Art Deco Icons and the beautiful, fashionable elite; sumptuously healthy, farm-to-table cuisine and wide, sandy beaches; palm-lined pools and rooftop views—this is the best of what Los Angeles has to offer.
When we say that the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica has it all, we mean it quite literally.
First impressions are everything when it comes to hotels, and walking into the bright and elegant Shangri-La lobby, you immediately feel like you’ve transcended real life, stepping into a dreamy world of fresh sunshine and stylish leisure. The impression lasts as you arrive first to your room, brushing past the fabulous mid-century furnishings, to throw open the window and wave exuberantly to the pacific as though it were an adoring fan.
For now, the pacific can wait, as you have important matters to attend to, namely, poolside cabanas, chaise lounges, and cocktails, preferably the frozen kind.
It is just too easy to wax poetic about the luxuriously seductive nature of lingering poolside at the Shangri-La. Imagine how many cold, New York nights will melt off of you the minute you dip your sun-kissed limbs into the glittering pool. Later, as the day fades into night and the fire pit lights up, having to choose between fireside and poolside suddenly seems so passé.
Back up in your room, having soaked sunshine to your saturation point, the gloriously voluminous bed calls to you, but you have plans for that later. This time the beckoning of the view from your window is too strong to evade, and slipping into some comfortable espadrilles, all of Santa Monica is your oyster.
From strolling up and down its pleasantly approachable streets, shopping languidly and snacking at its plentiful array of cafes and restaurants, to kicking off those espadrilles into the sand or skipping around the famous Santa Monica pier—all of it is almost within arm’s reach from the Shangri-La.
Though culinary temptation is everywhere and easy to satisfy in Santa Monica, we recommend saving your appetite for The Dining room at Shangri-La, the hotel’s on site restaurant. The classically Art-Deco ambience, complete with cozy, leather banquets, circle backed chairs and marble bar all serve as a fine compliment to the vibrant, locally-driven, and very modern menu.
Inspired by the spoils of the indulgently long California growing season, it’s easy to order well and lavishly. And such behavior is well warranted, as an endless flow of sumptuous and artful plates to your table is the best way to experience this exceptional restaurant. Our favorites were the vegetable driven dishes like grilled, brown butter ramps, or the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market salad.
Perfectly highlighting the incredible quality, the preparation kept the integrity of the amazing produce, but elevating it, extracting the fresh air and sunshine and placing it on the tip of your fork. Another reason to focus on the incredible vegetables: to lessen the guilt of indulging in the pure decadence of the sticky toffee pudding (which is absolutely unavoidable). Densely moist, perfectly caramelized, pushed into overload with the kiss of bourbon, this dessert will send your taste buds to heaven.
Lucky for you, the wild comforts of your massive bed are only a few floors above, where another kind of heaven awaits for the rest of you. Or, as some call it, Shangri-La.
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Jeffery Owens and Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative