The Best of Santa Monica

Bella from the marketing team went to California last month, here’s what she got up to and her suggestions…

Recently I was lucky enough to spend time in the beautiful, seaside city of Santa Monica, LA. Having never visited West Coast America before, I was immediately sold by the relaxed culture and sunny climate and now can’t wait to return to discover more of what California has to offer. Voted by National Geographic as “one of the top ten beach cities in world”, Santa Monica needs to be on everyone’s bucket list!


Santa Monica’s iconic beach and pier

Where to stay:

Shutters on the Beach: Decorated in a Nantucket style and the only hotel in Santa Monica with direct beach access, this property defines laid-back luxury. The rooms have all the little touches that make a huge difference; from a whole range of luxuries in the bathroom to an iPod docking station and a selection of coffee table books that really make the rooms feel like home, topped off with every room having a stunning ocean view. Make sure you try their signature dish Lemon Ricotta Pancakes in their Coast restaurant!

13. Shutters on the Beach - Presidential Suite

Presidential Suite at Shutters on the Beach

Casa del Mar: Sister hotel to Shutters, Casa del Mar, when opened in 1926 was a place for California’s elite to meet. This luxurious hotel has 129 sophisticatedly decorated rooms, mostly with Pacific Ocean views and an elegant seafood restaurant among other facilities. This hotel is ideal for those seeking old Hollywood glamour over the easy-going beach house feel.

29. Shutters on the Beach & Hotel Casa del Mar - Exteriors (Small)

Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar standing side-by-side

Where to drink:

The Bungalow, Fairmont: If you want to see the evening in at the hippest location in Santa Monica, The Bungalow is the place to go. With a Baja beach bar theme, twinkling lights decorating the courtyard trees and surfboards casually placed on walls plus their delicious cocktails and scrummy appetisers, this was the perfect end to the day and made me feel like one of the Californian stars!


The Bungalow at dusk

What to do:

LaLaLuxe: LaLaLuxe is a bespoke shopping and luxury lifestyle service. We were chauffeured from one luxury boutique to another in our very own limousine with champagne and great advice from founder Nicole Pollard and her top stylist Emily. It was by far the best shopping experience I’ve ever had and I’d highly recommend it to anyone, from groups of friends to a mother and daughter day out – I’ve never been so pampered!


The LaLaLuxe experience

Soul Cycle: Heading to a gym or fitness class is not normally on my list of things to do on holiday however, this may have changed. On our first morning, we were taken to the latest fitness craze of spinning at the famous Soul Cycle (where the Beckham’s were recently spotted)! Based in a candlelit room with DJ-run music blasting in our ears and the trainer shouting “Believe in yourself”, as unappealing as that may sound, it was brilliant! The perfect way to wake yourself up after a long flight and get ready for the day, California style!

Surf with a Chef: Santa Monica has been named as the best neighbourhood for dining in Southern California, attracting chefs from around the world who are appealed by the beach-living lifestyle. Make the most of this with a great package where you can surf with a top chef and have a tour of the renowned Farmer’s Market before being cooked a gloriously fresh lunch. An experience unique to Santa Monica, and something I’d highly recommend.


Surf’s up 

If you’d like to find out more on Santa Monica or California, give one of our North America specialists a call on 020 8682 5030 or visit our website

It looks like you are in the USA

Would you like to: