We decided very last minute to stay at the Fairmont on New Year's Eve. We had tried several other hotels in the area and they were all booked solid. Expecting that this hotel would be no different, were quite surprised that we were able to make reservations in the first place. Likewise with our dinner reservations at the hotel restaurant. They were able to book us for 10pm, which in our opinion, was better than nothing. Our goal was to check into the hotel and STAY there. We knew there would be great temptation to go out, being that it was New Year's Eve. We were going to take it easy and relax AT ALL COSTS. ..And the Fairmont wasn't exactly inexpensive...but we had decided to splurge.
The Car that was sent to pick me up: My girlfriend had wanted to make this a very special and romantic trip for me. Although I live only 20 blocks from the hotel, she decided to send a car to pick me up. The car was supposed to arrive at 6pm. It didn't show up until after 7:00pm. We called the hotel several times to find out where our ride was and we were assured each time that he was on his way. This was a little irritating - especially since I had to go through a lot to get out of work early, throw my clothes together and get outside to wait for the car about 10 minutes early (to make sure I didn't miss it - I worry like that). So I was not extremely happy when it finally arrived - BUT I was determined not to let it ruin my night. I had a single carry-on size bag with me, which was only packed with enough clothes to get me through until the morning. Fancy clothes in case we decided to go to the hotel NYE party, pajamas and clothes for the next day. It was very light, but I still expected that the driver would offer to take it for me and put it in the trunk or at least carry it from my driveway to the car. But he did not. Again - this was annoying, but I was determined to stay in a good mood. The ride from my apartment to the hotel was about 12 minutes long, which was completely silent. The driver seemed friendly, but he made no small talk, did not wish me a happy New Year's or anything else, which I found to be a little odd and a bit uncomfortable. Not that I needed to know his life story or anything, but even the cab drivers ask me how I'm doing.
The Hotel: On arrival at the hotel, it was about 7:30pm, the hotel was bustling, however the care was able to get to the lobby area quickly and I was on my way. Once inside the hotel, I saw that it was decorated nicely with various Christmas decorations, a giant tree, etc. There were no noticeable signs to point to elevators and there was a long line at the check-in desk, so I opted to find the elevators on my own. This only took a few minutes (would have been less, had it not been a busy holiday). I made my way up to our room to figure out our plan for the evening.
The Room: The room was lovely, shuttered bathroom doors, nice firm bed with big fluffy pillows. It smelled clean, It looked clean. It wasn't awe-inspiring, but it was quite nice overall. The balcony had two very comfortable loungers with a small table between them. To the right a view of the hotel property, below, a view of the patio area with a small waterfall, jacuzzi, etc and to the left a very limited view of the Ocean. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a better view of the Ocean, considering that the hotel is directly across the street from it and the rooms were $500 per night. But none-the-less, it was still quite lovely. My girlfriend had purchased the High Speed internet service, so that I could upload some work items to the web, while we were out. It really blew my mind how fast the high speed service was and I was thrilled with this service.
The Lobby Bar: We took a moment to decide whether to get dressy and head for the official hotel Xmas party or stay casual and take our drinks in the hotel lobby bar. In the interest of keeping stress levels down, we opted to stay casual and simple and take our drinks in the lobby bar. It was now about 8:10pm and the lobby bar was packed. We were worried that we would not find seating, but magically, a single spot on the lobby couch and an foot ottoman became available right at that moment. I'm a person with some hip/bone problems, so it was a little difficult to lower myself down low enough to sit and I wished that the furniture was more easily accessible for people with "disabilities", but once I was down at that level, I was very comfortable. I didn't see any cocktail servers for about the first 8 minutes that we were there, but we tried to remain understanding that it was a very busy night for them. After about 8 minutes of waiting, I finally got up and went to the bar myself, to order directly from the bartender. Although the bartender was busy, he looked directly at me and when I began to speak, he promptly walked away. I presumed that he somehow wasn't aware that I was trying to order. I waited another 4-5 minutes without any acknowledgment what-so-ever from any of the bar staff. I was directly at the front/center of the bar and every member of the bar staff made direct eye contact with me on several occasions, but every time I began to speak, they walked away. In one case, I assumed the man who appeared to be the lead bartender, had heard me and I waited for the drinks to arrive, but they never did. Even when every other person had ordered - included people who pushed their way in front of me, I was still not acknowledged or served. Finally, the bartender had so much down time, that he began to straighten up the bottles of alcohol and wash glasses directly in front of me and I finally just yelled at him that I wanted the two drinks that I was trying to order. He looked up at me as if he was annoyed, BUT he did acknowledge me and I was served. I left enough money to cover the drinks on the bar and went back to my girlfriend who had been waiting patiently back at the lobby couch. We finished that drink and she wanted another, but just then, I saw two chairs at the bar open up. I ushered her over to them and we found our place for the evening (although I was beginning to consider walking from the hotel to the Third Street Promenade shopping area, which is across the street, to get our drinks - rather than deal with this jerk-off bar staff again. Fortunately, my girlfriend is one of those people who can get served and seated no matter how busy the place is. She just has a certain radiance that the world seems to love. This was about the time the hotels official Xmas festivities began and some space cleared at the lobby bar, leaving us to drink with a much more manageable crowd. The bartender gave us a dish of bar snacks which was nice, because I was beginning to get hungry and it was still 2 hours until our dinner reservations. Sadly, there was a very drunk older gentlemen to our left who seemed angry and unapproachable. When he finished his dish of bar snacks, he roughly and rudely shoved across me to help himself to ours. While I was not in the mood and about to let him have it, my girlfriend decided to make jokes with him and give him the dish. I'm sure she must be part angel or something because I wanted to clobber the guy. Anyway, the old man continued to help himself to our bar snacks, never said excuse me, never thanked us, but did attempt to make some occasional angry commentary on the events he was watching on the bar tv. I was pretty much over it. I begged my girlfriend to head to the room, get in our pajamas, order room service and just let us be alone for the rest of the night. She agreed and the rest of the night was wonderful.
Room Details: Although the room was quite nice overall, I did notice at one point, that the furniture was a little on the beat-up side. There were LOTS of scratches in the tables and other furnishings. Although this was not enough to reduce my opinion of the hotel, it was a little surprising. I am a person of limited means and it's not often that I can stay in a room that costs $500 per night - just for the heck of it. So I really had expected some newer/nicer furnishings, BUT they did take care of what was there quite well. That is to say that there was not a speck of dust anywhere. The furniture was polished to a lovely glossy glow. The room smelled and looked clean. Even though the furniture was obviously a bit older, it was cared for as well as it possibly could have been cared for. Overall it was really quite nice.
Conclusion: I really liked the Fairmont, but I would not recommend it, if you are looking for a more romantic New Years Eve experience. Although it is not the wild rager that other hotels become, it does get quite busy and the bar staff apparently doesn't love their job(s). I think it would make for a very nice stay at any other time of the year. One last thing, although we specifically asked for the quietest room they could manage, we heard the thump, thump, thump from the hotel's NEW parties well into the evening. ..but it was easy to tune it out after a short time and we had no problem getting late check out - which was nice. I would recommend the Fairmont for romantic or business stays anytime other than New Year's Eve.
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- Also Known As:
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- Fairmont Santa Monica
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