There’s still a little sand in my toes as I pad onto my room’s private balcony. I could change out of my beachwear and walk the short distance into Santa Monica’s lively downtown area, perhaps starting the evening with a happy hour cocktail before dining on freshly caught seafood.
I could also stay right here in my room at Loews Santa Monica and sink into one of the plush, cushioned chairs on the terrace. I could flick the switch to start my very own private fire pit (a fabulous feature of some of the hotel’s best rooms) and practice toasting marshmallows to a perfect, pale golden crisp. I could fail and eat the charred remnants anyway, squashed into s’mores, as the sky darkens to an inky, navy blue with fiery stripes of blood orange and pink.
Such tricky decisions are an inevitable feature of staying at one of Santa Monica’s beach hotels. There’s so much to explore here, from the broad sandy beach and riotously retro Santa Monica Pier to the boutiques and hip bars of downtown.
Yet this Los Angeles County city is home to some of California‘s finest oceanfront properties, and they make it tough to venture outside. Thankfully, the best of them are fully aware of their enviable location and make sure it is as visible and present as possible. They have beachside restaurants, pools whose edges seem to melt into the ocean, and rooms with windows and balconies that perfectly frame Pacific Ocean views.
So while you probably should spend some time getting to know this charming city, you can also soak it all in, guilt-free, from the comfort of your room. From properties that ooze coastal luxury to chic boutique hotels steps from the sand, these are the best Santa Monica beach hotels.