Pricey valet parking (but still less than the L.A. average)
Picturesque Art Deco boutique hotel with a commanding view of the sea (from the sunny front porch, but not all rooms), the Georgian is a classy retreat with lovely rooms (last renovated in 2008) and gracious service. But with no pool or spa and a tiny fitness center, it can't measure up to the best Santa Monica small hotels.
A fully restored classic with charm, history, and a whiff of the paranormal, the 84-room Georgian Hotel once hosted the likes of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. The mobster Bugsy Siegel held court in the basement speakeasy, where the staff claims that strange voices, heavy breathing, and unexplained footsteps can be heard today. After serving as a retirement home for many years, the 1933 landmark reopened as a hotel in 1993. Guests again enjoy great views of the sea from its veranda. The rooms, renovated in 2008, harken back to its history with 1930s-style furniture and Art Deco bathroom fixtures.
The Georgian, located on the bluffs above Santa Monica beach, is close to the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, and other popular seaside attractions. A wide selection of restaurants, bars, and clubs are within walking distance. The beach is in walking distance too, but it's not easy lugging blankets and chairs to the water and back. You have to cross busy Ocean Avenue, pass through Palisades Park and cross a footbridge over the Pacific Coast Highway.
At about 250 square feet, the standard guest room with a comfortable king-size bed is small compared to other hotels in the area. A few larger standard rooms (about 280 square feet) snugly fit two queens. Most standard rooms do not face the water, but half of the 28 suites (550 square feet) have ocean views. Service is what you would expect at a luxury hotel, prompt and always friendly. Turndown service is 6:30 p.m. Room service is 24 hours -- the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., but the staff will fetch meals from local restaurants open later. The front desk, however, can be understaffed, especially apparent during the check-in and checkout rush hour.
The hotel kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the lobby and on the veranda. The small lobby bar serves drinks to hotel guests only. The basement speakeasy, with original 1930s booths, dark wood paneling, and a gallery of photographs of old-time Hollywood celebrities, is available only for private parties, though the hotel hopes to reopen it as a lounge.
The Georgian is a plush home base on the westside of L.A. for travelers who want to avoid the city's smog and traffic. But families won't be happy with the lack of pool, distance from the beach, and cramped rooms (cribs are free, though, while rollaways are charged per night). Sun worshippers might prefer neighboring Loews, Le Merigot, and Casa del Mar, which have pools, shorter walks to the beach, and larger standard rooms -- all for not much more money.
The Georgian Hotel sits on the edge of downtown Santa Monica directly opposite the bluffs overlooking the beach. Along Palisades Park's jogging path on the west side of Ocean Avenue, locals run, walk dogs, and do boot-camp exercises with personal trainers. Two blocks away is the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only outdoor mall with shops, a movie theater, and national chain restaurants including Hooters and Johnny Rockets.
Also, nearby Venice Beach, popular with tourists because of its cafes and restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and its large concentration of hippies, skateboarders, and surfers, doesn't have many fine hotels other than the Erwin; many travelers elect to stay in Santa Monica and drive 10 minutes south to visit Venice.
Five-minute walk to beach; guests must cross Ocean Avenue to Palisades Park and take a footbridge over the Pacific Coast Highway
Around the corner from the pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Farmers' Market, restaurants, shopping, and spas
Five-minute walk to famous Santa Monica Pier, with Ferris wheel, video game arcade, and carnival-style amusements
10-minute drive south to popular Venice Beach and its skateboarders, surfers, and hip restaurants and coffee shops