We started planning for our California trip back in May when the temperatures in Toronto were just as cool as they are now. We have bee wanting to come to the West Coast for years and hadn’t made our way out here yet. I just needed to find that perfect timing as we always go somewhere in August before the kids go back to school, one last hoorah! When the Raptors won the NBA finals Air Canada offered a seat sale, it was the perfect opportunity I was waiting for. I found 4 direct flights, convinced the hubby the sale was a great deal and our trip was booked to California. Then came the hard part, where were we going to stay….
We pretty much wanted it all. We wanted a place that was going to be near the action, close to the beach, somewhere we could find an awesome food scene and of course all at a decent price. Sounds like a tall order, when I told the hubby of my requirements he kind of just smirked and wished me good luck! After weeks of looking at options, A LOT of options…I somehow kept coming back to my first bookmarked hotel. This is how we ended up at the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, and hands down it was the best decision for us and our girls. Now let me tell you why.
I never want to start a sentence this way, but what the heck…location, location, location! Location is key when you are looking to get the most out of your trip. I landed on The Shore Hotel which was prime location to everything we wanted to be near. We spent a lot of time walking up and down Ocean Drive and were convinced our location was the best on the strip. We were a mere few minutes from the hustle and bustle of the famous Santa Monica shore line and all its glory. For the two nights we were there we made sure to go to the pier every night to ride the Ferris wheel (we got free tickets from concierge with our stay) and enjoy the excitement of the boardwalk. The girls stopped at the small gift shops along the pier, watched the hawkers selling their nick knacks, rode the roller coaster, and enjoyed some..ok a lot..of sugary treats. We also walked to the beach and spent some time building sand castles and enjoying the sand between our toes. The Pacific Ocean was definitely dueling out some mighty waves but this just made the girls happier every time they crashed on the shore. If you want to be amid the foodie scene, short walk to the pier, steps from the ocean, and a stones throw away from the promenade shops this is where you want to be.
As soon as we arrived to the hotel after a long commute, we were warmly greeted by the staff. As I checked in, the bellman was talking to the girls and brought them a welcome gift of Shore Hotel sunglasses (which they wore for the entire trip), sand buckets and shovels which they were super ecstatic about taking to the beach. They definitely thought they hit a gold mine with their snazzy new buckets, then the welcome continued with apple juice in flutes for them while us adults enjoyed complementary sparkling champagne – nice touch. The concierge explained the details around the hotel and we were given our keys to our rooms, a very nice bellman helped us with our luggage and we were off to get settled. Through out our stay we found the hotel staff to be very friendly and accommodating, they had an answer for every question and a solution for every concern (our kids lost their welcome buckets, could we possibly have more?) We got new buckets in no time which made for very happy little customers!
We had breakfast included in our stay and enjoyed it twice in the garden restaurant on their main floor over looking the pool. The breakfast was excellent and plentiful, we tried different things on the menu each day. The girls LOVED the French toast, my husbands’ favorite was the eggs benny, and my favorite was their breakfast charcuterie board. I am on a keto diet (ok..I did cheat a tiny bit on vacation) so this offering was perfect. The hubby and I loved, loved, loved their green juice which I am hell bent on repeating when we get back into our routine. My hubby who does not particularly like anything green was a huge fan, so much that he ordered it before his coffee which never happens each morning. We never ordered room service as we were only at the hotel in the mornings or late evenings but the breakfast was definitely something to write home about and kept us very content.
Our room on the third floor was excellent, it over looked the pool, beach and the pier. We had an awesome view of the action, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time on our balcony but kept our shades wide open whenever we were in the room. We actually felt like we were still a part of the action from our room because it was literally that close. Our room had 2 Queen beds which were perfect for our family of 4, they also had a beautiful stand up shower with a privacy shade. Because our kids are younger (7&4) we were ok with the set up with the shade. If you have older kids that need their privacy then this set up may not be the best. Ok – I have to call out the luxury shampoo, soap, and conditioner that was provided. They were incredible, my favorite was the shampoo that had a hint of lemongrass….rejuvenates the senses! Now if there ever was a product that I would want to take home with me, these would be it! I wanted to inquire in the spa to see if they had these products to purchase but unfortunately never got around to it – they were lovely!
I always pay attention to the extras a hotel provides, I like to see what a hotel does for its guests to ensure repeat customers and how they stand out against other hotels. For me the fine details are very important, I always look for that special touch or offering that makes the hotel unique. Besides what I have mentioned in my review, here is what the hotel did to stand out in my mind and really welcome their guests:
- Offer welcome drinks for their guests (apple ciders for kids, sparkling champagne for adults)
- Coffee in the mornings and fresh cookies at 3pm (they were absolutely delicious)
- Welcome gift for kids (sand buckets with shovels, coloring book with crayons, kids sun glasses)
- Apples and Fresh Cold water at reception (I enjoyed both)
- Complementary books, magazines and sunscreen by the outside pool, the sunscreen came in handy when we ran out
Last but not least, I loved the special touches the hotel offered in terms of doing their bit to protect the community they are a part of. The touches were very subtle but appreciated, I did read somewhere that the hotel is the only one currently in the area that has such a program.
- they have implemented 100% Marine Biodegradable products for food and beverages (pictured below)
- in room climate control reducing energy costs by 35-45%
- swimming pool is being heated by solar energy and reduces energy consumption
- most guest rooms have a direct line of sight to the outdoors and natural daylight
Clearly we were really happy with our stay in Santa Monica and really lucked out as we were (or really I was) able to check everything I wanted off my list. I can still smell the ocean air and distinctly remember the taste of the delicious green juice we started our mornings with. When I am on vacation I really want someone else to figure out the details, after months of planning its nice to know that it was all worth it. Shore Hotel, until next time…