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Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

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Contact Information

1700 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica CA 90401
Phone: (310) 458-6700
Fax: (310) 458-6761
www.loewshotels.com


Loews Santa Monica has recently completed its $7 million dollar transformation, which marks its first major renovation since 2001. Though it is difficult to improve upon virtual perfection, this swanky yet family-friendly beachfront resort has succeeded in this venture. Its prime location just steps from Santa Monica’s Muscle beach and walking distance to Palisades Park, the Santa Monica pier, and the Third Street Promenade automatically gives this resort an upper hand among other Los Angeles resorts. Children are enthralled by the pier rides and the beach while teens are easily entertained by the bustling beach environment, and enjoy renting segways and bikes to cruise along the smooth and seemingly endless oceanfront pathway.

To the adult returning to this newly refurbished Loews, the hotel exudes a more vibrant and upscale air. For my kids, however, their focus hinged at first on the new inclusion of dogs in the happy Loews family of visitors. My daughter was delighted to see a beagle in the lobby waiting patiently for a treat with its owner. “Loews Loves Pets,” a program designed to accommodate dogs and cats staying in the hotel with their families, is one new program travelers are enjoying now at Loews in addition to the many construction upgrades such as marble floors and more refined furniture and accents. Returning visitors will also notice more earth-tones designed to match the relaxed southern California feeling and a new eco-friendly fitness center, Ocean Spa. The spa has “gone green” with a design that includes ecoresin panes made from post-industrial recycled resin and reclaimed wood furnishings. The improvements here span the entire resort with new and improved features for all members of the family.

"Loews Loves Kids" is a tradition among all Loews hotels. The fun starts with this program upon entrance to the room. My kids were welcomed with a hospitality bag replete with delicious, even healthy treats including orange juice, cranberry juice, power bars, cookies, granola bars, potato chips, chocolate and Fiji water. Our double suite was absolutely stunning with two sides being almost completely glass, allowing for an unobstructed view of the beach and pier with its enormous spinning Ferris wheel and myriad other rides. At night the lit-up rides appear as a dazzling light display, like soundless fireworks. Kids and adults stood mesmerized. The daytime view of the beachfront offers much entertainment as well; watching students from the trapeze school of New York which meets on Muscle Beach perform their acrobatics on the bars and beams is interesting for all.



Each morning of our visit started out overcast and chilly, but gave way to postcard-perfect sunshiny days. The beautiful pool around which the hotel is situated looks out to the ocean and is extremely child-friendly, as it is only four feet deep and well-heated. Kids of all ages, even the younger visitors, swim in this pool, even in the early morning, and its shallow dimensions create peace of mind for parents like myself. My kids met several other children in the pool visiting from all over the world and joined in pool games with them. I heard “Marco Polo!” being hollered out in various inflections and accents. There is also a small pool-sized hot tub that overlooks the ocean and could comfortably accommodate approximately 10-12 people.

While many eateries surround this resort, including on the pier itself, Loews offers awesome eating options, most notably its signature restaurant Ocean and Vine, which deserves honorable mention. Imagine choosing from scrumptious food selections (local halibut, maple rosemary turkey breast, lobster lasagna) while overlooking the twinkling Santa Monica pier amidst refreshing ocean breezes. Families can also sit on the patio or in the retro-styled indoor lounge with its circular fireplace. This restaurant is hailed for its locally sourced ingredients and produce from nearby Santa Monica farmer’s market, overseen by Master Chef Gregory Foos.

Ocean and Vine’s upscale layout and menu appear to be adult-focused, but don’t be fooled by its clever appearance. Kids are given much forethought and attention here as well. Upon seating, children are given crayons, activity pages with mazes and crosswords and a kids’ menu replete with reliable standbys such as chicken fingers, mac and cheese, pepperoni pizza, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, and fish sticks. The "Loews Healthy Kids" section on the menu, however, offers appealing items for youngsters such as grilled chicken and steamed vegetables and grilled salmon and broccoli. Traditional desserts such as cookies and milk and ice cream sundaes are offered as well as more innovative children’s options such as chocolate, peanut butter and raspberry deluxe cake. Ocean and Vine thus caters to kids with basic and more sophisticated food interests, making the restaurant more nuanced in the child-catering hospitality arena. More attention to detail can also be evidenced. My kids were offered individualized DVD players and were recited a menu of movie options while waiting for their order. Our gracious host, Mina, went looking for new earpieces when my daughter’s set wasn’t loud enough. My kids looked so LA sitting at the table with their earpieces, studying their screens and blending in with the surrounding adults studying their I-pad and I-phone screens.



Other notable family food options within the resort include the poolside Blue Streak, named after the pier’s first roller-coaster, open for lunch or snacks, overlooking the ocean. I also found the room service very accommodating for picky little eaters, with options galore.

The refurbished Fitness Center offers Technogym cardiovascular and Cybex strength equipment, expresso bikes, and free weights. It partners with the resort’s Ocean Spa Boutique which carries top-end product lines such as Red Flower, Coola and Pevonia Botanica. Citrine is the hotel’s gift shop which retails stylish clothes and accessories. For the hard-core shoppers, the hotel is situated just a few blocks from Main Street, Montana Avenue, and the Third Street Promenade, all offering resplendent shopping opportunities for the whole family.

I was aware that as part of the "Loews Loves Kids" program, board games were available for the kids at the concierge. I kept this in mind, but we never actually found a moment to sit down and play a board game as my kids were either off to the pool, the beach, the pier, eating at one of the restaurants, or we were all heading to one of the kid-friendly nearby L.A. attractions (see below). There was never a lull or down time on this visit.

And back to the pets. The furry members of the family are also now included in the pampering at this Loews. Loews offers gourmet room service for cats and dogs, prepared by an award-winning Master chef. Specialized bedding, leashes, collars, litter boxes and litter, and pooper-scoopers are available. The concierge can also assist in finding dog walking routes, pet placements, pet-walking, and pet-sitting services. The hotel also has available water bowls, treats, doggie bags and indulgences like rawhide bones, catnip and scratch poles. So, for the $25.00 pet surcharge, you can bring your pets along to Loews and let them have a great time with the rest of the family.

For a facility so accommodating to pets, I never smelled any pet odors or experienced any of the less pleasant pet associations (pet hair or dander). Our room and the whole facility seemed very clean and well kept. Let me attempt to dispel another myth some may have about visiting the Los Angeles area. Whoever said that Los Angeles people can be brusque? Not only was this an extremely friendly staff, we found people all over L.A. casually talking to us on this visit and the folks in and around there couldn’t seem chattier or more effervescent. And why not? With over 300 days of sunshine annually, a never-ending supply of activities, people from all over the world, and miles and miles of gorgeous coastline, what’s not to be happy about there? The cheerful, pleasant people here are actually another reason to visit this resort.

My family truly did not want to leave Loews Santa Monica and yours won’t either. Everything you need is within this resort or within walking distance from it. If you want to get into your car, you are 45 miles from both (in differing directions) Disneyland and Magic Mountain, 35 miles from Knott’s Berry Farm and 18 miles from Universal Studios. Some other nearby attractions I found to be particularly enjoyable for kids in this area can be found below, following Loews' 2000 review.






2000 Review:

The Santa Monica Loews Hotel is located right on the edge of the beach; the only thing separating the hotel from the crashing waves is a narrow span of sand. To ensure that you enjoy their magnificent view, be sure to book a room on the Northwestern side of the hotel, on at least the fifth floor. Eight miles from Los Angeles International Airport, Loews' Santa Monica Beach Hotel is a 4-Diamond, beachfront resort. The eight-story hotel boasts outstanding ocean and boardwalk views and access to the Santa Monica Beach. The hotel consists of 340 rooms, including twenty-four luxury suites.

My room, on the fifth floor, maintained an air of California casual with its bleached rattan and wicker furniture and a color palate of mostly sand tones. When we arrived, it was nice to find freshly cut flowers waiting for us.

My deck, although not private, was very appealing and spacious with a complete patio furniture set (table and four chairs plus two reclining chairs) and plenty of room to sit and read to a baby or toddler or just enjoy the stunning view of the ocean and pier.

Note: Special care should be given to the patio guard and rail, as it is not designed for toddlers to play against. Your children should not be unattended on this patio since the rails do have some gaps that could be dangerous for children. A portable play-yard is recommended on the patio for babies.

In keeping with the southern California attitude, the hotel is receiving its own facelift, insuring that all amenities and architecture remain cutting-edge and not stale. The hotel is currently undergoing a $15 million-dollar renovation. At the time of this writing, the first phase has been completed which included refurbishment of the pool area, poolside furniture, the Papillion lounge, the atrium lobby and the hotel entrance, enhancing the breezy California ambiance of the hotel. Designers hope to amplify the relaxed home-away-from-home style retreat for people to conduct business. Plans for completion of the guest-room renovation include new drapes, wall coverings, furniture and bedding.

For the working parent, rooms will remain "workspace friendly" with contemporary executive desks, Internet capabilities, and in-room faxes. The hotel itself provides 17,000 square feet of space to accommodate groups up to 900, a magnificent spot for conducting business meetings.

Dining:

The award winning Lavande Restaurant exhibits sweeping ocean views and serves California-Mediterranean cuisine. It remains open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a brunch on Sunday. Other food is served poolside and at the Papillion Lounge, a bar and fireside lounge facing the ocean and pool. Unwind over appetizers, small tapas-style dishes and afternoon tea. Live entertainment and the hotel's "Visiting Artist" series are also set here.

Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa:

A complete fitness center is located in the hotel which includes: eight treatment rooms for body and facial treatment; a cardiovascular room with bikes, cross-trainers, and treadmills; a strength-training room with a life fitness training circuit; a fitness studio for yoga and pilate classes; a full-service beauty salon; steam and dry saunas; and bath amenities in the locker rooms. Both open-air and enclosed sundecks surround the swimming pool and Jacuzzi. High-end clothing items and body and facial products are sold here.

The Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa

Baby/Child Friendliness:

"Loews Loves Kids" is a large part of the Loews' campaign. Loews assures its guests that they will "find a greeting at all of our hotels that is kid-friendly and parent-reassuring." I found their creed to be particularly true at this Santa Monica location.

As part of Loews' services, cribs with bath amenities and baby quilts as well as laundry services are available. Kids under eighteen stay free if they are sharing a room with their parents. A second adjoining room, for older children, qualifies for special discounts. Rollaway beds with child sheets and child bathrobes are available.

Children under ten receive a free "Loews Loves Kids" gift bag. My experience here is that you need to specifically ask for this upon arrival to ensure that you receive one.

A child's menu is available both in the restaurant and through room service. The in-room mini bar is stocked with juices and other child-friendly snacks such as cookies. High-chairs and booster seats are available upon request.

"Kid's Kloset": An assortment of baby and children's items are available for use during the stay. Included are electronic games, VCRs, appropriate children's videos, games, books, car seats, strollers, night-lights, potty seats, baby bathtubs, blankets, diapers, and outlet protectors.

"Kid's Concierge": Concierges are ready with information on kid-friendly attractions--museums, zoos and other local events and activities. Also, a list of pediatricians, nearby pharmacies, and bonded baby-sitters are available.

Loews' motto for family travel is "The most memorable travel experiences are shared with those you care about the most. And so, at every Loews Hotel, you'll find a welcome that embraces the entire family. At Loews, our family is dedicated to pleasing yours!" I found this statement to be accurate. During our stay, the entire staff of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel was extremely friendly and accommodating, much more so than at the Coronado Loews, also included in this site. From the time I checked in until my bags were repacked into my car, I found it very pleasant to be treated so cordially. Bear this in mind if such treatment is a priority for you.

The view from my fifth floor room.
The boardwalk rides zip and twirl to create a dizzying effect, juxtaposed by the waves’ languid flow.

Romance:

While the resort is certainly child and work-friendly, its beachfront location also makes it a prime romantic destination. The coveted view I enjoyed from my patio, with nothing obscuring my premier view of the Pacific Ocean with the added bonus of the boardwalk's ferris wheel, is extremely hard to come by in the Los Angeles area. My daughter, fourteen months-old at the time of my stay, also enjoyed sitting on my lap on the large patio gazing at the nearby Santa Monica Pier which juts out above the ocean and lights up at night, situated just two blocks from the hotel. Visitors will definitely find this environment highly conducive to romance.

The hotel is within strolling distance not only of the Pier but also of Palisades Park, the Third Street Promenade, and Main Street Santa Monica. Its location on the Santa Monica Beach affords multitudes of amorous possibilities for the romantically inclined, especially in the evenings, as lovers can gaze at the lights of the pier reflecting on the pristine ocean.



LOS ANGELES AREA ATTRACTIONS from 2010 visit:

La Brea Tar Pits:
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. (323)934-7243. www.tarpits.org/


The Page Museum is located at the La Brea Tar Pits, about 45 minutes from Santa Monica in the historical Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. My kids were fascinated by this child-appropriate museum, just as I was as a kid. It is just right for kids--not too expansive inside, yet surrounded by paths, grassy areas and gardens on which kids can burn off steam after their indoor inquiries are satisfied. The Page Museum is also situated within walking distance of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) so families can wander over there afterwards, if time permits.

The Page Museum and La Brea tar pits recreate pre-Los Angeles when animals roamed the basin and then became trapped in the asphalt deposits found heavily in the Rancho La Brea area. This museum is one of the country’s most replete fossil excavations and kids can view skeletons and recreations of Ground Sloths, Columbian Mammoths, Sabertoothed Cats, and Ancient Bison. Over thirty complete skeletons of fossil mammals and birds are on display, as well as thousands of other specimens.



Also of interest are the working laboratories which can be viewed through the windows inside the museum. Kids and adults can enjoy seeing scientists cleaning, examining and working with the fossils.

Right outside of the Page Museum, in Hancock Park, there are several life-sized recreations of extinct animals within a real tar pit, enabling kids to visualize the entrapment that had occurred.

The high quality and diversity of fossil preservation that occurred in Rancho La Brea was because the animals were buried rapidly in the thick tar. This is a very unique museum that kids will remember into adulthood. I never forgot it after my visits there when I was five.



Getty Villa:
17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. (310))440-7300. www.getty.edu


You might not think of it as a kid-attraction, but the Getty Villa is fun for kids! Almost hidden in a narrow, wooded canyon in Pacific Palisades, the villa is an amazing re-creation of a first-century Roman country villa. It houses collections of classical Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art and antiquities including ancient Aztec sculptures, vessels, coins, gems, glass jewelry, and a real mummy. The kids’ activity room entertains young visitors for a long time with its hands-on activities such as vase decorating and shadow theatre. The atrium offers lovely gardens and stunning ocean views.



El Cholo Restaurant:
1025 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 899-1106. www.elcholo.com/


Oh, the pleasure of indulging in an authentic L.A. Mexican restaurant! What could be more relaxing than enjoying the servers dish up sizzling meals in their costumed mariachi attire. El Cholo in Santa Monica was established in 1923 and though situated in the midst of trendy Wilshire Blvd, pulls you through a lovely time-warp to Old Mexico once you enter its doors. The old mission-styled adobe building is accented by colorful servers in big hats and hoop dresses. At the time of my visit, summer 2010, kids can order any item for $6.25: nachos, beef taquitos, quesadillas, cheese enchiladas. I enjoyed smoking hot shrimp fajitas, cooked to perfection. My kids were given the same red, white, and blue Popsicles for dessert as the ones sold on the ice cream trucks I remember as a child chiming through the L.A. neighborhoods.



Santa Monica Pier:
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310)394-8042. www.santamonicapier.org/


This landmark pier, built on wooden planks, originally opened in 1909. It is home to many seafood restaurants, souvenir retailers, street performers, a vintage merry-go-round, and a marine aquarium. Very pricey, but the kids have a ball on the rides that range from kiddie-paced to upside-down thrillers. My kids enjoyed a moderately fast roller coaster, the famous Ferris wheel, and a huge pendulum ride.




During Christmas time, a ten-foot Christmas tree extends up to the cathedral sunroof, while rows of pines grace the lobby below.

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