September 8, 2013

Luxury on the beach: Loews, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier

They really should stop cars from driving on Santa Monica Pier. It’s too busy!

Santa Monica is arguably LA’s best stopover destination for kiwis and Aussies and I’ve stopped over on many an occasion!

There’s shopping, eating, drinking and sightseeing to be done and there’s lots of stunning luxury hotels here too. The best ones face the Pacific Ocean with its killer sunsets. But for something really special, in another category entirely, try the Loews Hotel on Santa Monica Beach.

Our taxi from LAX arrived into the sweeping semi-circular driveway of the hotel after about 15 minutes from the airport and I was immediately a little bit excited. The Loews has had a reno and the first impression is lavish. I had that thrill you get when you know you’re in for something special. In we go…

The lobby is divided into small and intimate spaces by the clever use of furnishings and dotted with soaring palm trees in large planters. It’s a light and airy place making the most of the ocean view through the 30m high windows at the far end. It’s also a great spot to park yourself to use the free WiFi that is available to guests here. Conveniently this is also the base for Hertz car rental and we rented a car the next day easy peasy.

Loews Hotel Santa Monica Muscle Beach

The view from my veranda over the posers at Muscle Beach

In 2010 the hotel underwent a $7 million renovation and for the next 2 nights I was ensconced in an amazing corner suite, yes suite!, with a veranda overlooking the beach just across a carpark. To my right is the famous Santa Monica Pier with its Ferris Wheel that can be seen for miles. Directly in front is Muscle Beach and I kid you not, there are muscle mutts working out on a teeny square of grass and more people swinging off Olympic-like hoops and dropping into the sand. It makes me want to pour another wine and keep watching quite honestly.

Loews Santa Monica pool

Or head to the pool deck and soak up the California beach vibe

Loews Santa Monica veranda suite

No wonder we spent our first evening sitting out here!

There are 5 restaurant/bar/lounges, each with different views and each serving different cuisine from sushi to tapas, fine dining or all-day snacks. Our room was so cool though that we opted for room service and spent the first evening with a bottle of red wine and nibbles on the veranda.

The next night was our final night of 3 weeks in the US so we splashed out and dined at The Lobster. This is right at the beginning of the Santa Monica Pier and a 2 minute walk from the hotel. It is busy every night and with good reason. The lobster, steaks, crab and truffle fries are to die for. But it’s the views that really make this place a stand out.

Verdict:

The Loews on Santa Monica Beach is the perfect hotel for romance, a special occasion, or just those who want to splash out. It’s a 2.5km bike ride along the cycle tracks to Venice Beach, and only a short walk to Santa Monica. There is a fabulous day spa, a gym, swimming pool and with those views and this close to the sand, that’s pretty much all you could wish for, right?

Loews Santa Monica fire pits

Fire pits on the pool deck. Is this the life or what?!

Heading to Santa Monica soon? Here’s my post on 5 great rooftop bars to while away your evening>>

I stayed as a guest of the Loews Santa Monica and was generously upgraded to that kick-ass corner suite. All views are my own though, and seriously, if I could afford holidays like this, I would most certainly stay here again!

And big thanks to Hawaiian Airlines who flew me here from Auckland and reach into 11 US cities direct from Honolulu.

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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