BY Lizbeth Scordo
I’d be excited about sneaking off to a beautiful beachfront hotel any time, but after months of a forced hiatus from travel, sitting on the balcony of my swanky seventh-floor room at Shutters on the Beach, peering down at the pool, sandy stretch of beach, and endless Pacific Ocean, beyond feels downright dreamy.
My goal is to spend the next couple of days focused on self-care. And while that may mean different things to different people, to me it’s about striking the perfect balance of all my favorite feel-good things: daily strolls along the Santa Monica shoreline, plenty of poolside reading, a few energy-boosting Peloton rides at the temporary outdoor gym, some seriously stellar food and wine, and a little luxuriating in the room for good measure.
There’s no duo of hotels better suited to set you up for just such a soothing self-care staycation than Shutters on the Beach and sister property Casa del Mar. You can do, taste, and experience anything you want here without ever leaving the premises: a hot stone massage followed by a mani-pedi at the spa, morning yoga at the water’s edge, a leisurely bike ride along the beach, or cocktails and caviar in bed. Luxury is king here, and guests can feel it in each and every detail.
The star treatment begins as soon as you arrive, and the staff all know your name and make it clear that they are eager to make your stay special. Forgot what time yoga starts? Just shoot the front desk a text and they’ll be happy to remind you when and where to meet to your instructor. Looking for your slippers? Housekeeping will leave a pair beside your bed in the evenings so you can slip into them before your feet ever touch the floor in the morning. Trying to choose between two different wines? Your server will bring you a taste of each to help you decide.
When dinner rolls around, enjoy the expanded al fresco dining options with outdoor heated spaces at either Shutters or Casa. One of the most stunning eating experiences can be found at 1 Pico Courtyard, which has transformed Shutters’ entry courtyard into a romantic patio restaurant anchored by a grand leafy tree strung with bistro lights and hanging lanterns. The menu here blends California coastal and farm-to table fare with dishes like a local lettuce, pear, and persimmon salad, linguine laced with velvety Santa Barbara sea urchin, and grilled blue prawns plated with wilted Bloomsdale spinach.
Lunch at Coast is a must for prime people-watching (and that fabled lobster roll), with tables lining the beach and bike path. And for a wow-worthy oceanfront dinner, head to Casa’s tented Terrazza Beachside Patio, where you can feast on a Mediterranean-meets-SoCal meal of icy oyster platters, a decadent Wagyu burger, or an inventive sea bass entrée layered with smoked asparagus sauce and fresh clams.
Of course, the one thing that will make or break a self-care staycation is where you’ll get your rest. Casa and Shutters have bathed their luxuriously appointed rooms in breezy blues and whites, transforming the experience feel like you’re staying at the well-appointed beach home of a friend (albeit a friend with exquisite taste and interior-design talent). There are hardwood floors and hand-knotted rugs, original watercolors by local artists, California-inspired coffee table books and novels lining the shelves—even a few unexpected items placed around the room, such as a wooden yo-yo or scuba-masked rubber duckie next to the tub. Speaking of bath time, even that comes equipped with views: Just swing open the shutters that separate the bathroom from the bedroom to stare at the sea while you soak, and enjoy yet another of the perfect touches you never knew you needed until you got here. Consider yourself officially spoiled in self-care.