Santa Monica Beach, the Georgian Hotel
By David Silva
Why You Must Go: Built in 1933, the Georgian is perhaps the best way to discover the glory of post-war Santa Monica without bothering with the time and expense of building a time machine. The owners spent $2 million bucks restoring the Georgian to its Art Deco splendor, and spent it wisely. From the diamond-patterned marble floors to the shiny brass detailing to the broom-closet elevators once operated by pull levers, the place positively breathes the spirit of can-do opulence. A historical landmark, the Georgian is particularly famous for its lobby and beachfront veranda, upon which guests dine on French toast soufflé and get stewed on fruity cocktails—all to the gawking eyes of passersby. Squint your eyes and you’ll swear that’s Al Capone stretched out on one of the mahogany deck chairs, firing up a stogie while watching the sun set into the Pacific.
Despite its reputation as a luxury hotel, nothing about the Georgian feels pretentious. The rooms and suites are clean, comfortable and impressively decorated, but they’re not so clean and stiff that you’re afraid to touch anything. The cuisine is first rate. The staff—at least those we encountered—is to a person knowledgeable and professional. This is a huge plus for anyone who’s ever experienced the clinical detachment of, say, a four-star Marriott. Chat it up with the desk manager, and you’ll find that she’s one of the sharpest wits on the Westside. Block the side driveway with your car and you’ll find he has no problem telling you to move your ass and let him do his job. It’s easy to feel at home around people like that.
Apart from its physical and culinary charms, the Georgian is centrally located to almost everything worth seeing and doing in Santa Monica, including the beach, the historic pier, the Third Street Promenade, and—just around the corner—Ye Old King’s Head, otherwise known as the last remaining kick-ass pub in the city.
Georgian Hotel, 1415 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 395-9945, www.georgianhotel.com. Rates range from about $272–$479 (ocean view) per night. Parking is $9 for the day, and $21 overnight. 84 Rooms
Where to eat: Where else? The Veranda Restaurant at the Georgian serves breakfast and lunch in the inside dining room or on the veranda overlooking the ocean. Check out the aforementioned French toast soufflé and the Kobe beef burger with sweet potato fries.
What else to check out: You haven’t looked death in the eye until you’ve rotated to the top of that Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier.