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Viceroy Santa Monica 4.0

Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Stylish boutique hotel, one block from the beach
  • Sleek, spacious rooms with pillowtop beds and air purifiers
  • Hip, see-and-be-seen lounge
  • Plunge pools with sexy poolside scene
  • Romantic alfresco dining at the restaurant, plus 24-hour room service available
  • 24-hour fitness center with natural light
  • Short walks to Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade
  • Eco-conscious, with low-flow water fixtures and non-toxic cleaning products
  • Free bike rentals (part of resort fee)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout (part of resort fee)

Cons

  • Ugly building, located right on a four-lane road
  • Vibe isn't very kid-friendly (pro for some)
  • Pricey nightly fee for valet parking
  • Resort fee (covers Wi-Fi, bike rentals, gym/computer access, and morning coffee)

Bottom Line

It's best known for its sexy bar and pool scenes, but Viceroy Santa Monica boasts substance as well: friendly service, an environmental conscience, and a restaurant using locally sourced ingredients. Many of the 162 well-sized rooms and suites have ocean views, and all have sleek Hollywood Regency style and amenities like flat-screen TVs/DVD players and 24-hour room service. The Viceroy isn't particularly kid-friendly (you'll more likely find aspiring models sipping cocktails by the pool than tykes doing cannonballs), so families may prefer Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel for its "Loews Loves Kids" program.

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Scene

A hip boutique that's better known -- perhaps unfairly so -- for its style (sexy lounge, sceney pool) than its substance (comfy rooms, solid service)

You learn a lot about the Viceroy before you even get there. Whenever mentioned to locals, they inevitably say something along the lines of, "Oh, I've had cocktails at the bar there," or "I've heard movie stars hang out at the pool." The hotel is indeed well known for its see-and-be-seen lounge and pool scenes -- but some former guests have gone further, accusing the Viceroy of eschewing substance in favor of style.

We would disagree. There's no denying the Viceroy succeeds, at the least, with the basics. The service isn't quite up there with its luxury (but pricier) rivals down the street, but it's certainly friendly and efficient. The rooms are clean and spacious, and many boast views of the ocean. Speaking of the Pacific, it's a few hundred steps away, which, for many visitors, will be reason enough to stay here (though it's worth noting that most of the hotels in Santa Monica are within a block of the beach). The city's famous pier is also nearby, about half a mile down the beach, as is Third Street Promenade and its parade of shops, restaurants, and street performers.

The Viceroy is run by the Viceroy Hotel and Resorts, which also operates Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, as well as about a dozen other properties around the world. Renowned interior designer (and former Playboy Playmate) Kelly Wearstler handled the decor; she incorporated several of her favorite motifs, notably animals: note the horse busts in front of the cabanas by the pool. The overall theme is Hollywood Regency meets Colonial Britain. The British motif manifests itself most conspicuously in the china hanging from walls throughout the hotel, and the restaurant was formerly named Whist, after the classic English card game.

The Viceroy's greatest drawback, if you can call it that, isn't anything about the hotel itself but rather the stiff competition nearby, some of it just down the street. Literally within blocks are other impressive properties, including the kid-friendly Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and the famous beachside twins, Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar. The Viceroy's service doesn't match up with those neighborhood luxury competitors -- at Shutters, for instance, the doormen wait by the entrance with towels and water bottles for guests returning from jogs on the beach, and at Casa del Mar, guests get free shoeshines and local limo transportation. But then, Viceroy is notably cheaper than those two.

Location

In tourist-friendly Santa Monica, one block from the beach

The Viceroy sits on a busy four-lane road in Santa Monica, a beach town -- a beach city, really -- filled with shops, restaurants, and the eponymous pier (a 10-minute walk from the hotel), which is home to games, rides, and an iconic Ferris wheel. More shops, restaurants, and street performers can be found at the Third Street Promenade, which is half a mile away (it's probably easiest to just walk and not worry about parking). There are a few other attractions within walking distance -- namely the beach, which is a three-minute walk away -- but you'll probably want a car to get around town, and you'll definitely need one to explore the rest of L.A.

Rooms

Sleek, stylish, and spacious, and some boast views of the ocean

The Viceroy's 162 rooms are excellent and spacious -- 320 square feet for Viceroy Rooms, 470 for Grandes, and 640-plus for Suites. A thoroughly Hollywood Regency style is conveyed through mirror-paneled walls, black-and-gray-striped carpeting, and mini-chandeliers. The bathrooms are small, but immaculate and beautiful with heavily veined marble. All bathrooms have shower/tub combos and refillable Neil George body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.

About half the rooms are standard Viceroy Rooms. Guest can upgrade to an ocean view, but given the distance -- and the four-lane road -- between the hotel and the beach, it's not always worth it. Grande Rooms do guarantee 150 more square feet and a pull-out sleeper sofa. All rooms feature pillowtop beds with feather duvets and comforters, as well as well-stocked minibars, flat-screen HDTVs with DVD players, and air purifiers or filters. Fast and reliable Wi-Fi is included in the hotel's resort fee. Cribs (free) and rollaways (charged per night) are both available.

Features

The usuals (gym, business center), plus a happening pool scene

The Viceroy boasts the standard big-city collection of amenities, but the highlight, to be sure, is the pair of plunge pools in the hotel's backyard. When the sun is out, the area typically attracts the usual SoCal concoction of celebrity wannabes, celebrity-oglers, and (purportedly) actual celebrities. 

Additionally, there is a modern 24-hour fitness center with free weights and cardio machines with built-in TVs. Two of the gym walls are fully mirrored and another is floor-to-ceiling glass with views of the backyard shrubbery and pools. A "business center" consists of a lone computer and printer tucked behind an ATM, though there is also homey lobby-level library that charms with lemon-yellow everything: curtains, seating, lamps, shag carpeting -- even ceiling.

The hotel charges a daily fee valet parking (typical for a nice hotel in L.A.) and guests with hybrid cars receive a discounted rate for overnight parking. Pets are allowed with a nonrefundable deposit. Room service (24 hours) and on-request newspaper delivery are available, as are laundry, dry-cleaning, and pressing services. Bike rentals, Wi-Fi, gym and computer access, and morning coffee are all included in the hotel's nightly amenity fee.

Food

A high-end restaurant on-site and plenty of other solid options nearby

The Viceroy's restaurant, Cast, serves locally sourced international fare for all three meals, plus weekend brunch. On a nice night, Cast's alfresco seating near the pool makes it a great place to take have a romantic date. Private dining for up to 48 guests is available. Cast Lounge is something of a destination. Besides guests, you'll find plenty of aspiring stars, and even those who have made it. On nice nights, service -- along with the scene -- extends all the way to the pool.

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Things You Should Know About Viceroy Santa Monica

Address

1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401-3215, United States

Phone

(310) 260-7500

Also Known As

  • Viceroy Hotel
  • Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica

Room Types

  • Empire Suite
  • Grande Room City View
  • Grande Room Ocean View
  • Monarch Suite
  • Viceroy Ocean View Room
  • Viceroy Room City View
  • Viceroy Room Partial Ocean View

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