This beachside Art Deco haunt delivers Old Hollywood charm in a Westside locale with romantic architecture, modern amenities and an It-crowd rooftop cocktail bar.
Perched on sunny Santa Monica boulevard above the Pacific Ocean, the Hotel Shangri-La is a time machine to 1939, albeit with some seriously contemporary amenities. Inside and out you’ll find Streamline Moderne architecture and a sleek, geometric design scheme; rooms are romantic without looking dated, and come stocked with iPhone docks and free wifi. The vibe is luxe, but decidedly laid-back: during your stay, you’re invited to lounge in a private cabana by pool, partake in some R&R at the in-house Xanadu Spa or attend a complimentary Saturday morning yoga class. While the hotel itself is stunning, another major appeal is Shangri-La’s incredibly central location. Across the street, you’ll find Palisades Park—a narrow stretch of grass dotted with palm trees, dog walkers and fitness buffs—and beyond that, the beach. A few blocks east is the Third Street Promenade, an outdoor mall that hosts big-name and boutique stores alike, as well as restaurants, street performers and three movie theaters. Head south, and you’re minutes away from the Pier’s year-round carnival.
Location: Santa Monica is a supremely walkable neighborhood. The atmosphere is welcoming and a little hippie-ish; true to its reputation, you’ll see as many juice bars as you do cocktail bars. You’ll find plenty to do around the Promenade, but if you’re looking to venture further east, the Metro now runs from Santa Monica to Culver City, Downtown and beyond.
Pacific Park: The Santa Monica Pier’s rides and carnival games are geared towards kids, but even the most grown-up of adults can appreciate a romantic ride on the Ferris wheel, or a spin on a restored 1920s wooden merry-go-round.
ONYX: On weekend nights, lithe 20-somethings fight for counter space at the Shangri-La’s ‘30s- meets-‘70s rooftop bar. Come for the panoramic views of the ocean; stay for the world class Moscow mule.
Father’s Office: A five-minute Lyft will land you at Father’s Office, a tucked-away beer and burger joint on Montana Avenue. The establishment is so confident in its short menu that it offers no adjustments or substitutions to any dish-- not that you’d want to change anything about the supremely savory bacon- and blue cheese-laden Office Burger, anyway.
Copa de Oro: This low-lit lounge is a haven for locals looking to impress their dates, tourists who need a break from the melee of the Promenade, and industry folks blowing off steam with a ginger-laced Honey Snap.
Good for: The Shangri-La is the perfect getaway for design-loving lovers, with romantic, airy rooms, sensuous spa treatments, and sunset views. While Santa Monica is family-friendly, parents might find the place too fussy for children, and the staff has bit of a reputation for being brusque; Shangri-La’s best suited for adults.
Amenities: Pool, hot tub, room service, free wifi, restaurant, bar, gym, laundry service, spa
Time Out tip: Don’t be intimidated by a large crowd at ONYX, the rooftop bar; while it’s open to the public—and guaranteed to heat up on a weekend night—guests of the hotel always get to skip the line.