Santa Monica Restaurants
Firstly breakfasts, and the strangely named Bread & Porridge. Tucked away on Wilshire Boulevard between 23rd & 24th Streets, this place looks and feels like an upmarket truck stop. Breakfast though was one of the best we had in LA, and at a third of the price put the wretchedly expensive & overrated Asia de Cuba to shame. Dont go out of your way to come here, but if you're travelling from the coast into LA, or just staying round the corner (like us), it's worth a visit.
At the higher end of restaurants, we tried Shutters On The Beach and Hotel Casa Del Mar down by the sea. The birds eye panorama of the beach from both is virtually identical (as is the weird spectrum of passing locals), and also easily the best view in Santa Monica, if not California. Breakfasts more than matched the fantastic view. Just wish I could afford a seafront room...
Or, trade the view for a ubiquitous Californian fire pit at Ocean & Vine, reached through the stunning lobby of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
Later on snack at Ocean Avenue Seafood on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Ave. for their oyster happy hour (though doesnt really work out that cheap, so wouldnt like to see the full price) from 4 to 6pm, although if its a straight toss up between here and The Lobster, latter wins hands down due to its excellent setting at the start of Santa Monica pier (and if you time it right, probably one of the best restaurant sunsets youll ever see). Had a great steak at the rather stuffy and formal (in a good way) Pacific Dining Car. Dont expect the surgically enhanced blondes you might find in the Hollywood scene restaurants - just good old fashioned service in an Orient Express style setting.
Coming back towards Los Angeles, stop for a drink at the cool looking Cinch, the only bar we tried in Santa Monica, again on Wilshire (b/w 15th & 16th).
Never got to drink at these, but will be trying them next time, Mor Bar, World Cafe, The Circle Bar all on the mecca of Santa Monica nightlife, Main Street.
Take surfing lessons if...
Take surfing lessons if possible. Talk to the concierge of your hotel for local experts that give them. Kristine had always wanted to learn to surf, and this was an excellent experience for her. I very much enjoyed sitting on the veranda at the Lowes Santa Monica Resort, playing cards, and sipping tall drinks! The veranda faced the beach, and you could watch the waves, or all of the colorful people pass by.
Luxurious and relaxing beach front Hotel
The hotel feels Luxurious and relaxed, which is difficult to achieve. Room was very tastefully decorated. A beautiful pool and hot tub overlooking the beach and perfectly situated in the middle of Santa Monica. A quick walk to the 3rd street promenade and to Main Street. Good and discreet service, quick valet for LA exploring, and a very nice lounge when we accidently ran across some first rate jazz entertainment. My only complaint is that I did not stay long eneough.
List of things wrong with this hotel:
Very rude staff, with the exception of the housekeeping department.
$25 for parking is a total rip off. There is meter parking at the back of the hotel. After 6pm free
Walls are way too thin. You could hear everything from the your nearby rooms. Slamming doors, people on the phone, etc.
My favorite is no fridge. A mini bar but no fridge. So if you have left overs from dinner, there is no place for it.
The Concierge desk was very rude and not very helpful. Made my own reservations to Catalina.
No Coffee maker in room. Evian bottle was $6.95 for 1 litre.
Buy phone cards instead of using the hotel phone. 10 minute phone call with Dodger Stadium was about $20.00.
Shower curtains are grimy.
The only good thing about this hotel was that it accepts dogs. It is not a 4 star hotel.
There is a guest services, concierge, and receptionist. To get an answer they send you on a wild goose chase.
We were so looking forward to our stay at this hotel in June 04, as it looked great on the web. What a disappointment it was! The location is great, but everything else about the hotel was mediocre to poor.
We booked our room 10 weeks in advance and despite arriving at least an hour after check in time, we were informed that no rooms were ready. When we eventually got into our room it was opposite a construction site, and instead of a "partial ocean view" we got a "an enormous digger view".
We were eventually given another room; where our neighours appeared to be partying all night - we could hear every sound!
We had arranged to meet friends in the bar for drinks, but the live music was so loud we couldn't hear a word. This would have been OK if the music had been better.
The only postive I can really think of was breakfast - the buffet really was delicious. Aside from that, the rooms were small - and had no coffee facility or fridge - and the service was somewhere between pretty indifferent and downright rude.
There are lots of better hotels in Santa Monica - give this one a miss.
This hotel has a great location and some lovely features, but too many failures to live up to its billing. It's cheaper than Shutters or Casa del Mar, but you get what you pay for (and don't get what you don't pay for) in terms of quality of rooms and service, and the quality gap is greater than the savings. Multiple problems with our room upon arrival (room not available, then shifted to a smoking room that was allegedly non-smoking but the smell of which could choke a horse). In apology, we were pledged an upgraded room the following day, but it never happened and the manager never returned follow up calls. The pool is small and over-heated, and we overheard the staff discussing their DUI convictions and time spent in the local lock-up -- less than a perfect example for our kids. The beach is wonderful, and the hotel's location is great, but you can get the same or better from other nearby hotels without the aggravation.
over priced very unsatisfied
The room was awfully cramped with 2 adults and 2 teenagers....it was not relaxing to even watch tv. Couldn't wait to get out....of the most expensive hotel of our trip!!! Very, very disappointing. Maid service was never thorough...wastebaskets not emptied, wash cloths not replaced. Asked for a wake-up call for our last morning...and it never came!!! That was a first in our travels!! When I mentioned it at check-out the clerk just smiled and said, "Oh, really?" Totally over-priced. Would never go back.