Oceana Santa Monica has 70 spacious suites ranging from 500 to 1,750 square feet. PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANA HOTEL
A true escape awaits at Hotel Oceana, a coastal hideaway in Santa Monica that feels worlds away from L.A.’s daily grind.
When planning our trip to Hotel Oceana, I wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect. Driving 20 minutes from our home in West Adams honestly felt more like a hassle than a holiday. How different could it be from a cozy weekend at the house? Nevertheless, my husband and I pack up the car for a two-day getaway with our dog, Joni, quickly arriving at the Ocean Ave. hotel.
My perspective shifts as we pull up to the ivy-covered building in a peaceful residential neighborhood. A valet attendant greets us warmly and handles our luggage while we take in the soothing atmosphere. With wood-paneled walls, natural light and decor in muted shades of blue and gray, the high-ceilinged lobby feels more like an elegant, welcoming living room than a hotel. We’re offered warm cookies and lemonade, and Joni is treated like a princess. At that moment, any lingering thoughts of deadlines and other responsibilities fade away, and I genuinely start to relax and appreciate our surroundings.
The effortlessly chic lobby feels like an elegant living room PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANA HOTEL
The 70-room hotel—formerly residences—underwent a $30M renovation by Anna Busta of Busta Studio right before the pandemic, and the thoughtfulness she put into the design is apparent. A subtle beachy color palette permeates every aspect of the interiors, including the chic modern furniture, while punches of geometric patterns and gold metal accents spice things up. Interesting design and fashion books, and original works by local artists add personality.
Our room has several comfortable seating areas, a separate light and airy bedroom, and a spacious bathroom with plush amenities. But the best part has to be the patio, where we—Joni included—take in the stunning views of the Pacific throughout our stay
An airy atrium—for yoga classes, cocktails and more—overlooks the Pacific and Palisades Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANA HOTEL
Beyond the gorgeous interiors and landscaping by Perry Guillot, we are struck by how natural and warm the service is— attentive but never overbearing. It helps create an atmosphere of home—but better—throughout our stay. The hotel staff sets up several activities for us over the weekend, including a private morning yoga class on the third-floor atrium looking out toward the sea. The intuitive instructor sensed our skill level (not very high!) and knew how to lead us through the exercises so they were challenging but always doable. She even welcomed Joni, licks and all.
We enjoy our meals at Sandpiper, which serves a fresh menu of California classics with global flair. Until now, the restaurant has only been open to hotel guests, but anyone can book a reservation as of May. Although the restaurant is already beautiful, it will soon undergo a complete renovation by famed British interior designer Martin Brudzinski in the coming year, something that will surely draw in guests from across the city.
Surrounded by graphic tiles, the pool area oftentimes has live music PHOTO COURTESY OF OCEANA HOTEL
Meals can also be taken by the cement-tile-lined pool area, where a musician plays acoustic guitar one afternoon, creating a relaxed, peaceful vibe. And if you’re in the mood to explore, downtown Santa Monica is within walking distance—or the house car can take you where you’d like to go. We took leisurely walks along the cliffs in Palisades Park and strolled into town for dinner at Cassia, a prime-time reservation made quickly by the concierge.
One of our favorite moments is a special afternoon on the beach, where the hotel staff set up a cushy daybed with an umbrella, Champagne and snacks. As the sun sets, I take it all in—my husband and Joni running on the sand, the sounds of the gentle waves, and the smell of salt in the air. Is it possible to truly escape when staying in your own city? At Oceana, the answer is a resounding yes. hoteloceanasantamonica.com