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Hot List 2008

Oceana Santa Monica, Santa Monica, California 
$$$$

849 Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica, California 90403
United States

Tel: 310 393 0486

Tel: 800 777 0758

Snuck in among the posh apartment buildings on the north end of Santa Monica's beachfront boulevard, the revamped Oceana looks and feels more like a home. This palm-shaded complex—set around a heart-shaped pool—is an unassuming 70-room seaside retreat that attracts a mix of couples, families, and showbiz execs. Stuffed with brightly colored sofas and offbeat artwork, no two rooms are exactly alike, and most are fairly roomy. While all the usual mod cons are there (flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi), someone has also taken the time to outfit each room with books that one might actually pick up. Guests can relax alfresco around a fireplace beside the pool or in an Ocean Lounge that does triple duty as library, restaurant (the menu is a blend of traditional steak and lobster, and New Age bites like hamachi tuna carpaccio), and bar (whose trademark milk shakes are infused with vodka or rum). But Oceana's trump card is location: Palisades Park and the beach are across the street; Santa Monica Pier and the shop-filled Third Street Promenade are within walking distance.

When to go: Southern California gets its best beach weather in September and October.
Which room to book: Third-floor suites with balconies or picture windows overlooking Palisades Park and the Pacific.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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