Natalie and I were recently invited to experience The Artful Lodger package at Santa Monica’s Hotel Shangri-La; the package is available now through December 2013. Hotel Shangri-La is an independently owned and managed property and has no corporate affiliation to the well-known Asian chain. It’s confusing because they have the same name; the reason they get away with it is because this hotel, which has been around since 1939, actually licenses the name to the high-end Asian chain, according to one of the hotel employees. The service isn’t as crisp as the chain and the front desk staff don’t hand you back your credit card with two hands like they do in Asia but this boutique hotel, with 71 rooms and suites, has personality. Here are 10 reasons why you would want to stay at the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica.
It’s located in the heart of Santa Monica and is within walking distance to the beach, Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, which has world class shopping and restaurants. It’s also only 20 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and to The Getty Villa, tickets for which are included in The Artful Lodger package deal (photos below).
2. Art Deco beauty
The hotel is historic and contains furnishings and authentic collectibles sourced from the Art Deco period.In December 2008, Hotel Shangri-La reopened after an extensive multi-million dollar renovation.
3. The stars have slept here
Hotel Shangri-La has been a popular hideaway with guests ranging from presidents to movie stars. I’m not sure when they stayed here but I was told by more than one employee that Madonna and Tom Cruise have slept in the penthouse. On separate occasions.
4. Comfortable beds
The bed alone is worth staying here for – it’s extremely comfortable but the duvet can get hot so be sure to crank the AC.
5. The bathroom
You have to love the European-inspired modern marble bathrooms and the deep soaking Jacuzzi tub. However, the shower doesn’t have very good water pressure and the temperature changes from time to time.
6. The eco-friendly soap
Have you ever seen soap with the middle cut out? That’s a first for me so I thought it should be included in the list. Interesting and eco-friendly.
Santa Monica is loaded with a wide variety of excellent restaurants but if you don’t feel like venturing too far, the hotel offers some really good, locally produced food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They get their ingredients from the nearby Santa Monica farmers’ market, which operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The other days, the farmers deliver directly to the hotel chef. My favorite meal there was the breakfast burrito, although the brownie I had for dessert runs a close second … it was one of the best I’ve ever had, all warm and gooey. FYI: There’s both indoor and outdoor patio seating as well as poolside seating.
The hotel has a lush courtyard with a pool, hot tub and cabanas. The black and white striped loungers paired with hot pink towels is so L.A.
Next to the pool is a small, pop-up spa called Sybaris. They feature holistic treatments from the Ancient Tibetan Ku Nye Body Treatment to Reflexology and Reiki. Natalie and I had 20-minute foot massages, which were part of The Artful Lodger package deal but 20 minutes isn’t enough time. They need to bump it up to 40 or 60 minutes.
10. The robes
I didn’t see the Frette robes in the room but I do know the spa has them and they are one of the softest robes I’ve ever worn. I felt like packing mine in my bag but didn’t want to get a hefty bill, which you know would follow such a move.
Good to know
-The building is historic so the city won’t allow any structural changes. That’s why there are two windows, one antique, one modern in each room.
-The hotel has two small slow, original elevators. Cool but a little tight if you’re claustrophobic.
-The family next to us left so much of their breakfast toast that Natalie and I asked the waiter to box it up so we could feed the homeless; there’s no shortage of them in Santa Monica. He kindly obliged and even put fresh jars of jam in the bag, which was very thoughtful of him.
The Artful Lodger costs $765 for two persons and consists of:
· One Bedroom Suite Accommodation
· Private Town Car to Getty Villa
· Entrance and Reservation for Getty Villa
· Relaxing Foot Massage at Sybaris Rejuvenation Lounge for Two
· Surprise “House” Confectionary Turndown Chocolates (we never received our turndown or chocolates)
· Complimentary Valet Parking
*This stay was sponsored by Hotel Shangri-La, 1301 Ocean Avenue; Santa Monica, CA 90401; 310-394-2791.