Some travellers, as we initially did, might mistake this hotel for part of the more upmarket Shangri-La chain of hotels. Given the cost, it should have been. The hotel is a little disappointing from the outside as the exterior is still old, even though internally it has been updated and modernised, and there is no easy front access for taxis, so they have to drop you off on the street and the poor concierges have to manoeuvre your luggage across the nature strip and up a side ramp.
The hotel is well situated, the pool area very nice, the rooms are comfortable although a little on the small side but the old and small lifts are inadequate for the hotel. The staff are friendly and helpful but unfortunately a number of the front desk staff are not all that knowledgeable of the area and have to rely on the internet, and even then get it wrong.
On one occasion, we wanted to know what bus would take us into Hollywood and after googling were told that it would take 4 different buses. We decided this was too hard, so went for a walk instead. We saw an information booth a block away and luckily decided to ask there where we learnt that there is a single bus, one block from the hotel, that goes all the way up Santa Monica Boulevard and straight into Hollywood.
On another occasion, I asked where the nearest laundromat was and after asking around & googling, was told it was a 10-15 minute walk. Turned out it was a 45 minute walk and I am not a slow walker. Luckily I had put my washing in a small suitcase with wheels, as to carry it that far would have been impossible. These are not unusual questions to be asking and negatively impact your impression of staff who are otherwise friendly, willing and eager to help.
My daughter,who was travelling with her 14 month old baby, had a problem with her room, with someone smoking dope either in the public restrooms in the pool area or from the room next door. There is a very popular rooftop nightclub in the hotel, so there are a lot of other people wandering around the hotel besides guests.
The hotel was full and the answer was to bring large fans into the room to get rid of the smoke and smell. Luckily we were able to take the baby into our room during that time. When they were allowed back into the room around 10pm, although it was a bit better, it was still unsuitable for a baby, and the person/s had resumed smoking again. The duty manager's initial response given the hotel was full, for us to go and find another hotel and they would help us. After being told that we would not be driving around Santa Monica in the middle of the night with all our luggage and a baby, there was a bit of a panic. The saviour of the situation was Marcelle from housekeeping and Earl the concierge, who miraculously found a suite, and they were moved in there. We appreciate this is an unusual situation, but all we were offered in compensation, was to go and have a complementary drink in the bar.
There is a farmers market in Arizona St which runs alongside the hotel on Saturday morning, which is a must. Beautiful array of fresh and local produce and virtually just outside the door. The hotel is in walking distance of most of the Santa Monica attractions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking the Pacific since 1939, Hotel Shangri-La is a dramatic beacon of Art Deco beauty, Hollywood allure, and Los Angeles history. Perched on a high bluff, mere steps from the beach, this timeless Santa Monica boutique hotel has undergone a meticulous $30 million redesign -- promising you an idyllic haven of rejuvenation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica