Santa Monica, California
Shutters On The Beach
Nantucket meets the Pacific
What it is
Low-key SoCal luxury, right on the sand.
What it isn't
Intimate: The laid-back vibe can't disguise the hotel's hubbub.
What we think
Shutters has been the go-to spot on Santa Monica beach since it opened in 1993. Echoing a Nantucket beach house with slate-gray siding, striped awnings and white railings, it has a more relaxed vibe than Casa del Mar, its brick-mansion sister property next door. Ironically, that chilled-out sensibility draws a crowd (plus the occasional celebrity), which can lend the common areas more bustle than you'd expect. The 186 guest rooms and 12 suites, spread among three buildings, turn the temperature down again. Interiors—by Michael Smith, the Obamas' decorator—are at once beachy and worldly: walnut furniture, colorfully patterned John Robshaw textiles, Tibetan rugs. All rooms have balconies (though some are tiny, and not all have ocean views). There are two restaurants, plus the requisite pool, spa and fitness center. But the standout features are the Living Room, a cocktail lounge with fireplaces and a balcony overlooking the Pacific—and, of course, the fact that you're just steps from the sand.
You're here because
You want to let your hair down at the beach, and you want a scene—but not one that will carve a bass line into your cerebellum.
Sitting on one of the lobby’s leather sofas with a margarita in hand and a flip-flop dangling from your manicured toe, you listen to the DJ and note the unthinkable but seamless marriage of New England beach chic with SoCal social scene.
Restaurants & Bars
One Pico- Californian, Fine Dining
Coast - Beachfront cafe with casual fare
Living Room Lounge
It’s a 7-minute walk up the beach to the Santa Monica Pier. Traffic permitting, it’s about 35 minutes by car to LAX.