Arrival/Check-In: My colleague, Carly, was kind enough to provide transportation from an evening event in Beverly Hills to the Hotel Shangri-La. We admired the Art Deco exterior of this classic but newly updated hotel as we pulled down Ocean Avenue. Re-opened in 2008 after major renovations that are evident in all areas of the interior, the Shangri-La provides a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. I checked in quickly at the late hour, and desk staff recommended a local restaurant and bar for my first taste of Santa Monica.
Guest Quarters: Before heading out for a bite and a drink, I dropped my bags in my suite, room 406, and took a quick look around. The entrance opened into a large space — a long, combined kitchen and living room with hardwood floors. The kitchen included a full-sized bottom-freezer fridge, an oven with an induction range top, a microwave and a dishwasher as well as cutlery, standard kitchen tools and dishware. The small table served as my desk the following days before morning meetings.
The bathroom was spacious, with an entry from the bedroom as well as the front room. Separate shower and bathtub facilities each included a showerhead as well as a detachable arm with strong water pressure.
The bedroom met my expectations and included an internal window to the bathroom over the tub, as well as a window with an ocean view. The updated sliding windows blocked out street noise, but when parted allowed access to the casement windows that could be opened to allow fresh Pacific air into the room.
Services/Amenities: The dining areas of the Shangri-La are top-notch. The Suite 700 bar on the uppermost floor of the hotel is a local favorite; it was crowded each evening when I visited to experience the sunset from the rooftop balcony. The view stretches from Malibu past the Santa Monica Pier toward Venice, Manhattan and Redondo beaches.
I also enjoyed several meals in the dining room adjacent to the main lobby. The breakfast parfait was especially delicious; I wish I had more time to truly enjoy it before running out to meetings. The hotel also offers the Sybaris Spa and a courtyard pool. I did not have the opportunity to test either; perhaps next time.
The Experience: The Shangri-La combines a classic feel with modern luxury. Its location in Santa Monica is convenient for airport access as well as dining and shopping. The great service, on-premise dining and overall comfort made for a pleasant stay, and I look forward to returning later this spring when we host our Global Traveler Leisure Travel Awards here under the Southern California sun.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- High-quality bed linens
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Complimentary bottled water
- Stocked minibar
- Ample lighting
- In-room coffeemaker
- Iron and ironing board
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center
- Turn-down service
1301 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
tel 310 394 2791
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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