palihouse at the Beach."
But now the hotel is ready to show off its incredible design.
Here's a bunch of photos we've received from the hotel of the lobby and a guestroom. Take a minute and browse through these shots. We think you'll like.
Room categories are classic rooms, studio suites and one and two-bedroom "residences." Rates range from about $350 to $1,500 per night. But remember, that includes free WiFi, AppleTV, Dean & Deluca minibar treats and finally, a chic and sophisticated place to stay in Santa Monica.
[All photos courtesy of Palihouse Santa Monica]
If bartenders these days are to be believed, Prohibition was not the dangerous, skeevy, Mob-controlled booze era that history books and Hollywood movies have shown us. No, no – cocktailing during Prohibition was sexy and elegant, and when a bar today really wants to prove its mixology credentials, it rolls out a special Prohibition cocktail menu. The latest one to do so is The Georgian, Santa Monica’s distinctive Deco hotel and former hangout of Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and other Hollywood greats.
This is the scene these days on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and as you can see, The Viceroy Santa Monica is right in the thick of the construction zone (without having any work done to its own building.)
The construction, which has made this stretch of Ocean Avenue from Pico to Colorado a pain to get through, is all for the Ocean Avenue South, a luxury apartment project from Related Companies, with 318 residences as well as retail, restaurants and walkable plazas. The sales launch for the units should launch this summer with construction going for at least a year beyond that.
Which means that the entire north side of the Viceroy looks out onto a building site and much of its entrance is slowed down by the traffic caused by this annoying scene. While the Le Merigot Hotel and The Loews Hotel also have to put up with ugly construction views, at least their properties are across the street from the actual jackhammering.
Fortunately for the Viceroy, the noise doesn't seem to be bothering too many guests. All of their recent TripAdvisor reviews are really positive except this one which said the construction made it hard to enjoy being outside by the pool. The hotel's director of rooms wrote that work is "expected to lessen."
We sincerely hope so.
Rates this weekend start at around $300.
Oceana Santa Monica General Manager, Christoph Moje
Have you ever flirted with a hotel concierge? In our series, Concierge Interviews, HotelChatter goes behind the Front Desk and gets chummy with the men—and women—whose job it is to never say no. Got a burning question you'd like us to ask? Or have someone in mind for us to interview? Email us your requests!
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Last week, we gave you our full review of Blue Plate Taco, the scene-y Mexican restaurant attached to The Shore Hotel. Despite reading constant positive reviews about this place, we were a little underwhelmed by the so-so tacos and poorly mixed cocktails.
Suffice to say, we were a little disappointed. However, there's still one (major) part of the experience that we haven't gotten to yet: our stay at the hotel itself!
We booked a Garden View Junior Suite, which, as the name implies, doesn't actually face the ocean but rather a small ground-floor patio tucked around the back of the hotel.
Far off in the distance we could spy a little bit of ocean, as well as the top half of the ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier. But the fact that we were staying at an oceanfront hotel (literally, on the "shore") never once escaped us. For starters, the lobby is a giant gray cube that lets in plenty of natural light, including views of the beach across the street.
More importantly though, the design is incredibly water-focused. Pretty much everything—from the stark silvery hallways to the pool to the guest rooms' aquamarine decor—made us feel like we were underwater.
Read on to see photos from inside and all around the hotel!
When The Shore Hotel opened in Santa Monica, Calif. over a year ago, we were excited that (finally!) a new, hip and eco-friendly hotel had opened just a mere two blocks from the Santa Monica Pier along Ocean Avenue. But we were equally, maybe more, excited for the Blue Plate Taco restaurant to open adjacent to the hotel.
The taco joint would be the third restaurant from the Blue Plate people who also have well-reviewed Blue Plate Oysterette further north on Ocean Avenue as well as popular breakfast spot, Blue Plate Kitchen inland on Montana Avenue. It took a while, but BPT finally opened last Fall, giving hotel guests a fun spot to grab margaritas, ceviches chips and guac, grilled corn and of course tacos. And we finally got to hit up the spot on Saturday night.
**A HOTELCHATTER EXCLUSIVE**
Los Angeles' Westside is finally getting the hip, urban hotel it desperately needs and just in time for summer, too.
Avi Brosh, the hard-working hotelier behind the Palihouse West Hollywood and the budget chic Palihotel on Melrose Avenue, has quietly snapped up the old Embassy Hotel Apartments near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The spot will reopen this June as The Palihouse Santa Monica.
We didn't know the building was up for sale, let alone sold off to Brosh but he and his Paligroup team have already begun renovating the rooms. Billed as a 36-room "beach lodge", the hotel will have four room categories--classic guest suites, studio residences, one-bedroom residences and two-bedroom residences.
The classic rooms will be more of a typical hotel room size, ranging from 300-500sq.ft. while the "residences" will start at 600-sq.ft. and go up to 2,850-sq.ft. All but a few of the rooms will have kitchenettes, there's complimentary wired and wireless internet for all, Samsung 40" flat-screen TVs, AppleTV, and Dean & Deluca minibar treats.
The Loews Santa Monica about a month ago.
As the chilly 65-degree weather sets in here in Santa Monica, forcing Angelenos to wear a scarf with their uniform of jeans and flip-flops, one hotel along the beach has been making good use of the off-season by doing some upgrades.
The Loews Santa Monica has been steadily working on their facade since at least November. The hotel told us today that the renovations are expected to last until February. While there is no work going on inside the hotel or the guestrooms, guests are being diverted to the left of the entrance until the work is finished.
Not that you would know that if you visited the hotel's website which makes no mention of renovations, not even during the booking process. Annoying. Room rates are also not affected too much. The hotel is currently asking $318 a night next week. Just in case you're curious, the weather should be around mid-60s. Not quite beach weather but it does beat snow.
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Hey LA peeps, got any plans for the weekend? Whaddya say to baking a birthday cake for The Shore Hotel's one year anniversary? What's that—you're actually a pretty dab hand in the kitchen? Well then, this might interest you, as the Santa Monica hotel is giving away a $1/night room to the person who bakes them the best birthday cake*, no singing required.
Meanwhile, here's a (not so) small consolation prize for those of you who like food and like hotels but don't want to do any of the work: Eater LA reports that the Shore's highly-anticipated restaurant, Blue Plate Taco—which we've been drooling over for, oh, about a year now—has finally opened.