Hotels in Santa Monica, California

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Best hotels in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Introduction

With its palm-lined promenades and its iconic pier, Santa Monica epitomizes old-school Hollywood glamour. Here, modernist architectural masterpieces jostle for the limelight with historic fairground rides, designer boutiques display the latest high-fashion trends, and million-dollar mansions hug the Pacific shoreline. This jaw-dropping beachfront city has featured in almost as many movies as its residents, and its own star credentials are illustrious, to say the least; Raymond Chandler used it as the inspiration for his fictional ‘Bay City,’ Tennessee Williams wrote ‘The Glass Menagerie’ in a hotel on Ocean Avenue, and even the legendary Route 66 began its historic journey across America on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Hotels in Santa Monica

Hotels in Santa Monica are as well-heeled as their famous guests, offering the same A-list service as they did in the golden age of the movies. Luxury tends to come as standard in this glittering playground, but if your budget is less lavish than your taste you can still find some good Santa Monica hotel deals if you’re prepared to shop around. The best tip is to keep your dates flexible to take advantage of less busy periods. Even legendary landmarks like the 5-star Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows or the striking Art Deco Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica have tempting out-of-season bargains.

Where to stay

The finest luxury hotels in Santa Monica are on the oceanfront, combining proximity to the downtown attractions with spectacular sea views. You’ll find everything from beach clubs to condos with easy access to the silky sands. For the best selection of cheap Santa Monica hotels, head a few blocks inland, where reliable national chains offer comfort and convenience just a short walk from downtown. Or appreciate the practicality of a traditional motel—the Palm Motel exudes the authentic charm of a highway inn, yet it’s less than 30 minutes on foot from Santa Monica Pier.

Things to see

Step back in time on Santa Monica’s iconic pier, one of the city’s best-loved heritage attractions. Its famous hippodrome, built by amusement park pioneers Charles I. D. Looff and his son Arthur in 1916 to house one of their crowd-pulling carousels, is a rare survivor from the original pier buildings. See the birthplace of the 20th century’s physical-fitness boom at the original Muscle Beach on the south side of the pier, then stroll past the colorful stores and restaurants of lively Third Street Promenade to Santa Monica Place. This upscale shopping mall was an early career success for the influential Modernist architect Frank Gehry, whose Santa Monica home is another world-famous landmark. Take a refreshing walk above the sandstone bluffs through Palisades Park to peer through its camera obscura, snap a selfie by its historic totem pole, and enjoy breathtaking views of Santa Monica Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

How to get to Santa Monica

Some would say the only way to arrive in Santa Monica is in the passenger seat of a head-turning supercar. But whether your transportation of choice is a sleek Ferrari or a second-hand Ford, you’ll probably be using the busy Santa Monica Freeway, Interstate 10, which runs between the ocean and downtown Los Angeles. California State Route 1, the famous Pacific Coast Highway, provides a scenic link to the major cities of the West Coast. Los Angeles International Airport is around 10 miles south of Santa Monica, and it’s easy to grab a cab, hire a shuttle, or hop on a local bus from the terminal.

Santa Monica travel guides

Santa Monica travel guides