This beachy, pet-friendly hotel located four blocks from the Pacific delivers a classic SoCal experience, complete with a heated outdoor pool, bike rentals, fitness classes and a wholly laidback demeanor.
They say the ocean has healing powers, and one could say the same thing about free parking; Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica has both. Nestled in the artsy Ocean Park district of Santa Monica, the 310-room four-star hotel doesn’t exactly kiss the beach, but at least guests can view the Pacific from their balconies. And the sea breeze is more than palpable poolside, where a plethora of full service lounge chairs await. That California sunset makes for a great backdrop to craft cocktails in the lobby’s Longitude Bar. This hotel has all the bells and whistles of a resort with the European charm of a boutique accommodation. Rent a bike and traverse the city’s popular 26-mile path or reserve a class in the state-of-the-art fitness facility—all complimentary save for a $28 service fee which also includes free bubbly at check-in, gratis Wi-Fi and overnight parking. Thanks to its semi-off-the-beaten-track location, obnoxious tourist activity is kept at a minimum, making that much-needed R&R even more attainable.
Location: Not technically ocean-side property, it's a painless stroll to the beach – approximately 1.4 miles from the iconic pier, aquarium and Third Street Promenade. An even shorter walk or hotel shuttle ride (anywhere within a 2-mile radius is free) takes you to the great selection of bars, restaurants and boutiques lining trendy Main Street. The new light rail, which can take riders all the way to Downtown L.A. in a mere 45 minutes, also happens to be right around the corner, so keeping yourself busy shouldn’t be too hard.
The Misfit: Boasting one of the best happy hours in the area, this is the perfect spot for classy day drinking. From noon until 7pm daily, all but three of the bar’s specialty cocktails are half price. And don’t forget the free homemade chocolate chip-sea salt cookie on your way out.
Ashland Hill: Just a 5-minute drive, this Santa Monica Cheers-in-the-making offers generous pours, unabashed comfort food and a pet-friendly patio.
Brick + Mortar: Inventive pizzas and a lengthy list of cocktails, beer and wine make this a popular destination along Main Street. Don’t miss their lively happy hour 4-7pm weekdays, 3-7pm weekends. Makes for a lovely fifteen-minute walk.
Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery: Craving some authentic Italian deli food? Take a twelve-minute walk to this longtime Santa Monica staple for cold cuts, cheeses, and gourmet specialties.
Blue Plate Taco: Sip fresh fruit cocktails and devour tacos with homemade tortillas as you gaze upon the sparkling sea just steps away from your table. The popular spot is about a 6-minute drive away.
Good for: The range of recreational amenities—from the pool to the bicycles—combined with a convenient location attract both young couples and family vacationers. There are activities for every type of guest, even those not interested in leaving the room (i.e. video-game consoles). Thanks to some top-notch views from the Delfina Ballroom, this hotel makes for a great wedding venue as well.
Amenities: Concierge, pool, restaurant, gym, bicycle rental, complimentary parking, pet-friendly
Time Out tip: The cabanas and fire pits around the pool are first-come-first-serve and guests love to take their sweet time, so you will want to head out early to secure a good spot. For the ultimate SoCal experience, might as well upgrade to a suite and enjoy unobstructed ocean views from a jacuzzi on your private balcony; doesn’t get much better than that.