If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, you’ve probably spent time in its neighboring city of Santa Monica, known for its beach views and, of course, the famous (and very Instagrammed) Santa Monica Pier. Despite its tourist attractions, Santa Monica is a great place to get away for a relaxing weekend away from it all, even if you’re from Los Angeles.
As a born and raised New Yorker, I welcomed the chance to escape the cold late winter weather and travel to the much sunnier and warmer West Coast to do just that. Keep reading to get all the details about my brief, wonderful weekend in Santa Monica, including where to eat and where to stay so you make the most of your time out of the office.
Where to stay
These days, we could all use a break. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, one of Santa Monica’s most iconic hotels, is the best place to completely disconnect from the outside world. As its name suggests, the expansive property of the Fairmont Miramar is home to a series of one- and two-level luxury bungalows along with their usual selection of (objectively stunning) rooms. Ideal for a bachelorette party or honeymoon, the bungalows offer the perfect blend of privacy and space.
Spotted by the iconic (and massive) Moreton Bay Fig Tree at its entrance, the property was originally called MiramarSpanish for “sea view”. Founded more than 100 years ago, the hotel and spa, which now spans five acres, looks like something out of a retro Hollywood movie: Lush greenery and palm trees dot the entire property and encircle the pool. in back. The hotel’s newly redesigned Lobby Lounge is outfitted with plush velvet sofas in shades of deep blue and dusty pink, making it the perfect place to sip a classic early evening cocktail. feels as the kind of place Hollywood royalty may have come to stay, it’s because stars like Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow have frequented it over the years.
What to do
Once you’ve checked in and spent some time poolside with a good read, head to the hotel’s very own Exhale Mind Body Spa for a detox experience that will eliminate any hidden stress within. your body.
The hotel also has a barber shop, hair salon, and other top-of-the-line amenities on-site, so you’ll be fresh when you’re ready to venture off the premises to explore in the California sunshine. The Fairmont Santa Monica is centrally located and a short distance from shopping destinations such as the 3rd Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. Better yet, you can relax on one of the nearby beaches or visit the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For a true farm-to-table experience, the Fairmont recently launched a new Farmers Market package, which lets you shop alongside Culinary Director Jason Prendergast so that you can buy the same ingredients that you will eat the same evening at the FIG restaurant.
Where to eat and drink
Santa Monica is no stranger to top-rated restaurants. Local favorites include the coastal Italian-inspired restaurant Elephante. I recommend the Fusilli Pesto. Another personal favorite of mine is Jinya Ramen Bar, where each bowl is simmered for 20 hours in-house. Or, if you’re just looking to grab a coffee while strolling around town, Philz Coffee can’t be beaten. Try the Iced Mint Mojito coffee (no, it doesn’t contain alcohol) for a refreshing twist on your afternoon staple.
There’s also Soko, an eight-seat sushi restaurant, which is located in the lobby of the Fairmont. All you have to do is simply check off their favorite bites from a curated menu and sample a la carte dishes – and watch them as they are prepared in front of you by sushi master Masa Shimakawa. And a new restaurant, Georgina’s, is set to open in the hotel next month. Named after the hotel’s founder, the bar will sit in an enclave off the lobby, giving you the perfect reason to sit down and sip before heading out to dinner.