Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Steeped in history and loaded with luxurious, beach-y details
Originally built as a fancy beach club in 1907, the Hotel Casa Del Mar is a historic landmark. It went through a sordid period as a rehab center before becoming the Pritikin Longevity Center. In the late '90s, Casa Del Mar officially opened its doors as a luxury hotel and was subsequently restored. Another major makeover conceived by Obama White House designer, Michael Smith, took place in 2015. The result is a luxurious atmosphere with loads of beach-y details. The entrance, under an arched stained-glass window opens onto duel sweeping staircases below an iron chandelier strung with multicolored glass. The lobby -- redecorated in sun-bleached hues of sandy blue -- is furnished with colorful bookshelves, shell art, potted palms, and nautical antiques in a maritime theme matching the views that sweep out from the hotel's terrace onto the famed stretch of Santa Monica Beach.
Right on the beach in Santa Monica, walking distance to its famed pier
Casa del Mar and its neighbor Shutters, both owned by the same company, are the only hotels in the L.A. metropolitan area that are literally on the beach, with no boardwalk or roadway between guests and the sand. Santa Monica is a beach town rich with shops, restaurants, and a tourist-attracting pier with games, rides, and an iconic Ferris wheel that's an 11-minute walk away. Pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade, with shops and restaurants, is about a 20-minute walk uphill. Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, with lots of high-end shopping, is a 25- to 30-minute drive away. Los Angeles International Airport is about a 30- to 45-minute drive, depending on traffic.
Luxurious rooms with work desks, Keurig coffeemakers, and bathrooms with huge jetted tubs
At 400 square feet, Hotel Casa Del Mar's average room is much larger than those at other hotels in the area. The rooms are furnished with a maritime decor that matches the rest of the hotel, with vintage nautical flags and a beach-blue palate. Deep cherrywood tables and four-poster beds are paired with white built-in dressers and work desks. Big 42-inch flat-screen TVs are nestled into the hutch above the work space. Many thoughtful touches give these rooms the feel of a high-end residence: book shelves with real books, silver alarm clocks, vintage toys, and working binoculars. Sixty of the Casa's 129 rooms have full or partial beach views, and some look toward the iconic pier. Keurig coffeemakers come standard, with Suites upgrading to Nespresso machines. The bathrooms are covered in white Italian marble walls and floors, with glass walk-in showers and big separate jetted soaking tubs. All bathrooms are stocked with organic Red Flower toiletries and a playful rubber ducky.
A seafood restaurant on the beach, popular bar scene, an outdoor pool, plus a full spa and fitness center
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby's Terraza lounge have beautiful views of the beach that attract locals as well as guests. The indoor cabanas create alluring semi-private seating areas with plush couches under striped awnings, and the place tends to foster a Hollywood cocktail scene with daily live events. The bar ages its own spirits in white oak barrels with crafted cocktails like "The Brooklyn" -- a potion of corn whiskey, bourbon, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters and an Italian sweet vermouth. The lounge serves food starting with breakfast, and there's an extensive raw bar at night. The fine-dining restaurant, Catch, has a live jazz brunch and a dinner menu that ranges from Wagyu to Black cod, with crudo and sushi rounding out a wide selection of pricey seafood. Catering is available for the hotel's beautiful event rooms, and The Colonnade Ball Room (a popular wedding venue) can host up to 400 people.
The outdoor pool and whirlpool are on a sundeck facing beachfront views. But the beach itself is the main attraction, offering the quintessential L.A. scene of palm trees, white sand, and ocean waves. Beach cruiser bicycles can be rented (for a fee), and the hotel has surf lessons. Kinesis strength training and yoga classes as well as private trainers are available for fitness sessions on the beach. For indoor workouts, the fitness center is equipped with treadmills, bikes and ellipticals, weight machines, balance balls, and free weights. Sea Wellness Spa doesn't have a sauna or steam room, but there are more services on offer than just the usual massages, including exotic treatments involving gemstones, magnets, and mud infused with diamond dust.
Hotel Casa Del Mar is a rarity in L.A., one of only two hotels with a coveted stretch of sandy Santa Monica real estate and unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. Leisure travelers who can afford the rates at this luxury historic property will find 129 opulent rooms with huge jetted tubs and upscale coffeemakers. A hopping Hollywood bar scene, a fine restaurant, and a pool with beach views are other highlights. Beautiful event facilities and meeting rooms cater to business travelers, too, though only limited basic Wi-Fi comes free. Its location can only be matched by its sister property, Shutters On The Beach, which shares this sandy spot. It's worth comparing rates between the two similar hotels.
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