We booked this in November 2011 to get a good room at this intriguingly cool-looking hotel. The property looked awesome, especially the beach-view location. Unfortunately, the Shore Hotel fell very short of expectations. Teething problems? Maybe. I cannot recommend this place though. Read on for the details.
1. Location: WOW. This is it! While it is not ON the beach, the Shore is so close to it you can taste the ocean. In fact it is ideally located, right next to all sorts of amenities, including being right at the entrance to the kinda gaudy Santa Monica Pier. Better yet, there are lots of places behind the hotel (but for some reason the hotel exit to these is blocked off, so there is a walk around to get to them) for shopping eating, coffee, etc.
There is a great looking bike rental place right behind the hotel (across from the McDonalds) that has to be much better than the terrible one at the Loews Hotel on the beach.
But beware, one block away to the south and things get sketchy - empty buildings, vagrants. Night is probably fine if you stick to the few blocks right behind the hotel.
2. Architecture: This is quite a cool building. The lobby layout is open, spartan, beautiful (for modern architecture aficionados). The pool right outside the lobby looks beautiful - water was a bit cold, not enough heating going on).
3. Rooms: The finish in the room is very nice: great veneers and colours. Nice bathroom except there is nowhere to hang your towels. Decent beds, linens and pillows. Good TV although there are no movie options - it is like having TV at home. Also, shower has a glass wall into the room (fishbowl effect) with a motorized curtain for privacy from the bedroom - a cool effect if you want to do a shower show... ;) Most will probably just leave the curtain lowered while you are there. Also, be aware that the shower door (in our room anyways) leaks out into the bathroom. Finally, the double pane windows are of quite poor quality - they do little to keep outside noise out.
1. Reservation Service: Most all service here is poor, deceptive and/or bordering on fraudulent. This is a deal-breaker for me that far overshadows any pros this property may have. We booked this place in November, via telephone. I spoke with Israel, the front-desk rep at the time and specified in clear terms a room with complete, unobstructed ocean views. There is not much to Santa Monica - the ocean is it, so when you come here that is what you want. Having not received a confirmation email, I called again a few weeks later, confirming my room, ocean view.
Well. Show up on Jan 1 and I am given a room in the ghetto, literally overlooking the back alley where the garbage trucks come to wake you up every morning between 5 and 7 AM. Room 350. You see, the hotel is in two parts: a front part and a back annexe. You don't want the annexe at all.
Worse yet, the room is dark because it is in a corner and has little window real estate. We were in a cave. Complaints to the front desk yielded nothing initially, but I never settle. After talking to the manager, Nichelle, I was offered a $100 per night discount, since there were no other rooms available. Fair outcome, but this was our only visit ever to Santa Monica, so saving $300 over 3 nights was not the point - an ocean view was. Very disappointing. Bait and switch?
2. Rooms: We arrived and the safe was locked. Had to get it unlocked. Then no pillows for the pullout bed. Got those after asking. Should these things not be on a cleaner's checklist? Do cleaning supervisors check the rooms?
When you leave, you can click on a "make my room" button, which turns on a green light outside your room. We did so at 10AM on Day 2, but upon our return 6 hours later, our room was not made. Another call to housekeeping. They came (upon our reminder) when we went out, but did not replenish all towels or soap.
3. Front Desk Knowledge: We've never been to Santa Monica. However, upon our arrival what was obvious was that S-M had been invaded by Rose Bowl fans. How cool is that?! We asked the front desk what is going on, what is there to check out? A blank look. "I don't know." Turns out that Oregon was having it's pep rally across the street on the beach - about 2000-3000 people - very cool. Front desk, not cool.
Next day I asked about bike rentals. We had seen one right behind the hotel but were steered by the front desk to the one at the Lowes Hotel on the beach. Apparently Shore had a promo discount brochure but "they were out of them" - I was told I just had to ask for the Shore Hotel rate. Went there. Wow how disappointing. The worst bikes imaginable! And, you guessed it, no discount since I had no brochure, despite my insistence (I tend to get my way).
The Shore Hotel place wants to be a "concierge-level" hotel, but it is pretty short on useful advice, in our experience.
4. WiFi: When it works it is ok. But one evening it broke down (seems from others' reviews that this is not infrequent). Another call to the front desk which routed me to a tech provider. After 15 minutes of extremely technical gyrations into the guts of my Mac, I got it working. I can safely say that the very techy approach by the helper would work if you are in the top 25th percentile of router and wifi knowledge. The tech told me this was a router problem on their end.
5. Parking: Usurious parking fees - $30 per day. Nice parkade though.
6. Billing: Upon checkout, I was asked whether we had consumed anything from the minibar. No, because there was never anything there or in the room. The checkout person insisted and said housekeeping had noted the consumption of three (nonexistent) bottles of water. Again I said no. The bill was adjusted accordingly. Apparently. Upon return home and checking my bill, I noticed an $18 charge. I called the hotel and had to be routed to a manager (Jim, Jeff?), who said everything was fine. Not convinced I called again and spoke to the front desk and then to the manager Nichelle. The bill was fixed. A lot of insistence on my part.
BEWARE of false billings and confirm everything when you get your visa bill.
Conclusion: Nice building, nice architecture, cool rooms. However, NO service: the staff are completely overwhelmed, incapable or both. 4 star prices, 5 star building, 2 star (or less) service (booking, housekeeping and front desk).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The essence of legendary 5 star customer service and breath taking ocean views Shore Hotel celebrated our soft opening in early October of 2011 and are proud to be Santa Monica's first and only upscale boutique Gold LEED certified property. Shore Hotel is pleased to announce the recent opening of our poolside bar as well as the much anticipated opening of our restaurant, Blue Plate Taco on September 23rd, 2012. Shore Hotel is located on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, just steps from the Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade, and the city’s popular beaches and shopping districts. Shore Hotel is the newest addition to the coastline—a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified property that offers eco-friendly accommodations with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Gensler Architecture conceived the Shore Hotel’s California modern design, which features 164 stylishly appointed rooms dressed in beach shades of teal and orange and outfitted with custom-made Teak wood furniture. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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