90405 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?
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We usually flock to hotel lobbies to admire their artwork, slurp down specialty cocktails and entertain ourselves with some people-watching (tourist or local? trophy wife or escort?) but over at the Casa Del Mar this treasured ritual of ours could soon be replaced with mind-reading.
Yes, thanks to these newfangled gadgest from Necomini we can see what it's like to be in Sookie Stackhouse's shoes for once. Kind of.
The futuristic headsets called. Necomimi Brainwave Catears, are on loan to guests at the hotel's Lobby Lounge bar. Here's how they work: One sensor is placed on the user's forehead and another is clipped to their ear. And atop their head, sits a pair of giant cat ears. As the sensors monitor the user's brainwaves, the ears will move accordingly. Apparently, the ears perk up when the user is "alert" and will drop down when the user is relaxed or "in the zone."
We've been known to swipe some hotel swag during our stays--toiletries, slippers, notepads, pencils and the like but when it comes to hotel beach bags, we don't mind having to pay up, especially if it's a limited edition one like this tote that designer kate spade did for Shutters On the Beach in Santa Monica.
The bag features a blue and green "solar" print from Florence Broadhurst, the late Australian textile designer whose collection kate spade has been incorporating into her looks. The bucket tote is relatively simple, with an open top, an interior pocket and leather-trimmed handles but it also comes with hangtag noting the exclusive collaboration. Plus, it totally matches the green kate spade bikes on loan at the hotel.
Interested in owning this bag for yourself? Only 100 bags will be available at the hotel and through their online shop at ShuttersBeachStyle.com for $198. With room rates hovering near $500 at the hotel, think of buying the bag as a cheaper way to "experience" the hotel.
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We love luxury hotels but we can't always afford to stay in them. Thankfully, hotels these days are way more than just rooms for paying hotel guests. Between visiting the lobbies, bars, restaurants, and spas inside these upper echelon hotels, it's practically as good as staying the night. Here's our latest installment of how to quench your champagne tastes on a Coca-Cola budget with a Hotel Day Trip.
We hit up Shutters on The Beach the other day for a quick lunch at their beachfront restaurant, Coast. If you can't afford one of the $400+ rooms at the hotel, doing a casual brunch or lunch (or even dinner) at Coast is the affordable alternative to experiencing the hotel.
Our go-to order is the tomato soup ($11) with mini-grilled cheese sandwiches and a side of french fries ($5). But the fish tacos ($15) and the caesar salad ($13) are tasty and filling as well. And if you come on Farmer Market Wednesdays, the chefs at Shutters will incorporate their freshest findings from the Santa Monica Farmers Market into a three-course Market Dinner for just $29.
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Regardless of where you stand on the gluten-free trend (silly or imperative), these gluten-free drinks are delicious. Even better, they are wheeled around on a little cocktail trolley and crafted at your behest by the hotel's mixologist. For instance, we requested something not too strong but not too sweet and we were given a Sunflower ($12) made with Absolut Citron, Veev Acai and Lemon Sour. Delightful.
Later on, the hotel let us sample some of the gluten-free entrees at Catch prepared by Chef Jason Bowlin such as a prosciutto and melon salad topped with burrata, rosemary and olive oil ($14) and a variety of spiedini or Italian-style kebabs, with swordfish, white prawns, pork tenderloin or beef. (Our fave was the prawns with chorizo, fennel and olives, $26.)
In Santa Monica, Calif. the June Gloom has finally lifted (on most days at least) to make way for perfect beach cruising weather. And now at the beachfront luxury spot, Shutters on the Beach you can do your cruising in high style, thanks to their new Kate Spade bikes.
The eye-popping green bikes are actually handmade Italian bicycles from Adeline Adeline but they've been styled by Kate Spade and the green is the brand's signature color.
Hotel restaurants are getting savvy about catering to their diners palates. Several spots started offering vegan fare and now the Hotel Casa del Mar is going gluten-free on one of its menus. (But they aren't the first. Fairmont Hotels also made a similar move back in January and Vegas has done gluten free for a while.)
Unlike some eateries that only offer one or two appropriate dishes, the Santa Monica hotel's Catch restaurant has a substantial menu of gluten-free goodies, from crudo and salads to entrees and sides.
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Let's not call this an accident waiting to happen
Another day, another hotel finding another way to make use of its iPads. This time it’s the Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, which has been trumpeting its tech-savvy over the past week. First, it was its display of Google Image Searches as art. Now, it’s providing iPads in its restaurant, Catch, to act as sommelier.
If you're walking through the Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, you may do a double take when you see canvases of screen shots from websites like Google and Facebook.
Artist Ken Solomon uses social media and other websites as inspiration for his paintings, drawings and videos. He tries to comment on the constantly changing digital age and attempts to slow down the constant flow of information on the Web by capturing websites in his art.
How close you are to the beach at Casa del Mar.
Looks like The Standard NYC isn't the only hotel interested in going "private." The Hotel Casa del Mar, a luxury beachfront hotel in Santa Monica, has just announced their own private club membership that gives guests year-round access to the pool and fitness center, along with spa discounts and priority seating at the hotel lounge and restaurant, as well as one-time "benefits" such as a one-night stay in the Penthouse, breakfast in bed for two and several spa treatments. Total cost per year? Just $2,500.
Here's the complete breakdown of what you get:
· One night, Penthouse stay
· Breakfast in Bed for two
· One 60 minute facial treatment
· Two 60 minute massages
· One 70 minute Thai Ritual
· Two personal trainer or yoga sessions
· One Moonview session of your choice (a half-day mind/body/spirit experience)