Santa Monica, LA’s beachfront city, is a great place to spend a weekend. With a nice selection of luxury hotels, an array of fine dining options and great nightlife, it’s also possible to do it all without using a car. For visitors to Los Angeles, Santa Monica (which is actually its own independent city) is very close to LAX and only about 20 minutes away.
I had a chance to do a little weekend getaway in the beachfront city and was reminded why I love it so much. To be in the heart of the action, I stayed at Shutters on the Beach. This large, beachfront luxury hotel sits right on the sand, almost next to the city’s famous pier. Once you’ve arrived and parked, you can leave your car and walk everywhere in the city.
I really like the hotel, it has the feel of a (very large) Nantucket luxury beach house and the rooms carry on that same design theme. My room, with a partial sea view, was beautifully decorated with light colors and almost a shabby chic vibe. There was a large, built-in wall unit filled with art pieces and large art books. For fun there was even a juggling kit. The bathroom was especially luxurious with a huge whirlpool soaking tub. The fixtures, on the bathtub and in the shower, were especially nice, with a flawless chrome finish. Room service was prompt and delivered a delicious and perfectly prepared Wagyu burger, even at 3 a.m. That yummy burger was not cheap, $27 on the menu which came to $43 with gratuity, taxes and service charges.
My stay was after a long drive on the 10 freeway from Phoenix, part of a hands-free driving adventure with Cadillac in their amazing 2018 CT6. The car is equipped with Cadillac’s new Super Cruise technology, which allows for hands-free driving on divided highways and limited access freeways. Unlike other autopilot systems, the Cadillac system can tell if you’re looking at and paying attention to the road and if you’re not, it will disable the system. As long as you are paying attention, the car will steer itself (within a lane) and you don’t have to touch the wheel. It uses a combination of proprietary lidar mapping (like laser radar), GPS and car-mounted cameras to track the car’s position on the road and location in the world.
If you feel like leaving the hotel, The Bungalow is the city’s best nightspot, a bar / restaurant / lounge inside the Fairmont Miramar luxury hotel. For great seafood right next to the pier and overhanging the ocean, The Lobster can be crowded with tourists but it still serves great food. For shopping, take a 30 minute hike from Shutters, down Ocean Avenue and up Montana Avenue. The area on Montana from Lincoln Blvd. to about 20th street is filled with trendy shops, cool restaurants and a few fun bars.