Cozy lobby with twin fireplaces and a grand piano -- known as a local hot spot
Valet parking (for a fee)
Daily resort fee (covers Wi-Fi, newspapers, beach activity center, and two drinks)
Fee for valet parking (common in Santa Monica)
Not all rooms have ocean views
Two-night minimum stays required during busy times
If you're California dreaming of a hotel directly on the beach in Los Angeles, Shutters on the Beach is just about your only option -- and it's a good one. The luxury hotel has a chic ocean cottage vibe, and all 198 rooms and suites were impeccably designed by Michael Smith and feature huge bathtubs and cozy details. Features include a beachfront swimming pool, luxe spa, three gourmet restaurants/bars, and Pacific Ocean views from virtually every corner. Its Santa Monica location puts the boardwalk and 3rd Street Promenade shopping within easy walking (or biking) distance. Downsides include a resort fee and extra charge for valet parking. The sister hotel next door, Casa del Mar, is the only other beachfront hotel in Los Angeles, and it has more of a Mediterranean villa vibe (and occasional lower rates).
Landmark Santa Monica luxury hotel with an approachable beachy vibe
Mention Shutters on the Beach to Los Angeles residents and you'll get an approving nod in response. The luxury hotel on the beach is widely celebrated for providing all the top-notch service, design, and amenities suitable to high-powered Angelenos, while at the same time creating a calm, relaxed beachside getaway from the pressures and pace of Hollywood. And tourists love it, too.
One of Shutters' greatest advantages is its stellar beachfront location. Only two of Santa Monica's hotels are right on the beach -- this one, and its stiffest competition, neighboring sister property, Casa Del Mar. While many nearby hotels have beautiful rooms and high-design lobbies, Shutters one-ups them with design by Michael S. Smith, whose portfolio includes the Obama White House. White-wood trimmings and gray shingles make the whole place look like a sprawling East Coast summer home. The lobby features twin fireplaces, a grand piano, and huge windows overlooking the beach. Artwork by David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein line the walls. This is a busy place, and the entrance is often thronged with overnight guests and daytime visitors bustling in and out. Note that a two-night minimum stay might be required when the hotel is at high occupancy.
On the beach in Santa Monica, walkable and bikeable to shops and restaurants
As its name suggests, Shutters sits on the beach, toward Santa Monica's southern border. Farther north on Ocean Avenue (the nearest main road) locals run, walk their dogs, and do boot-camp exercises with personal trainers along the seaside cliffs in Palisades Park. The hotel is a bit farther from tourists attractions in Hollywood.
Directly on the beach -- walk out the door, cross the bike path, and you're on the sand
The Strand bike path runs 22 miles from Temescal Canyon to Redondo Beach
20-minute walk from famous Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only outdoor mall with shopping, a movie theater, and national chain restaurants
10- to 15-minute walk from iconic Santa Monica Pier, with a Ferris wheel, video game arcade, and assorted carnival-style amusements
Five- to 10-minute drive to popular Venice Beach, with skateboarders, surfers, and hip restaurants
25- to 30-minute drive to Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills, for high-end shopping and swanky mansions
30- to 45-minute drive to Universal Studios Hollywood theme park
30- to 45-minute drive to Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, and Grauman's Chinese Theatre
30- to 45-minute drive to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Ocean-inspired color palettes and luxe finishes for a magazine-worthy overall look
Decorated by renowned designer Michael S. Smith, whose work includes the interiors of the Obama White House, the rooms at Shutters look like the digs at a swank cottage in the Hamptons -- airy, with lots of blues and whites inspired by the ocean. Sliding doors with white wooden shutters (the hotel's namesakes) open up to balconies (these are Juliet balconies in the lowest-level rooms, and don't have views). Rooms have poster-style beds, one king or two doubles, made up in all white linens. Finishes are high quality: hardwood floors, walnut desks, porcelain bowls, coffee table books, and large bookshelves filled with tasteful art and books. Amenities include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, DVD players, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV in the bathroom. There's a fun cocktail minibar option with pre-mixed Manhattans and old-fashioneds. Suites upgrade to separate living rooms and the best ocean views. Large bathrooms are a true highlight. All but four of the rooms have peek-a-boo style bathrooms with closable windows overlooking the bedroom. All bathrooms feature jetted soaking tubs, large showers, wide vanities, and Malin + Goetz toiletries. Interestingly, a large medicine chest is stocked with upscale bathroom toiletries for sale. Rubber whales are a cute touch.
Ocean-facing swimming pool, ONE Spa, direct beach access, and bikes to borrow
The obvious highlight at Shutters is direct access to Santa Monica beach. The beach (and its popular boardwalk) can get crowded, but it's still a lovely spot with excellent views and clean sand. For more privacy, guests have access to the ocean-facing pool. There are lots of sun loungers, or guests can rent cabanas with packages that can include snacks, beers, cocktails, and fruit. Food and drink service is available by the pool as well.
For relaxing, ONE Spa has a relaxation lounge with tea and fruit. Treatments range from massages to facials (using luxury products like Biologique Rechercher) to body scrubs and wraps, plus nail services. The soothing space was designed by Michael S. Smith and features inlaid seashells and vintage portholes. The luxury vintage cruise cabin theme is also evident in the adjacent fitness room, which has wooden floors and wood-paneled walls, but is stocked with modern Technogym equipment.
Valet parking costs extra, which is common in Los Angeles. There's also a daily resort fee that covers Wi-Fi, newspapers, bikes to borrow, and two free drinks at the Living Room.
Shutters is home to some of the best dining in Santa Monica. 1 Pico, designed by decorator Michael S. Smith, is considered a power spot for weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu is seasonal fresh market fare, and there's an expansive wine list -- plus gorgeous ocean views. Coast is a bit more casual, it's the kind of place where you can wander in for guacamole after the beach, and maybe see a celebrity with the same idea. It's open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner -- plus it hosts happy hours and weekly events like a burger night or raw bar. Living Room, in the hotel lobby, is open from late morning until late night, and offers a full bar, teas, and light bites. Room service is available 24 hours, with a kids' menu and selected items from 1 Pico and Coast.
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