Top Spots in Santa Monica

Heading to LA? Get some beach time in...

If you're headed to LA for a spell, there are really only three options to consider geographically in terms of where to base yourself: Hipstery Downtown, West Hollywood or Santa Monica. All three pack just the punch you want if you're keen to really get under the skin of the place. but for us, Santa Monica has the edge because it's got 3.5 miles of sandy beach on top of everything else. Finding a fantastically luxurious place to stay there isn't hard if you've unlimited budget but if you don't, it's another story.? Lucky for you, we've cracked it.

The newly opened eco-conscious Shore is next door to The Ivy's American outpost (which has never, ever experienced a starless night- George and Amal had an engagement party there) and the hotel faces straight on to the primest stretch of beach leading up to the pier. It's just a few doors up beach from the legendary Shutters and an easy amble to 3rd St Promenade's shopping mecca. In other words, location-wise, it's unbeatable.

Rooms are simple and stream-lined and the pool is slick and understated. ?Day one, you'll be up bright and early so rent a bike around the corner and cruise the 26 mile cycle path along the sea to get your bearings. Have breakfast at a beachside caf? or pedal up to the Huckleberry Caf? on Wilshire for some jaw-dropping baked goods and brisket hash. Well fortified, you'll be in great shape for a cycle back to the hotel for some pool time or whatever it is you came to do.

Make sure you finish the day with a sashay up Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which has an incredible concentration of beautifully conceived and executed bars and restaurants - Salt Air's cocktails are the stuff of dreams.

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The Shore Hotel Prices from $309 a night.

Santa Monica Pier:

Ivy Restuarant:

Interior Salt Air Restaurant on Abbot Kinney:

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Huckleberry Cafe:

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