So if you cannot resist the call of the Pacific, here are our recommendations for a relaxing, inspiring, and appetizing weekend enjoying the best of Santa Monica.
4PM: Check in
If you are truly craving a beach escape, you could not get closer than Casa del Mar, where your private hideaway is perched just steps from one of California’s most iconic stretches of sand. Check in for our Coastal Escape offer (available Dec. 1st through Jan. 15th), which includes an ocean-view room at a special rate, plus a $75 hotel credit for use at Sea Wellness Spa, the restaurants, or room service. All that is left is to sit back, relax, and sip on a house-made cocktail as you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean.
6PM: Sundowners in the Casa del Mar Lobby
The dramatic space is immaculately designed by LA’s Michael S. Smith in a style that fuses Mediterranean-chic with old world grandeur: Textured and patterned fabrics, inviting couches and armchairs, hand-made ceramics from El Puente del Arzobispo in Toledo, Spain, and vibrant aquamarine Murano glass sconces. It is a room made for conversation. Stage your own small house party in one of the four semi-private “cabanas” on the elevated section along the south wall.
7:30PM: Dinner On-Campus or Just Off
Travel weary? From the Casa lobby, it is a few steps up to Catch, which specializes in exquisite seafood and offers a full spectrum of gourmet holiday menus this season. Or back across the street to 1 Pico at Shutters, where the menu is more coastal California. Five minutes away on foot is Capo, one of LA’s top Italian restaurants (the concierge can get you in).
8AM: The Wellness Menu
Grab one of the bikes in front of Shutters and head out on 26- mile oceanfront bike path in front of the hotel, the world’s longest. Head down to Venice or up through Santa Monica to Will Rogers State Beach. On the return, detour up Montana Avenue to Kreation, the town’s ultimate juice bar. If you are a Soul Cycle addict, skip this and reserve a morning class at Santa Monica’s modern studio on Wilshire Blvd and 2nd Street.
11:30AM: Stroll Montana Avenue
It’s one of west LA’s chicest shopping streets, yet only 3% of visitors to Santa Monica visit. Translation: It’s still a secret, and even better, it’s local-luxe, not Rodeo Drive-luxe. Suggested stops: Sleepy Jones for fashion sleepwear; Clare V for handbags including the celebrated Foldover Clutch; Rosemarie McCaffrey Antiques (French and Italian country); and Original Scent to design a custom fragrance (Sat. only). Get to Montana Avenue by hailing a Free Ride electric cart in front of Casa del Mar.
11:30AM: While Doing It, Get the Casa Look
Rooms & Gardens on Montana Avenue is the boutique that gave Room 710 and the Ocean View Suites at Casa del Mar their lived-in, beach-house look. The company’s director, Eric Voulgaris, subscribes to the designer Billy Haine’s view that “When you do a home, you must do it with the feeling that it’s been lived in for years.” The Rooms & Gardens look is layered, meaning juxtapositions of English colonial, upholstered French, patterned linens, and hand-blocked cotton bedding. That modern take on the wing chair in the rooms at Shutters? You will find it here, too.
2PM: Shutters Print Collection
You have noticed it by now, especially the wonderful Hockney portrait, Celia, on the landing of the stairs down to Coast, the hotel’s casual, all-day restaurant. Among the other major artists in the collection: Sam Francis, Robert Motherwell, John Baldessari, and Ellsworth Kelly. Many of the works came from Gemini G.E.L., one of LA’s most established print galleries. Book the hotel’s Tesla to take you to the gallery, and if you want guidance, hire Cynthia Greenwald, who created the Shutters‘ collection, to come along.
4PM: Get in the Swing
The LA branch of the New York Trapeze School is on the Santa Monica Pier. Two-hour classes (book through the concierge) will have your heart racing, but you will come home with a cocktail anecdote and the photo stick to prove that you hung upside down by your knees while swinging 23 feet above the ground.
6PM: Live Music in the Living Room at Shutters
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy musical talents such as DJ Harmony, Seaside Jazz duo and Supa Lowery Bros.
8AM: Lingering Breakfast at Coast
A long counter, comfy booths, big sash windows that provide a review stand on the morning Beach Walk parade—that is Coast, the perfect place to hang out on departure day morning. One specialty: The blueberry-ricotta pancakes.
10AM: Magnesium Wellness Massage
More energy, better sleep, higher muscle function, and improved overall well-being. If you want it all, go with the Magnesium Wellness Massage at Sea Wellness Spa, starting with a stimulating dry brush and mineral-infused warm compress and topped off with a soothing full-body massage. Your body will thank you.
12PM: Check – Out
You do not want it to end, but sadly, it must. The best news: you can come back and stay at Shutters next time.