Living The Dream
There is something extremely chic about staying in Santa Monica. Just being there and breathing in the air makes you feel like (even if it’s just for a second) that your life is really quite as fabulous as the movies: an iced latte, massive sunglasses, a kingsize bed and zero worries. No laundry, no work troubles, no paper work, no deadlines, no passive aggressive work emails. A holiday in Santa Monica means you can literally pretend you are someone else. This is how I felt there, like I was living an alternate life. I guess this is what holidays are, a chance to escape.
Full Of Character
This was a DREAM trip. I explored lots of different parts of LA, but Santa Monica is where I felt like I could properly indulge. Hotel Shangri-La in Los Angeles is situated on Ocean Ave, Santa Monica. The building can’t be missed: it is grand and magical, welcoming guests since 1939, with an air of old school Hollywood. You might recognise the name, but this hotel has nothing to do with the hotel chain ‘Shangri LA Hotels & Resorts’. This is a totally different, unique, beautiful boutique hotel – one of it’s kind. Nothing wrong with staying in a hotel chain, they are plenty of gorgeous ones, but for this particular trip, it felt special to be staying somewhere with an independent heart and a soul. The beating heart of this hotel comes directly from the brilliantly creative owner of the hotel Tamie Adaya – from every decision made about furniture, interiors and of course the huge refurbishment she secured funding for back in 2004.
A Fabulous Owner
I got to meet Tamie while I was staying at the hotel and we sipped ice cold drinks, nattering away like we’d met before. The pool area is gorgeous, with lots of comfortable loungers, table tennis and relaxing areas to have cocktails with friends. Tamie designed everything from scratch, the fabrics of the loungers to the colours, themes and patterns. It makes a difference when a hotel is run by someone who loves it so much – you can notice the tiny details. The art, the colourful lights, the personality inspired by iconic films. The stylish vintage-inspired decor with modern touches. I got a glimpse of her office too – leopard print, clashing colours, bold art – the work space of an inspirational woman who lets art and culture light up the walls of the hotel. I loved Tamie’s feminist outlook on running a hotel too: she made it clear that she wanted the hotel to be able to host the many multi-faceted sides of being woman. Whether that’s being a mother and wanting to accommodate your family, or someone wanting to have a sexy weekend with a new “lover”, Tamie is all for women expressing their desires and enjoying a holiday that suits her. I also loved how hard-working Tamie is. Her life and work blend together, but she is more than happy about this, because she loves the hotel so much. The hotel reflects her life and personality, the two are almost synonymous. I felt incredibly empowered by spending time with Tamie. Also, watch this space, because later in the Summer she will be coming on my podcast! Her words will empower you too.
It became apparent just how friendly and welcoming this hotel was on the first step into the reception. It’s not huge, so you notice just how many people are around to help you with your comfort and convenience. It’s got a boutique feel but with the 5 star service. Our bags were whisked away and we were shown to our rooms and told immediately about the brilliant rooftop and how we must go up there in the early evening as not to miss the sunset. I absolutely ADORED the location of this hotel. Right next to the beach, right next to the shops. It was a five minute walk to go and put your feet in the warm sand and stroll up to Venice Beach, and also five minutes to go and see a film at a gorgeous cinema on the Santa Monica high street. I loved having so much to do and so much to explore right on the door step. Brilliant Abbot Kinney (one of my favourite parts of LA) is a 5 minute Uber ride away, too.
A Room With A View
There were loads of reasons why I loved our room. The sea view (tick), the art-deco interiors (tick) but most of all, it was the fact that there was a living space and the bedroom was separate. The living room area was fun and chic, the sofa was silver(!) there was a soft furry rug on the floor and clear modern tables. Then there was a door into the bedroom, and the bedroom was simple, white, relaxing. A simple king-size bed in the middle of the room, blinds and a gorgeous Chaise Lounge chair in the corner that I used as a reading chair. Oh, and robes of course. OH and the room service menu was impeccable.