This 77-room, mid-range boutique hotel is one of the most environmentally focused hotels in Southern California. While it mostly caters to business travelers, eco-minded visitors (who don't mind staying a bit inland) find it to be a fantastic, Zen-like alternative to Santa Monica's enormous beachfront hotels, like the Loews, Le Merigot, or the Miramar.
A quiet Santa Monica respite devoted to environmental stability
The 77-room Ambrose Hotel comes close to reproducing the actual Santa Monica lifestyle: decor that mixes Westernized feng shui and modernist Asian, a focus on environmental health, and a decidedly holistic approach to sustainability -- an ideology shared by many area residents. It provides preferred parking to hybrid vehicles (which can also be rented on-site), offers free unsweetened green tea in the lobby at all times, and recycles or composts a huge portion of its waste output. Its London taxi, available for guest car service within a three-mile radius, is powered by biodiesel fuel.
Awarded silver certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System (the first hotel in the country to do so) and a member of the Green Hotel Association, the Ambrose is a low-key, green alternative to large-scale, beachfront spots like Loews or Le Marigot.
A mile-and-a-half from the beach in a residential part of Santa Monica
The Ambrose is in a residential area of Santa Monica, a beach town rich with shops, restaurants, and a tourist-attracting pier with games, rides, and an iconic Ferris wheel. It's not on the beach, like other Santa Monica hotels, but the free bikes and car service help make up for it.
Five-minute drive to the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, and Third Street Promenade with its slew of local and chain stores, shops and restaurants
One block from local businesses and office buildings on Wilshire
A short walk to many cafes, restaurants, shops, and Whole Foods
15-minute drive to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, an enclave of wealthy living and luxury shopping in the middle of L.A.'s westside
Approximately an hour drive to Universal Studios Hollywood, a movie-themed amusement park
Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour drive to touristy Hollywood Boulevard and the celebrity footprints of the famous Walk of Fame at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
An easy, 30-minute drive down Lincoln Boulevard to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Renovated in 2015, the 300-square-foot standard rooms have contemporary California Craftsman-meets-Zen decor and plenty of Southern California light. Also plentiful are the eco-conscious details, like bath products from natural brand C.O. Bigelow, water-conserving dual-flush toilets, recycling bins, 100-percent recycled bath tissues, and glass cups (to prevent waste). Note that Standard Rooms face neighboring buildings; upgrade one level to a deluxe studio for a garden view. Rooms are cleaned daily with Clean Environment Co. Natural Brand products, naturally derived biodegradable cleaners made from replenishable natural resources. All rooms feature comfortable Matteo Italian bed linens, a full-size ironing board, a large safe, and a flat-screen TVs with Philips DVD/CD Player with surround sound.
No pool or restaurant, but plenty of freebies: healthy breakfast, eco-car service, and Wi-Fi
In addition to its green programs, quiet location, and peaceful decor, the Ambrose offers lots of freebies that make it a good value compared to area competitors -- even hotels on the beach. A free breakfast -- provided by the famous Urth Caffe -- is served daily in the lobby, with Tazo Green Tea and Starbucks Fair Trade organic coffee. USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times are available for free, as is the hotel's Wi-Fi and parking (the hotel offers preferred parking for hybrid cars and has an on-site hybrid car rental). Free car service within three miles and free bike rentals are also at the ready. There's no pool, but the small on-site fitness center is open 24 hours, and has treadmills, an elliptical machine, an exercise bike, free weights, and a ballet bar.
The Ambrose's sustainability efforts are impressive and earnest
2006 City Of Santa Monica Sustainability Award
Member of the Green Hotel Association
Recycles or composts the majority of its waste output
Preferred parking for hybrid cars; provides free car service with a vehicle that runs on biodiesel fuel
All bath tissues and napkins made from 100-percent recycled materials
Recycling bins in every room and every public space; hotel suggests guests refill their water bottles with the facility's highly filtered tap water
Hotel is a drop-off location for California Recycles' cellphone recycling program
"Employee use policy" instructs staff to take home any untouched breakfast food or unordered room service (since it's prepared in advance by Urth Caffe and not created in-house) to ensure no food is wasted; hotel provides free bus passes to employees
Energy Star-rated appliances, like energy-efficient washing machines
Clean and Green Wind Power in some of the guest rooms
Dual-flush toilets and water-saving faucet aerators
Nontoxic housekeeping practices and products; no aerosol spray cans or toxic cleaning chemicals used