Driving along Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica even in the thickest of traffic gives one a much different disposition than the three freeways that got me there. That change in attitude was a fitting transition as I drove up to the Hotel Shangri-la sparkling in the afternoon sun. As I walled into the lobby I could feel the pace of life slow down as my heart rate started to increase. Rarely will environment send a vibe that strong, so soon. We were off to a great start.
I take my time getting to my room to marvel at the lingering art deco couches left over from the recent renovation. The hotel was built in 1939 and still retained much its original charm…and the original elevator.
When I opened the door to my room I had to stop standing in the doorway to take it all in. One thing that struck me was a masculine feel to the decor. The dark colors stood apart from any other hotel I’ve visited. As I come around the corner I notice I have a full kitchen at my disposal. While it’s unlikely I would be cooking, it’s nice to know I have the option should I come back for an extended stay. I was impressed by the way the suite had the ability to be opened up or compartmentalized should one guest need a little privacy.
When it came to design, the bathroom was one area of special attention. The jacuzzi bath was big enough for two, comfortably. The white tile, chrome covered lights and hand crafted woodwork were all the incentive a man needs to spend an hour prepping for a night out.
Rounding out my tour of the room I thought I might have saved the best for last when I opened the door out on to the deck facing the ocean. The cozy deck chairs made it seem perfectly sensible to spend the day watching the sun drop slowly into the horizon.
Did someone say bar? Hotel Shangri-la has a very cool bar on the roof looking out on the ocean. I fell in love with the wood swivel club chairs. The room has a feel of your grandfathers hunting lodge, turned into a bar and moved to the roof of a swank hotel. I dare you to not love it there, in fact, I double dog dare you because it can’t be done. The elixir to this swelling heart affair would be their Pimms cup; a cocktail that blends Pimms with mint, cucumber and berries with a splash of club soda. Take my car keys…for the summer please.
In an age where hotels strive to provide a unique experience Hotel Shangri-la exposed them all as coming from the same corporate planning and thinking. This hotel preserved an old character and added layers of new charm that were contemporary yet complimentary of its history. I can truly say my experience here was like no other. Now to see if I can replicate that happening happening.
1301 ocean ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401