Santa Monica, CA
September 1 – 3, 2017
Room Rate: 12,000 SPG points or $256 per night, plus a $28 Amenity Fee per night
Thanks to a couple of Delta upgrade certificates I had to burn, Brian and I decided to head to Los Angeles for a long weekend getaway. I went back and forth on which property to stay at – thanks to Labor day weekend, hotel prices were unusually high. I’ve stayed in the Hollywood/West Hollywood area more times than I can count, and the W Westwood West Beverly Hills (my favorite property in LA!) was outrageously expensive. When deciding between Downtown LA and Santa Monica, Brian mentioned he’d rather stay on the west side, so we settled on the Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica.
Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica
Neighborhood: Ocean Park
Make a Green Choice: Yes
Bar and Restaurant On-Property: Yes
Room Rate Range: $200 – $400 USD
I’d stayed at this property before and admittedly had a bit of a lackluster experience, so I had been avoiding going back. The property, a former Sheraton turned Le Meridien, is located about a 20 minute walk from the beach – with not much in between (short of the promenade, located about 15 minutes away). So while located right in Santa Monica, I wouldn’t consider its location to be prime property for a visitor to the area.
On another note, when checking in, be sure to treat yourself to a glass of sparkling wine, which they seem to have out throughout the afternoon. I ended up sipping mine later in the day, and they didn’t seem to mind I wasn’t checking in when I asked for it.
I made my way up to the room – 622. The hallways are lined with blue striped wallpaper, plus a printed rug. The aesthetic of the hotel makes me feel like I’m in a Tommy Bahamas catalogue. It’s not a bad thing, though, considering its location.
We booked a standard Classic Guest Room with a king sized bed but were upgraded to an ocean view room (with a balcony area to boot). The room, at first glance, was just a comfortably sized room, with a roomy armoire and a large flat screen TV.
The bed was nicely comfortable, though the pillows were too flat for my liking – I had to stack two pillows when sleeping to get comfortable. One side had a charging dock with a (surprise!) port that was compatible with our iPhones (rather than the ones I usually find in hotel rooms – which are too old to fit).
Somewhat related – our room was freezing. That’s not a complaint, it was about 99 degrees Celsius when we visited, so the blasting cold AC was a godsend. The comforter on the bed though, didn’t quite match up with the room’s temperatures, so you might have to ask for an extra blanket (or um, turn down the AC).
The other side of the room had an overstuffed chair, a long desk, and the TV. The room came with two complimentary bottles of water, as do all other rooms on SPG floors. We opted for Make a Green Choice, and these were not refreshed when we skipped housekeeping. The room came with a small refrigerator, which was empty (some floors had a vending machine to grab a soda from).
The closet was large, and came with the standard umbrella, iron, ironing board, and bathrobe. The bathrobes were oversized and felt heavy, but the material oddly felt thin.
Since we were in an accessible room, the bathroom was sizeable and had tons of space in the middle. Loved the wallpaper, which matched the overall aesthetic of the room and the hotel. The mirror had an intensely bright light – perfect for tweezing your eye brows since you’ll see every tiny hair (or imperfection for that matter).
The bathroom was stocked with Malin+Goetz products (loved the shampoo!). The huge counter top (which could have easily hosted two sinks instead of one) held your standard bathroom amenities – glasses (disposable and reusable), face towels (plus more standard sized towels in a basket underneath), and a tissue box. There was a magnifying mirror attached to the wall, but this was unfortunately past its prime was drooped downwards.
Since this was the accessible room, the tub came equipped with a bench and plenty of hand rails. The shower was a little confusing to use at first (I can’t even explain it), but once you got the water running, the water pressure was fine.
Somehow I managed not to photograph our balcony, but I did. It comfortably fit two chairs and a side table, and had ample space to walk around. Our view? The ocean. Not bad at all. We spent on evening eating take out from Sugarfish on the balcony watching the sun set.
In short, I was pretty happy with our room. I wish it was a little bit larger, but I’m just being greedy here. Great space, and comfortable for two to share.
If you’re in the market for meals and drinks, you’ll have it downstairs at the Longitude Bar + Grill. The main part of the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing, decked out with warm blue hues mixed in with bright yellow accents and soft leather couches and chairs. Since the restaurant was a big open space, you could easily sit in the lobby and be served your breakfast there if you preferred. Bonus – if you’re in the mood to sit outside by the pool, there are plenty of tables and chairs there too.
The breakfast options were your standard (erm) brunch fare. I didn’t opt to have the breakfast for my platinum amenity, since we were gifted a few gift certificates that comp’d us the value of 2 main courses at breakfast (and coffee too, I think). Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon was my favorite so I had the same both days, but Brian tried both the Breakfast Burrito and the American Breakfast. Both were pretty good but the burrito won by just the smallest margin (maybe it was the avocado). The eggs benedict was great – eggs were perfectly cooked, and they didn’t use too much sauce. My only complaint was on the first day the potatoes were on the dryer side, but the next day they were better, so hopefully it was just an off day for them.
The lobby matched the restaurant, with earthy brown and blue tones splashed with mustard yellow highlights. I loved that there were plenty of small nooks created by groupings of furniture, which created a feeling of intimacy despite the openness of the space.
The one underwhelming thing I found was the small size of the pool. This is LA after all – I was expecting the pool to be much bigger! Don’t plan on doing laps here; it’s basically for splashing around. On the flip side, there were no shortage of lounge chairs and cabanas (possibly able to accommodate more people than the pool can hold).
The entrance to the property is warmly inviting – decked with a mix of cushy couches and loud, unique furniture pieces.
Worth mentioning is the fact that you can borrow a number of things from the hotel during your stay – including bikes (I saw a family biking around on 4 bikes), a beach umbrella (so glad I didn’t bother buying one), and a plethora of beach-related paraphernalia. Just keep in mind they might only have a couple of what you’d like to borrow, so once it’s out for the day, you’re out of luck. I was really impressed (and pleased!) by this since I frequently have to buy cheap things that I use once when I travel, so I was thrilled that I didn’t have to shell out for an umbrella I was going to toss. Also up for borrowing – beach towels. Just as the front desk.
The hotel is located about a 15-20 minute walk from the Santa Monica promenade and boardwalk, where you’ll find most of the area’s attractions. Shortly after check-in, I decided to make my walk over to the beach and asked one of the staff members at the front of the desk which direction that was exactly. He let me know the property co-sponsors an ride share electric car program called The Free Ride, which is complimentary, and shuttles you through most of downtown Santa Monica (but drivers accept gratuity – a $1 tip goes a long way considering it would be a few dollars in an Uber).
While buses run through Santa Monica, your best bet is to rent a car while you’re in town (or take lots of Ubers), if you’re planning to leave the Santa Monica area. The brand new expo line, which runs from Santa Monica to Downtown LA, was recently completed, and the Santa Monica stop is a few blocks away from the hotel, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Though the property isn’t right on the beach (and frankly, there’s not too much around it), it’s in a convenient part of LA if you’re spending time in nearby neighborhoods like Westwood and Beverly Hills, but would like to be near the water.
I was really blown away by the level of service during my stay. Everyone was so wonderful and helpful, and really went the extra mile to make sure I had a great stay. Maybe it was a right place right time situation. Or maybe it was the complimentary glass of bubbly I enjoyed while I was passing the time before leaving the hotel on my last day. Unclear. Either way, I’ll probably stay here the next time I find myself in the area.
Hotel Appearance: 9/10 – The interiors were gorgeously and thoughtfully redone, but a point off for the aging exterior looks
Room: 9/10 – Lovely space, comfortable bed, but considering this is LA I really thought the room would be bigger. Also – though everything is updated and restyled, from the structure of the room you can tell this was all splashed on top of an older (less trendy) foundation.
Staff: 10/10 – Just wonderful. Really went out of their way to make our stay fantastic.
Location: 8/10 – You’re not really near the beach, nor are you near anything else, exactly (mmm there’s a walgreens close by). Expect long walks or uber rides to get around.
On-Site Amenities & Hospitality Services: 8/10 – I will say, the pool is remarkably small. I know I just said it but – c’mon, this is LA.
Overall Rating: 44/50 (88%) ★★★★★