Santa Monica is a prime example of a quintessential California beach town. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, the city has long been a getaway for Hollywood elites and A-list celebrities. You’ll find a mix of old-Hollywood luxury and Santa Monica’s So-Cal surf culture in this hip beach town.
Most visitors flock to Santa Monica to spend a few days frolicking along its 3.5 miles of stunning coastline. But there’s so much more to this place than just the beach. Riding the iconic Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, shopping at 3rd Street Promenade, and biking along The Strand (a 22-mile beachfront path) are all fun activities that belong on your California buck list.
The city is also home to one of the most famous farmers’ markets in the US. Don’t be surprised if you spot celebrities and LA’s most famous chefs shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Many local chefs source all of their organic produce from the market and use it to whip up creative California coastal cuisine at their restaurants! Speaking of restaurants, Santa Monica boasts an excellent food and drink scene – from casual breweries and posh cocktail bars to hole-in-the-wall taco shops and ritzy rooftop restaurants.
Santa Monica is chock full of historic old Hollywood hotels, lavish beachfront resorts, and art-filled boutique hotels. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in Santa Monica to help you plan your perfect getaway!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: 12 Cool Boutique Hotels in Santa Monica, California
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Where to Stay in Santa Monica
Santa Monica is famous for its beach and its iconic pier so it’s no surprise that some of the city’s best hotels are clustered around this area. You might be surprised to learn that there are only two hotels in Santa Monica that are actually located on the beach! But if you want to be right across the street from the beach and within walking distance of the pier, you’ll find plenty of excellent hotels lining Ocean Avenue.
Downtown Santa Monica is just a few blocks from the beach and is a super-popular place to stay. With all the shops of the pedestrian-friendly 3rd Street Mall and the famous Santa Monica Farmers Market, Downtown is a shopper’s paradise. Plus, this area is home to some of the city’s trendiest restaurants!
Located on the northern edge of the city, Montana Avenue boasts some of the best hotels in Santa Monica. You’ll also be a short stroll away from a range of upscale eateries, swanky bars, and high-end boutique shops. Luckily, Santa Monica is relatively small so no matter where you stay in the city, the beach is no more than a 10-minute drive away!
The 12 Best Boutique Hotels In Santa Monica, California
Located on bustling Wilshire Avenue, The Proper is definitely the coolest hotel in Santa Monica. You know a place is hip when it’s not only popular among travelers but locals hang out there too! Part of the appeal of this stylish hotel is that it boasts the only rooftop pool on the Westside of town.
The newly-built Proper is housed in a historic 1928 landmark building and boasts a blend of chic, contemporary, and homey So-Cal-style decor. The luxurious rooms feature mid-century modern furniture, floor-to-ceiling curved windows, and comfy winged chairs and sofas. You’ll love the plush beds with fine Italian linens and the spa-like marble ensuites. Upgraded rooms and suites include balconies and garden terraces.
If you want to truly unwind you can lounge around the pool, get an Ayurvedic treatment at the spa, or stretch on the yoga terrace. The hotel has three bars and restaurants but be sure to eat at least one meal at one of the city’s most coveted restaurants, Calabra Rooftop.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from this dreamy hotel, you can shop, wine, and dine at one of the area’s many boutiques and restaurants. If you’re feeling adventurous, borrow a paddleboard, surfboard, or bike from the friendly staff and enjoy all the natural attractions this vibrant city has to offer!
Palihouse is the perfect pick if you plan on a lengthy stay. This 1927 hotel was formerly The Embassy Hotel and has been completely revamped with a mix of rustic, modern, and eclectic decor and furniture. This historic Mediterranean-style boutique hotel is beautiful both inside and out!
You can choose from 38 well-appointed guestrooms, studios with large living areas, and suites with extra bedrooms and fully outfitted kitchens. Depending on which type of room you choose you’ll love the cool features – from the SMEG fridges stocked with gourmet snacks to the cozy fireplaces and spacious patios and balconies.
You’ll love lounging around in the manicured gardens, reading in the sophisticated lounge, and exploring the neighborhood on one of the complimentary bicycles. 3rd Street Promenade, the Santa Monica Pier, and the famous Santa Monica Farmers Market are all a short walk away so you’ll be endlessly entertained.
The onsite restaurant features creative dishes made with fresh produce purchased from the farmers market. If you want to go to the beach for a sunset drink or a casual dinner, The Bungalow Santa Monica, The Lobster, and Mariasol Restaurant are all popular options!
Located right across from Palisades Park and the beach, the Oceana recently underwent a massive renovation and is now arguably one of the best boutique hotels in Santa Monica. Every inch of this 70-room, 1950s-style hotel is just bursting with style!
With a complimentary glass of Prosecco at check-in, you’ll be in instant vacation mode the moment you step inside this luxurious hotel. Rooms and suites are outfitted with soothing tones, retro furniture, and Italian marble bathrooms with walk-in showers and C.O. Bigelow apothecary products. Request one of the rooms with a living room, balcony, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
The beautifully tiled pool area is lined with tons of lounge chairs with ultra-plush cushions that are the perfect spot for lazing the days away. If you want to eat lunch or dinner, the hotel offers alfresco dining around the pool. The restaurant serves up delicious pizzas, pasta, and sandwiches with ingredients sourced from the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
The attentive staff goes the extra mile and offers complimentary daily yoga classes, bike rentals, guided hikes, and weekend surfing lessons – so take advantage!
If you’re looking to do Santa Monica in style, this might just be the place! Nestled on Ocean Avenue, right across from the Santa Monica Pier, the location of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel can’t be beat. There’s even a private pathway from the hotel to the beach!
All rooms feature stylish contemporary furniture, earthy tones, and private balconies. It is well worth upgrading to an oceanfront room for the stunning ocean views. Better yet, book one of the extravagant suites and you’ll get a lavish living area, spa-like bath with standalone soaking tub, and furnished oceanfront deck with fire pit.
You’ll love the pool area where you can soak up the sun on one of the loungers or take in the ocean and pier views while floating in the pool. Order up a cocktail from the bar or cool off with a scoop of ice cream from the poolside ice cream shop. The area also features 13 fire pits that are perfect for gathering around each evening and watching the sun sink into the Pacific.
The location makes it easy to explore all of Santa Monica’s main attractions – from the pier to 3rd Street Promenade to Muscle Beach. Plus, the attentive staff provides you with free bikes and rollerblades which makes getting around town a breeze!
The Viceroy Santa Monica first opened its doors 20 years ago and has long been one of the area’s most iconic hotels. But the best part is, this oceanfront hotel completed a $21 million renovation in June 2020, solidifying its place as one of the best hotels in Santa Monica. Expect all sorts of improvements from the impressive art-filled lounge to the state-of-the-art fitness center and world-class indoor-outdoor restaurant.
You’ll love lounging around the revamped pool area where you can relax under the swaying palm trees, float the day away in the pool, or live in luxury in the So-Cal-style open-air cabanas. At night, you can order classic cocktails at the sleek new poolside bar or dine alfresco under romantic string lights at the hotel’s popular restaurant, Sugar Palm Ocean Avenue.
The luxurious rooms are the perfect place to unwind after a day spent at the beach or exploring the city. Get cozy on the comfy pillow-top bed and have a relaxing movie night with the large flat-screen tv. Book an oceanfront room and wake up to panoramic views of the Pacific!
6. Shore Hotel
With its oceanfront location and chilled-out vibe, Shore Hotel captures the unique spirit of this quintessential California beach town. You’ll feel like family the moment you check-in. The thoughtful staff will greet you with a glass of champagne and make sure you have everything you need to have the most relaxing vacation possible.
Shore Hotel is located on Ocean Avenue, just down the street from the beach and the pier. Another added perk is that this eco-friendly hotel is LEED certified and boasts unique features like a solar-powered heated pool, picturesque drought-resistant plants, and dishes made from organic local produce and free trade ingredients.
The chic rooms feature super comfy beds, custom-made teak wood furniture, and blue and orange accents. Sliding glass doors lead out to the balcony and let in plenty of natural light and a pleasant ocean breeze. You’ll love the high-tech extras like the large smart TVs, iHome docks, and lightning-fast wifi.
Head out to the atrium where you can swim laps in the pool, unwind in the hot tub, and take in the ocean views. In true So-Cal fashion, Shore Hotel is home to a delicious taco shop where you can order fish, carne asada, and veggie tacos!
Every inch of the Ambrose Hotel was thoughtfully designed to be your home away from home. Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood, this gem is located a 5-minute drive from the beach and within walking distance of all sorts of breweries, restaurants, and shops. Ambrose is famous for its excellent eco-friendly amenities including its complimentary electric car service to shuttle you around town!
This boutique hotel boasts 77 homey yet sophisticated rooms with California craftsman-style decor, natural hardwood floors, and wood trimmings. You can curl up with a book in the plush sitting areas, sip your morning cup of organic coffee on the balcony, or get some work done at the spacious workstation.
If you’re exhausted after a long night on the town, slip on the La Bottega cotton robe and have a lazy movie night with the comfy bed and 55-inch flat-screen. You can even order room service 24 hours a day in case you get in really late and want a midnight snack!
8. Casa Del Mar
Housed in a 1926 Renaissance Revival building the fully renovated Casa Del Mar combines the luxury of a Mediterranean villa with the beach culture of Santa Monica. One of the many things that makes this hotel stand out from the rest is that it’s one of the only hotels that sits directly on the beach. White House interior designer Michael S. Smith designed this one-of-a-kind hotel, so expect luxury around every corner.
The luxe rooms feature classic furniture, cool blue and green tones, coastal decor, and artwork from local artists. Upgraded suites boast panoramic ocean views, impeccably decorated living rooms, and lavish baths with marble jet tubs. If you want to go all out, book the ritzy 2-story Penthouse Suite and you’ll get incredible views of the Pacific.
Hotel Casa Del Mar boasts all sorts of luxurious amenities. Spend your days tanning by the pool, soaking up the sun on Silicon Beach, sipping sunset cocktails with a view at the Terrazza Lounge, and getting pampered at the spa! You might never want to leave this amazing hotel but if you do, the Santa Monica Pier is just steps away and all the excellent restaurants and shops of 3rd Street Promenade are a 5-minute drive away.
Aside from Casa Del Mar, Shutters on the Beach is the only other hotel in Santa Monica located directly on the beach. If you want to live in the lap of luxury, this luxurious boutique hotel is the perfect pick. Known as “Hollywood’s Beach House,” Shutters on the Beach is a popular spot for A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Dave Chappelle, and Zac Efron.
This hotel offers all sorts of cool amenities. Treat yourself and book one of the lavish poolside cabanas, get a hydrating sea algae mask at ONE Spa, and sample fine wines with the help of the hotel’s personal sommelier!
The rooms are as luxurious as it gets. You’ll love the casual beach-themed decor, handcrafted beds, and spa-like baths. Make your morning cup of joe with the Nespresso coffeemaker, take a soothing soak in the hydrothermal tub, and enjoy sundowners on your private terrace.
There’s no need to go out because the hotel features three excellent bars and restaurants. Sample burrata from Puglia and seared scallops at 1 Pico, wine and dine beachside at COAST, or enjoy afternoon tea with an ocean view at the Living Room. Shutters on the Sea is the place to go to relax and indulge in the best Santa Monica has to offer.
With its teal facade and storied history, The Georgian is one of the best boutique hotels in Santa Monica. Known as Santa Monica’s First Lady, this historic hotel was built in 1933. Although it has received extensive renovations, you can still find original art deco elements and historic references throughout the property.
The likes of Clark Gable, Bugsy Siegel, and Al Capone, used to frequent the hotel’s authentic speakeasy during Prohibition, so you know it’s something special! Plus, 3rd Street Promenade, the Santa Monica Pier, and Santa Monica Beach are all just steps away.
Old Hollywood-style rooms feature plush beds, retro furniture, fully stocked minibars, comfy sitting areas, and flat screens. You’ll love the picture-perfect ensuites with funky vintage tiles, relaxing tubs, and Malin+Goetz luxury bath products. With separate bedrooms, lavish living rooms, and ocean views, the suites are well worth the splurge.
Overlooking the sidewalk, The Veranda is the perfect place to sip handcrafted cocktails and snack on shareable plates while socializing with friends. Head here for sunset happy hour for excellent drink deals!
11. The Kinney
Technically located in neighboring Venice, The Kinney is a really cool choice if you’re looking for a completely unique place to stay near Santa Monica. Not only will you be surrounded by all of Abbot Kinney Boulevard’s funky shops, restaurants, and bars, but the Santa Monica Pier is just 10 minutes up the coast. This ultra-cool hotel is definitely geared toward younger travelers who want to live it up during their beach getaway.
With an enormous skateboarder mural on its facade, it’s impossible to miss this one-of-a-kind hotel. Step inside and you’ll be in awe of its art-filled interior and boldly colored lounges. The hotel’s 68 rooms and suites all boast colorful ink-blot wall art, stylish retro furniture, pillow-top beds, 55-inch smart TVs, and cute vintage telephones.
You’ll love hanging out in The Quad where you can gather around the modern fire pit, play a game of ping-pong with your new friends, or work on your tan on the loungers. There’s also an outdoor pool and hot tub where you can soak the day and night away.
You can fill up on the hotel breakfast or sleep in and hit up one of Santa Monica’s famous brunch spots. Huckleberry Cafe, Rae’s Restaurant, and Farmshop are all super popular with locals and visitors alike!
12. Hotel Shangri-La
If you’re looking for the perfect place for a romantic getaway or an anniversary celebration, Hotel Shangri-La is one of the best hotels in Santa Monica. Nestled on a bluff overlooking Palisades Park and the Pacific Ocean, this iconic boutique hotel is just steps away from the beach, the pier, and the 3rd Street Promenade.
With its curved facade, this whimsical 1930s building was designed to look like a luxury ocean liner. The entire building has been meticulously renovated so expect original art deco design, ocean liner-inspired decor, and modern amenities throughout.
Head to the pool and you’ll feel like you’re actually on a cruise ship! With black-and-white striped lounge chairs, pink towels, and Old Hollywood style private cabanas, you’ll love whiling the days away around the pool. Don’t miss out on happy hour and light bites at the open-air ONYX Rooftop Lounge where you can take in sweeping ocean views with themed craft cocktails like The Last Tango or Goldfinger.
While all rooms boast luxury beds, 50-inch flat screens, and marble baths with L’Occitane bath products, it’s well worth booking one of the unique suites. Depending on the suite you choose, you can enjoy cool extras including a terrace overlooking the ocean, a relaxing soaking tub, and a rock ‘n’ roll-themed living room and bedroom.
That’s it – 12 of the best Santa Monica hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Santa Monica? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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