Viceroy Santa Monica, Santa Monica, California $$$$
Santa Monica , California
Tel: 310 260 7500
Fax: 310 260 7515
Concierge.com's insider take:
This 162-room hotel was so hot when it opened in 2002 that it immediately became the Viceroy Group's flagship hotel. (To capitalize on its popularity, they even rebranded their Palm Springs property a Viceroy.) The hotel lobby and pool area, where renting one of the striped cabanas for the evening is a major investment, became the only place to be during weekends on the West Side; getting in required being a guest at the hotel or being on the exclusive V.I.P. list. These days, although the hotel is still a see-and-be-seen spot, it's no longer the circus it was. Throughout, Viceroy Group designer Kelly Wearstler's fresh, sophisticated decor is white and black, with bright-green accents (both of the plant and upholstery variety); even the slightly kitschy details in the guest rooms (basket-weave-print wallpaper; porcelain dog-shaped lamps) are somehow tastefully incorporated. The best rooms are on the upper floors, with views of the ocean a couple of blocks away—but all have glass coffee tables and chairs, high beds with Italian linens, flat-screen TVs, and CD and DVD players. There's no spa, but in-room treatments are offered from trendy Fred Segal Beauty; the restaurant, Whist, is excellent though needlessly pricey.