The Best Santa Monica Hotels for a Staycation

What’s more luxurious than a suite with an ocean view?

March 19, 2024 6:00 am
woman in a brown bathing suit, white shall, sunglasses, sitting on a green couch, surrounded by plants
Calabra Rooftop at Santa Monica Proper Hotel
Proper Hospitality

When it comes to splurging on a luxury hotel in Los Angeles, most locals are going to opt for the exact same thing that tourists love — a beachy neighborhood stay. Even if you live on the west side, checking into an oceanfront suite for the night (or three) means not having to worry about parking, cooking for yourself or doing anything you don’t want to. The whole point of a staycation in your own city is to shirk all responsibilities and act like royalty for a day, which is why Santa Monica is a great option. 

In particular, there are a few hotels here that are so over-the-top with their luxury amenities, they can be hard to leave. “Oceana offers a seamless blend of personalized service and world-class amenities, making every guest feel like a VIP in their own luxury beach home,” says Ruiz de Porras, the GM of Oceana, a 70-suite luxury hotel that routinely tops lists as one of the best beachside guesthouses in the city. “From the moment visitors step into the lobby, they are enveloped in an atmosphere of tranquility and luxury.”

Even if you don’t have your own beach house yet, properties like Oceana deliver on a vacation home feeling. In that spirit, here’s a rundown of the best hotel options in Santa Monica for your next staycation splurge. 

pool, chairs, trees, cabanas
Oceana pool
Christian Horan Photography


Best for: Palatial, residential-style suites with ocean views

With just 70 rooms, all arranged around a central courtyard and heart-shaped pool, this suites-only property is a quiet, unassuming escape that’s still just minutes from the heart of Santa Monica’s shopping and dining corridor. High-end touches like Frette linens and Loro Piana accents make these spacious one- or two-bedroom suites feel more like a wealthy friend’s guesthouse than a hotel room. It’s no wonder plenty of the guests who book into Oceana opt for a long-term stay — there’s something decidedly comforting about this level of attentive hospitality and all-encompassing privacy. Grab a drink and check out the view from the Sunset Terrace in the evening, or simply walk across the street and stroll down to the sand. 

849 Ocean Avenue

indoor white chairs and tree in plant pot
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
Proper Hospitality

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Best for: Stunning architecture and interiors, plus foodie-approved restaurants

Slowly but surely, Proper Hospitality has become one of the most trusted names in California. From their flagship hotel in San Francisco, Kelly Wearstler’s impeccably-styled properties have popped up in Santa Monica and Downtown LA, as well as Austin and Malibu (plans for Dallas, Lake Tahoe and Palm Springs are also in the works). But Santa Monica was their first foray into Los Angeles, and though it’s set back from the beach itself, the 1920s-era landmark building was accented with a curvilinear addition that gives it an even more luxurious air. The interiors are gleaming and eclectic with a vintage coastal feel, and not one but two onsite restaurants — the Palma Lounge lobby bar (which also serves an afternoon tea menu) and the sunny Calabra rooftop — mean there’s really no reason to leave. 

700 Wilshire Blvd

The Georgian, a ’30s Art Deco Gem, Gets the Makeover It Deserves
If you’re not staying at the renovated Santa Monica landmark, at least go for the late-night piano bar and discreet power dining
white chairs surrounding table, blue tea set, window with view of beach
A suite at The Georgian
The Georgian

The Georgian

Best for: Outstanding design and a late-night supper club with live music

This recently restored 1933 icon is decadent in all the best ways. It has a terrace restaurant with ocean views, lovingly refurbished Romanesque Revival and Art Deco design elements, and even a hidden supper club steakhouse with live music and an extensive Italian wine list. Every room is slightly different, with contemporary touches like record players or bespoke in-room bars, and personalized suites with panoramic views and marble bathrooms complete with walk-in showers. This property is so stunning that it very recently joined the Leading Hotels of the World, one of only two hotels in LA (and the only one in Santa Monica) to earn this distinction. Sure, you can wander down to the water from here, but this property is so transportive you might just want to stay inside all day.

1415 Ocean Avenue 

outdoors, chairs and tables, fairy lights on trees. sunset sky
The courtyard at Shutters on the Beach

Shutters on the Beach

Best for: Romantic getaways, long walks on the beach and oceanfront dining 

Plenty of the best hotels in Santa Monica offer ocean views, and most of them are less than a block or two from the water. But none of them are literally on the sand the way Shutters is. This property and its sister hotel, Casa Del Mar, are both located directly on the beach, separated from the sand only by the walking path that stretches along the coast. With a distinctively East Coast aesthetic, exemplifying Cape Cod-style architecture and decor, this hotel has become synonymous with romance. If that’s the mood you’re in for a staycation, look no further than cozy rooms with ocean views, plush beds and sexy bathrooms. The final touch is ocean view dining from each of the three onsite restaurants.

1 Pico Blvd

chandelier, fountains, stairs, trees
Hotel Casa Del Mar
Lisa Romerein

Hotel Casa Del Mar

Best for: Beachfront luxury for large groups and families, over-the-top spa treatments

Right next door to Shutters, this massive historic hotel has a certain grandeur that’s impossible to deny. Built in 1926 as a private beach club, Casa Del Mar is now almost 100 years old but has been meticulously restored with multi-million dollar renovations that add contemporary flourishes while preserving its old-world charm. This incredibly private beachfront hotel is a haven for celebrities, families and groups looking for an ideal place to spend quality time on the water. The property is home to three restaurants and offers beach chair rentals and a beachfront pool, along with sumptuous rooms and suites. For an even bigger splurge, book a treatment at their tranquil spa, which is one of the best in the city.

1910 Ocean Way

pool, cabana, palm trees
Viceroy pool deck
Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Viceroy Santa Monica

Best for: A pet-friendly staycation and high-end chef’s table dining experience 

While Viceroy has an incredible reputation for glamour all over the world, Viceroy Santa Monica is something special. Located directly on Ocean Avenue, close to both the water and a bevy of dining options, one of the best parts of this design-forward hotel is the monthly chef’s table experience, a $99 six-course menu that highlights the best of California produce and local ingredients. Add in a dog-walking concierge and pet-friendly amenities, and this property is the perfect fit for an animal lover or a foodie. All that plus coastal rooms, many of them with balconies and ocean views, make this another great selection for an in-town escape.

1819 Ocean Avenue

Fairmont Miramar
Fairmont Miramar
Lisa Romerein

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Best for: A serene bungalow stay 

The bungalow-style hotel has been around for decades now, but following the impact of the pandemic and an increased desire for privacy in general, renting out your own little cottage is back at the top of the luxury market. In Los Angeles, a number of the properties with these standalone guesthouses are in Beverly Hills, but Fairmont Miramar is one of the few that offers a bungalow setting right near the California Incline. It may be in the thick of things in Santa Monica, directly across the street from Wally’s, but these incredibly peaceful bungalows are like a world unto themselves. Laid out behind the hotel’s main tower buildings around the pool and lawn, a night at Miramar might as well be a stay in the California countryside — it’s that idyllic. Of course, their tower rooms and the more lively restaurants and shops are great amenities, too. And because it’s a Fairmont, the incredibly high level of service is spot-on.  

101 Wilshire Blvd

pink carpet floor, glass doors open to balcony, white bed with yellow throw pillow, print wallpaper, yellow lamp
Pailhouse Studio

Palihouse Santa Monica

Best for: The design-obsessed and architecture buffs

When Avi Brosh began his project of slowly but surely rethinking hospitality through brands like Arrive, Palisociety, Palihotel and Le Petit Pali, no one realized his success would soon lead to a network of more than 15 properties (with more still opening at a constant rate). Brosh’s knack for reimagining vintage motels and finishing them with the finest design, high-end amenities and flawless service is downright astonishing. No matter where you check in, your experience is going to be excellent if Pali or Arrive are involved. This recent flip in Santa Monica is no different. Brosh took over an old property featuring Moorish-influenced Mediterranean Revival Architecture. With 38 tucked-away rooms and a few multi–bedroom suites, it’s the privacy and aesthetic that guests come here for, and many of them end up returning for multiple visits.

1001 3rd Street


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