90401 Travel Guide
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.
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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.
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.
If you’re staying at Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar tonight or will be there early tomorrow morning, you’ll be treated to a special show—a view of the Space shuttle Endeavour being carried on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft.
The Endeavour will leave, weather permitting, Edwards Air Force Base around 7:15 a.m. Friday morning, to tour, then enter the Los Angeles airspace around 10:30 am before it retires at its permanent home—the California Science Center. Naturally, because of security issues, timing isn't exact.
Lucky hotel guests can witness this historical moment by taking the elevator to the 10th floor, and climbing the exit door to the Fairmont’s rooftop. We're thinking this a better option than say, rubbernecking on the freeway or getting caught in congestion in some of the most popular fly-by areas.
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Loews Santa Monica isn't about to let kids get away with saying "I'm booooored" during their stay. Through its brand new Fit For Fun wellness program, families wanting to get in a little exercise during their stay can choose from over a dozen outdoor activities offered at the iconic beachfront hotel.
Kids age five and up can try doing yoga on the beach, surfing in the Pacific Ocean, or hiking through the Santa Monica Mountains—they'll even get a taste for celebrity life in the "run from the paparazzi" jogging tour. Parents are of course encouraged to join in on the fun too, but the bulk of the activities are geared towards keeping kids fit and healthy.
As the hotel puts it, "Muscle Beach’s newest body builders are four-feet tall and weigh in at 46 lbs," which is probably true ever since word got out that one of the Jonas brothers likes to work out here too.
Aside from having stylish and green guestrooms with Pacific Oceans views, an eco-friendly fitness center and an upcoming Blue Plate Taco restaurant, The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica has now added a bit of fun for their guests in the form of a digital photo booth.
Found in the lobby near the check-in desk the photo booth lets guest take either a single image or an old-school photo strip with the Shore Hotel logo (as you can see in the gallery below, the hotel's logo is everywhere!).
And keeping in line with the hotel's emphasis on being green and conserving waste, the photos are only emailable (no paper waste here) and you can share them on Facebook and Twitter as well. Cheeeeese!
Room rates at the hotel start around $220 a night.
After touring the hotel the other day, we're not so sure we've ever seen a more stylish yet totally green hotel from the construction of the building to the materials in the rooms down to the recycling bins under the desk. The hotel even employs its own Green Concierge. And below is the shot of the hotel's fitness center where we found the water bottle water fountain and which has a floor made from recycled rubber and tires.
While the first weekend open for the new Shore Hotel in Santa Monica was a hot and sunny one, the temp cooled down a bit yesterday when we stopped by to check out the spot.
Still, the chilly weather didn't stop a few guests from hanging out by the street-facing pool (which can only be accessed with a hotel key card btw) and it looked like some sort of corporate event was happening in the lobby. We also spotted a few beach towels hanging over the railing of a room on the top floor as well as some beach chairs in the restaurant space where the Blue Taco restaurant is set to open.
Just yesterday after we learned how good The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica will smell, we learned how good the place will taste. The hotel, opening on October 1, has announced that Blue Plate Taco will be the restaurant that's serving up lunch and dinner to guests and non-guests seven days a week.
As the restaurant's name suggests, menu options will include tacos like the mouthwatering Lobster Truffle Tacos but also salads, grilled seafoods and meats and ceviches, all served with the restaurant's homemade tortillas. Also homemade? The margaritas flowing from Blue Plate Taco's full bar. Not a marg person? It's ok, the restaurant promises ice cold Mexican beer too.