By Vera Sauchanka / Vera.S@mychinews.com
Dennis Bindarau / Dennis.B@mychinews.com
This is the very first line that welcomes you to LA once you step out of the airport escalator and enter a spacious hallway that leads to the city. The quote comes from current Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti. And yes, it fully represents what LA is all about.
As most of metropolitan areas, Los Angeles goes far beyond its actual city limits, boasting a breathtaking display of beauty and intrigue. All tourist beachfront destinations here are combined into one, commonly known as the South Bay, which in its turn boasts the Beach Cities – Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. All of them are stretched along the southern shore of Santa Monica Bay, one of the area’s most famous tourist meccas. And, since we happened to check all of the above-mentioned destinations, we’ll start with the latter.
While always being a beachfront town, Santa Monica became a famed resort in the early 20th century. However, a real boom was experienced here in the late 1980’s, with significant job growth and increased tourism. The oceanfront is truly magical, and we would highly recommend not to ever miss a sunrise, even on a rainy day (check our video through the link above to get a brief idea).
Santa Monica Pier is one of the most beautiful landmarks in town. Opened on a well-thought out date of 9/9/09 (which stands for 1909 in this case), it continues to be the center of beach life and the vibe of the city. In addition to simply walking and enjoying the beauty of it, you can also visit one of the local shops, restaurants, or an amusement park.
Then, of course, don’t forget to visit Santa Monica State Beach (weather permitting), Third Street Promenade (for all of you shopping lovers), Palisades Park, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and the Museum of Flying – among its exhibit items is Douglas World Cruiser, developed and released in the early 1920’s in an attempt of the first flight around the world.
As for the hotels, the selection is vast. We decided to pick the Shore Hotel, located right on the Ocean Avenue, across the street from the famous Santa Monica Pier.
The AAA 4-diamond property boasts a modern interior, open-air design, an outdoor living room with pool, cocktail bar, water feature, and patio dining. But that’s not just your ‘regular luxury beachfront hotel;’ there’s a well thought-out message put out there. Designed by California architects Gensler Associates, Shore Hotel is the first and only hotel in Santa Monica with the distinction of a LEED Gold Certificate (LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green-building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices). The vision of the architects was to turn the worn-down buildings on Ocean Avenue into an ultra-modern, sustainable hotel that could be LEED Gold Certified. Additionally, the hotel takes part in various environmental programs, including Heal the Bays, focused on protecting the beaches and marine life.
Shore Hotel has an outstanding vibe, something that truly belongs here in Santa Monica. As soon as you arrive and pass your car keys to the valet, you’re offered a glass of champagne that you can take up to your room. While being in the center of it all, the location of your suite also matters, and the view is especially beautiful if you get into one of the penthouse suites with a private balcony where you can relax and enjoy either the sunset or sunrise – they both are incredibly beautiful in Santa Monica.
Defining itself as eco-conscious accommodations, or eco-chic hotel, Shore Hotel has a unique interior focused on open space, and uses more windows than doors, including in the shower, so you can enjoy an ocean view literally from every part of your room.
Shore Hotel won two distinct awards in 2015, the prestigious Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA) Grand Prize and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Los Angeles Best Green Hotel Award, and is one of your best choices to stay in Santa Monica.
About 15 miles south down the oceanfront, you will hit all the other beautiful beachfront cities, including Hermosa Beach, where we also had a chance to spend some more time during our trip.
Being a true beachfront city, the main attraction here is, of course, the beach!
One of the most beautiful places to take a walk is The Strand, a pedestrian and bike beachfront path that stretches for 26 miles along the coast.
And as you breathe in the salty ocean, there’s a lot of shopping to do on Hermosa’s Pier Avenue. Plus, when all of your souvenirs are already bought, you can take your shopping to a new level and visit nearby Manhattan Beach downtown with more fine local shops and eateries.
For our hotel we chose Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach. Located right by the oceanfront, on The Strand, it’s the perfect place to spend your vacation. And while in many places (including Chicago) it’s cold and snowy, the fall and winter season is still beautiful in Southern California. For your stay at the Beach House Hotel we would highly recommend either Ocean Front, Ocean View or Partial Ocean View suites, all of them beautifully featuring the ocean.
One of the key features of the hotel interior is that suites give you an impression of private beach houses, each having a fireplace and divided space for a bedroom, living room and a kitchen. Another great feature is a complimentary breakfast at The Strand Café, where you can enjoy food with a view. If you’d like to go down to the beach, the hotel also supplies complimentary beach chairs.
If you’re looking for additional entertainment, the hotel offers a special Laugh Out Loud Sunday’s Package, where you can get two VIP tickets to a Jay Leno show at the Comedy & Magic Club just down the block.
Beach House Hotel Hermosa Beach is one of the best of its kind, boasting a unique luxury beachfront experience for your Southern California stay. On top of all that, it’s just a 30-45 minute drive (depending on traffic) to all of LA’s major attractions – Universal Studios, Disneyland, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, which we will talk about more in our next week’s issue. Stay warm!