It’s no secret that Santa Monica, California is one of my favourite cities in the world. And although I might move away from time to time for work, I always return to it, and I always return to one area in particular – West of Wilshire and just blocks off Ocean.
One of my homes in Santa Monica was literally behind what used to be The Embassy Hotel. Built in 1927, it became a designed Santa Monica Historical Landmark property in 2001. It was charming then and I often recommended it to people when they wanted to stay in-town.
It wasn’t until recently that I was able to return and stay and what is now the Palihouse Santa Monica. I wanted to stay in it because of the location and from the web site, the decor had caught my attention. But remembering all the Moorish-influenced architecture that made the hotel feel like a by-gone era of Los Angeles beach history, I was worried – would the hotel have lost it’s charm for modern-day sensibilities?
As soon as I walked through the out door gates, through the front courtyard, I realised the answer was no. The charm was there just completely updated and meticulously cared for. What used to be a relatively empty courtyard had lovely outdoor seating area for coffee or computing as well as perfect beach cruisers to see Santa Monica the right way – on bike!
The lobby had been re-done to bring out all the tile-work, the large windows and also to make what used to be a cold area feel very cosy with dark walls, large fireplace, small bar and big, green velvet banquet seating.
My room, on the second floor, was bigger than most Santa Monica flats – and far more charming. I’m sucker for wallpaper and with four different prints within the room I was in heaven. A small and functional kitchen was off the bedroom, the large floor to ceiling windows opened up fully to the back (and quiet) courtyard below. A huge walk in closet with a separate vanity area made me feel like I was living in 1940’s Hollywood glamour. The room was bright and comfortable, with a great desk, large couch and a bed that was perfection with it’s mattress and duvet.
Staying here is definitely a one of a kind experience because of its decor and location. It’s perfect stop for a coffee in the morning outside or a cocktail at night in the lobby. The location cannot be beat for walking around all the shops or to the beach. I was really inspired by how hygge the room was and felt a little empowered to mix more prints in my home. And being here felt like home which is the totally what they’re going for. The downsides? It’s expensive – worth it if you like this kind of look + location and want a flat type experience. Not worth it if a hotel room is just a room, you want lots of quiet, services or amenities.
I’d definitely try to look for a deal – it can be overpriced. And I’d recommend non-ground level floors and those overlooking either the alley or the non-street side. But I loved my stay here and recommend it. If only for the design inspiration…