Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica, California $$$$
Santa Monica , California
Tel: 310 581 5533
Fax: 310 581 5503
Concierge.com's insider take:
After a $50 million renovation, the Hotel Casa del Mar opened in 1999 next to its sister hotel, Shutters on the Beach. But while Shutters has a beach-house aesthetic, the 129-room Casa, which was a private beach club in the 1920s, is done up in grand Mediterranean style. There's a stately marble lobby and a pool suspended above the sand on a wide terrace; rooms have overstuffed toile sofas and bamboo-and-wood headboards, and each has a plush chaise at the end of the bed. The white marble bathrooms with big whirlpool tubs have frosted-glass windows that can be opened onto the bedrooms (each room's "Chill Bar" includes toiletries like gel masques and bath crystals—although they'll cost you extra). The three duplex penthouse suites all have fireplaces; one has its own exercise room. On the fourth floor is the Murad Spa—although massages can also be had in poolside cabanas—and the 75-seat, first-floor restaurant, Oceanfront, has spectacular sunset views. The hotel's once mediocre service, like the decor, seems to have undergone an overhaul—staffers are now attentive and solicitous.