Los Angeles was the last stop on our American adventure and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish our trip in style than with a stay at the luxuriously glamorous Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. Although this part of town is a fair bit pricier than central LA and Hollywood, Santa Monica is a whole lot classier and prettier, with a chilled out beach vibe, miles of sandy beaches, the bright blue sea, and a host of sophisticated restaurants and bars.
We had driven from the sunny blue skies of the Big Sur coast but almost as soon as we made it to Los Angeles, in typical fashion, it started to rain. Isn’t LA supposed to have year round sunshine?! Apparently not for us. It seemed that we weren’t going to get our chance to frolic on the miles of gorgeous sandy beaches. No watching surfers catching some waves or seeing the pumped up bodies working out at Muscle Beach. But it was still a beautiful part of California and a little bit of rain has never stopped us from doing anything!
Having a car is pretty much a necessity in LA as the huge city is so spread out. Valet parking costs a whopping $35 a day but everywhere in Santa Monica had such pricey parking – I guess that comes with staying in such a fantastic location. Turning up in our giant colourfully patterned Mystery Machine type campervan had us cringing as we pulled into the plush hotel’s car park, so we were extremely grateful when the valet took it off our hands without even batting an eyelid. I like to think he had some fun driving around in our colourful camper instead of the slightly fancier cars he’s probably used to!
The friendly staff on reception and the complimentary welcome glasses of champagne and cider left us smiling as we made our way up to our room, feeling nice and relaxed knowing that we now had a bit of a break from all the driving. As soon as we opened the door to our oceanfront room, we could see the tops of the palm trees through the balcony doors.
Despite the dismal weather, the view that looked directly out onto the sandy beach across the road made the cloudy skies just fade away.
Tearing our eyes away from the view, the rest of our room was lovely and plush with a huge bed that looked as inviting as a giant fluffy cloud. The flip flops came off, the robe went on and I jumped straight into that bed!
Shy guests might get a little scare on first impressions as it seems that the bathroom is completely open to the rest of the room with just a transparent glass window in between that looks directly into the shower. If you like to flaunt your stuff then I’m sure you’ll love it, but if you prefer some privacy while showering there is a blind that can be pulled down to cover up all your nude bits!
It was a rarity that we got time to relax on this trip of ours, but after a couple of long adventurous days driving down the coast we decided to just chill out in the comfort of our plush hotel room for a change.
So after a quick visit to the gym (Mr Ayla, of course, not me!), we enjoyed our champagne and the sweet treats that had greeted us on arrival and we watched from the balcony as the sun started to set and the bright lights of the Santa Monica Pier began to twinkle through the palm trees.
In room dining for breakfast or lunch is the only eating option available at the hotel but with so many fabulous restaurants within walking distance we always had a choice for food at any time of day or night. There’s a taco restaurant right next door, a lively pub a few doors down, and a Cheesecake Factory right around the corner (and you already know how much I love The Cheesecake Factory!). For something a bit more low key, some of LA’s famous food trucks line up along the street outside, or there’s a plethora of snacks to tempt you in the room. Not wanting to venture too far on our one night of relaxation, we grabbed a pizza and headed back to our room to lounge in the big comfy bed with our fluffy robes on, watching trashy Hollywood gossip shows. Perfect! (Although I was a little disappointed when I found out that Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris were on a date night at a restaurant nearby!)
The hotel has a very peaceful and calm atmosphere and even though our room faced directly onto Ocean Avenue, it was as if we were in our own little bubble, away from the busy city with nothing to disturb us. The outdoor swimming pool was always quiet – although that may have been due to the grey skies – but the little pop up bar in the evenings made it a lovely place to sit for a drink at night, listening to the sound of the ocean lapping at the shore just across the road.
One of the things I loved most about this hotel is that it’s very eco-conscious with a solar heated pool, LED lights around the hotel, sustainably sourced furniture and decor, and automatic climate control in rooms, but yet it still retains a very modern and chic feel and doesn’t forego on luxury at all.
Santa Monica is a gorgeous part of California and we couldn’t have picked a better place than the Shore Hotel to end a wonderful trip.
This may have been the last stop on our American adventure but don’t worry – there are still plenty more posts to come!
What’s your favourite part of Los Angeles? Have you visited gorgeous Santa Monica? Let me know in the comments below or at:
Big thanks to the Shore Hotel for our stay – it was the perfect luxurious end to our trip!