It was hard to leave the Beverly Hills Hotel, especially as the girls were starting to run the place like Eloise at the Plaza. But we were also looking forward to a change of scenery and the beachfront town of Santa Monica, especially as the sun was finally coming out after three consecutive cloudy days. Shutters on the Beach was the obvious choice.
While there are newer and hipper (The Viceroy), more historical (Casa Del Mar), or laid-back (Oceana) hotels to stay at in this vibrant beach community, Shutters is certainly the most well known. Whether its for lunch, cocktails or a weekend jaunt, it is – even after 15 years since the hotels’ opening – still the place to go in Santa Monica.
It was hard to leave the Beverly Hills Hotel, especially as the girls were starting to run the place like Eloise at the Plaza. But we were also looking forward to a change of scenery and the beachfront town of Santa Monica, especially as the sun was finally coming out after three consecutive cloudy days. Shutters on the Beach was the obvious choice. While there are newer and hipper (The Viceroy), more historical (Casa Del Mar), or laid-back (Oceana) hotels to stay at in this vibrant beach community, Shutters is certainly the most well known. Whether its for lunch, cocktails or a weekend jaunt, it is – even after 15 years since the hotels’ opening – still the place to go in Santa Monica.
Shutters on the Beach is also, I might add, a mainstay for celebrities. A manager who gave me a tour of the hotel (himself a former movie producer) proudly pointed out that Shutters gets more celebrities than the Beverly Hills Hotel. Judging from the action in the lobby and the Ferraris in the driveway, he may be right.
The lobby, designed like an oversize living room with multiple areas to congregate, was always bustling during our stay with people reviewing scripts, discussing some scene, or mingling with cocktails or coffee. Everyone seemed like they were in the movie business. Even our babysitter, formerly a nursery school teacher from New York City, was a struggling actress.
Owned by the Slatkin family, (who ironically owned the Beverly Hills Hotel for 30 years), Shutters is a 198-room hotel that is split in two sections: the more coveted 3-story Beach House directly on the beach and the 7-story Ocean House set back from the ocean. Much of the hotel underwent a “refreshing” (aka mini-renovation) three years ago by interior designer, Michael Smith (also known now as the White House decorator for the Obamas).
Surprisingly, there are only 11 suites in the hotel of which only four of them are ocean-view, making them the most coveted and hard to book rooms. The most spacious rooms are the three Presidential suites that go from $4-6k a night. Our 1-bedroom suite, #345, was considered non-ocean facing but did indeed have a view of the beach and Santa Monica Pier as it was located at the front end of the hotel. The downside of this is that is next to the parking lot and loading dock which was noisy in the early mornings. You are also next to the pool and deck located in the center of the 3rd floor which can be a blessing or a curse.
All the rooms have a casual ‘New England beach meets California’ aesthetic. Appropriate to its name, shutters are virtually everywhere, inside and out.
For families, the standard suites are a bit cramped. The closet and bathroom space is fine if you are flying solo or duo but insufficient if not. I would recommend a suite connecting to a another suite or standard room if you are more than two.
A word about the service: In comparison to the Beverly Hills Hotel and Del Coronado (our last stop and to be reviewed in the next post), Shutters was the least impressive. While there was nothing particular to pin-point that was wrong, it was nowhere near the attentiveness we received at either of the hotels. Fine but not remarkable in any way.
The vibe: Epitome of laid-back luxury.
Coast, one of the on-site restaurants, for breakfast – its a bit pricey but the food is fresh and delicious (try the famous Lemon Ricotta pancakes!). For an equally terrific but much less expensive breakfast option nearby, hit the M Street Kitchen & Bakery, one block away from the hotel on Main Street. Stop by just for the freshly-baked cookies (the chocolate chip cookies with flour de del are to die for!) or homemade english muffins.
For a casual lunch, try Il Fornaio (next to the more formal Ivy at the Beach restaurant) on Main Street in front of the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier. The pizzas from the wood-burning oven hit the spot for all of us.
Saving the best for last – Capo restaurant is a must. Get a babysitter and head for a romantic dinner to this cozy trattoria, one block from the hotel on Ocean Avenue. It was packed at 10 pm mid-week which is saying something for L.A. Almost everything we had was memorable (especially the sweet corn ravioli, fresh burata and BBQ calamari cooked in the wood-burning oven) and it was our best meal by far during our trip. Desserts must be ordered in advance but are worth it (Spinning classes are nearby at Revolution Fitness to burn it off the next morning). All this comes at a price though – Capo is considered one of the priciest restaurants in town.
Worth a peek: Stop by Shutter’s less well-known sister next door, Casa Del Mar, which has been enjoying a renaissance with the New Hollywood set since its multi-million renovation in 2008 . The two hotels couldn’t be more different (Casa being more formal with a dark-paneled lobby reeking of history). Casa Del Mar has had many incarnations since its opening as a beach club in 1926, including once being a Pritiken clinic for weight loss.
Hotel photos courtesy of Shutters on the Beach
Shutters On The Beach, Santa Monica
When you book Shutters on the Beach, one of our Preferred Hotel Partners, you receive the following insider amenities and perks through Inviato:
- Complimentary upgrade at check-in (based on availability)
- Early check-in and late check-out (based on availability)
- $100 resort credit during stay
- Complimentary breakfast for two daily
Why book Virtuoso?
- Personalized travel assistance
- 24/7 online booking
- Special rates & exclusive offers
- Guaranteed Room upgrade*
- Complimentary full American breakfast
- Early check-in, Late check-out*
- Exclusive on-site amenities (varies by hotel)
- * based on availability on time of arrival