Driving down Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica gives you all the sunny California Vibes. Palm tree lined streets, trendy restaurants, surfers catching some waves, and the famous Santa Monica Pier. It’s no wonder Santa Monica is such a popular place for people to visit. I had the chance to visit Santa Monica for a photography workshop, and if you’re looking for the best hotel in Santa Monica, look no further than The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This Santa Monica luxury hotel review will cover everything that I believe makes this the best place to stay in Santa Monica.
If you’re visiting Santa Monica chances are that you’re going to want to have a beautiful view of the ocean, stay in one of the hotels near Santa Monica Pier, and have easy access to the best restaurants and shopping in town. The Fairmont Miramar checks all of these boxes, it’s directly across Ocean Ave from the beach offering Panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It isn’t the closest of the luxury Santa Monica hotels near Santa Monica Pier, but it’s only 4 blocks away making it accessible, yet far enough that you don’t have to worry about the noise and heavy traffic from the pier. The best shopping and restaurants in Santa Monica are mere blocks away from the front door of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.
One thing I heard from a couple of my Uber drivers while visiting Los Angeles is that the rooms in all of the best hotels in Santa Monica are quite small. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows was no different. I was upgraded to a Deluxe King Ocean View Room upon arrival and surprised at how small the room was especially the bathroom. I would expect to have some space to move around in the bathroom while staying in a Santa Monica luxury hotel, but there wasn’t much room to spare. The tub/shower combo was barely wide enough to fit in, and there was no way to turn the water on without getting you and the entire bathroom wet.
The bed was super comfortable, but the duvet was very hot. I also had a hard time getting my room to cool off at night even though it was cool outside. The best part about my room was the little balcony and the views I got from it. My room faced south giving me a perfect view of Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean. It was the perfect place to start my day with a cup of coffee each morning.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has all the amenities and more that you would expect from a luxury Santa Monica hotel. To start with the Le Labo toiletries in the room are some of my favorites, although I wish Fairmont would get on board the move towards eliminating single-use plastics by stocking refillable shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles in each room. There is a lovely pool and lawn area for sunbathing if you aren’t in the mood to brave the cool Pacific waters at the beach, or if you do want to go to the beach the Fairmont offers its own private beach club. Guests wishing to access the Miramar Beach Club can catch a complimentary ride in the hotel’s topless Jeep Wrangler or cruise over with BMW beach cruisers. The Miramar Beach club also offers complimentary games and activities including beach volleyball, boogie boards and even buckets & pails for kids to make that perfect sandcastle.
During my time in Los Angeles I, unfortunately, didn’t have time to take advantage of the pool or beach club at the Fairmont Miramar, but I did get to enjoy their signature restaurant, FIG. I had both lunch and dinner at FIG and I have to say, it was fantastic. Their focus is sourcing ingredients from local farmers, fishers, and ranchers to provide the freshest, highest quality meal possible. FIG also has a nice selection of local craft beers on tap. You can also grab a drink or meal at the Lobby Lounge or the iconic Bungalow which is a perfect al fresco spot to take in the sunset over cocktails and bar-bites.
Since the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is one of the best hotels near Santa Monica Pier, the first activity on the list is obviously check out Santa Monica Pier! You could honestly spend hours on the pier with all of the fun activities they have.
Even though Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States, there is no shortage of hiking within the city limits thanks to the rugged Pacific Coastline. Some local favorites are Runyon Canyon, La Jolla Canyon Loop, and Sandstone Peak.
It’s easier than ever to get around Santa Monica and the surrounding neighborhoods of Venice and Wilshire, so there is a TON of great shopping to be had.
Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian-only open-air shopping experience that is within walking distance of the Fairmont Miramar and other luxury Santa Monica hotels. You can find a weekly farmers market and daily street performers to keep you amused while you shop.
Santa Monica Place is your go-to spot for high-end shopping in Santa Monica. For those staying at one of the Santa Monica Luxury Hotels wanting an upscale shopping experience without having to go all the way to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, should definitely check out Santa Monica Place or Montana Avenue.
The self-proclaimed “coolest block in America” is a mile-long stretch of trendy shops and restaurants in the heart of Venice. Whether you go just to take a walk or sit and people watch at one of the restaurants or coffee shops this is a great place to spend some time.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is part of the Le Club Accor Family. The Le Club Accor loyalty program is definitely worth joining because upon enrollment you automatically get 10% off the published rate when booking directly with the hotel and the benefits only get better with additional stays or dollars spent. The 10% discount on the published rate is a great incentive for joining the Le Club Accor program and booking directly with the hotel.
Le Club Accor isn’t currently partnered with any credit card rewards programs for a direct points transfer, but through their travel booking portals, you can still pay for a hotel stay with points. I would recommend using the American Express Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts booking portal to book trips less than 4 nights with points due to the guaranteed late check-out, room upgrade, free breakfast, and Bonus Amenity ($100 property credit to be used during the stay). For stays that are 4 nights or longer I’d recommend using your Citi Prestige and the Citi ThankYou portal since you get your fourth night free, which is also the case when you use points! For more recommendations on using travel credit cards and their points check out my guide to the best travel credit cards.
I think that the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows checks all the boxes when it comes to best hotels in Santa Monica, Best luxury Santa Monica Hotels, and best hotels near Santa Monica Pier. There is tons to do nearby the Fairmont, and FIG was the best restaurant I had the pleasure of enjoying during my three nights in Los Angeles. If you just aren’t sold on the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, luckily there are several other luxury Santa Monica hotels that may be just what you’re looking for.
Shutters on the beach is Santa Monica’s only true beachfront hotel. Nestled right along the bike path that runs from Santa Monica all the way down to Marina Del Ray, Shutters on Beach has the beautiful views of the beach and Pacific Ocean that you crave when visiting California.
Shore Hotel claims to have the best ocean views of all the luxury Santa Monica hotels. Their sleek modern styling is coupled with eco-friendly sustainability is a match made in heaven for the eco-minded traveler visiting Santa Monica.
The Shangri-La has the art deco styling that reminds me of Miami Beach. Steps from Santa Monica Pier, the Shangri-La has a great location and a rooftop bar perfect for a cocktail after a long day of exploring everything Los Angeles has to offer.
Billed as the quintessential California getaway the Loews Santa Monica combines sun, sand, and surf along with one of the favorite restaurants in town, Ocean & Vine. Loews Santa Monica offers views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Pier, and it is even recommended by the Pier as a hotel near Santa Monica Pier worth staying at.