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Casa del Mar

  • Hotels
  • Santa Monica
  • price 4 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Hotel Casa del Mar
    Photograph: Courtesy AVABLU
  2. Hotel Casa del Mar
    Photograph: Courtesy Lisa Romerein
  3. Hotel Casa del Mar
    Photograph: Courtesy Lisa Romerein
  4. Hotel Casa del Mar
    Photograph: Courtesy Lisa Romerein
  5. Hotel Casa del Mar
    Photograph: Courtesy Lisa Romerein

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

While received wisdom states that Shutters on the Beach is the finest high-end hotel in Santa Monica, Casa Del Mar is right next door, casually getting on with being just as elegant.

The two venues have in fact been owned by the same people since 1997, when ETC Hotels purchased the grand oceanfront building and converted it into a luxury hotel, a red brick neighbor to the more traditionally beachy rafters of the craftsman-style Shutters.

Built in the 1920s as an exclusive beach club—Casa Del Mar is rightfully on the National Register of Historic Places, and housed U.S. Navy troops during WWII—the sense that stars of the silver screen once wafted down the epic double staircase in the spacious lobby is palpable. It’d have been foolish to strip away the stately art deco design features here, and Casa Del Mar has retained its century-old grandeur. There are, however, welcome touches of modernity—Michael S. Smith (who was also chosen by Obama to makeover the Oval Office) spruced up the lobby in 2014, with prerequisite potted palms, Med-style mosaic floors and beaded chandeliers.

He also designed their Terrazza Lounge restaurant, which offers Italian food and, even more appealingly, incredible views of the Pacific. As with many Los Angeles hotels over a certain monetary standard (which begins at roughly $600 a night before taxes and fees) we saw the prerequisite A-list rock stars entering the lobby to a flurry of autograph collectors as we checked out.

Naturally, ocean views are the big draw here, as well as easy access to the beach. But if you don’t want to mingle with the masses, you can stay within the confines of the hotel and lounge around the small swimming pool and massive hot tub which overlook a prime section of Santa Monica’s world-famous sands.

Rooms are as beachy as they come, with shells on shelves and lots of light blue detail constantly reminding you where you are. Though it’s pretty hard to forget—beachside rooms come complete with the sound of roaring waves. Our pristine, gleaming bathroom was spacious and stacked with Diptyque products in eco-safe containers.

As a hotel, Casa Del Mar prides itself on its cozy elegance—and totally nails the brief. When it comes to location though, there’s something that feels a little off-kilter about indulging in such monied splendor when the streets outside are quite so anarchic. In an issue also shared by DTLA and Hollywood, among many other parts of L.A., Santa Monica might be home to some of the wealthiest people in California, but it also has a serious homelessness crisis; we arrived at the hotel to the sound of screaming from a block away, though the doormen—evidently used to similarly startling local activity—didn’t blink an eyelid.

Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper


1910 Ocean Way
Santa Monica
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