Viceroy Santa Monica: a Happening Design Hotel Near the Beach in L.A.

Viceroy Santa Monica is a design-centric. private-feeling hotel in L.A. It is set a block from the Pacific Ocean beach (but not on the beach) in the upscale surfside community of Santa Monica.

Viceroy Santa Monica attracts a hip, stylish crowd, some of whom work in the entertainment industry. A relaxed, lounge-y vibe is furnished by hotel's Cameo Bar and cabana-lined pool. And Viceroy Santa Monica's excellent indoor-outdoor restaurant, Whist, invites lingering.

Viceroy Santa Monica belongs to the growing, LA-based Viceroy Hotel Group. This hotel management company operates finely designed properties in the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and in exotic ports of call like Abu Dhabi and the Maldives.

Viceroy Santa Monica opened in 2002 and was beautifully designed by Kelly Wearstler. Its elegant yet light-hearted style seamlessly combines elements of Art Deco and glmaorous "Hollywood Regency." The pool area is done in pure Silver Screen style, with nostalgic black and white cabanas.

The hotel is very comfortable, with plush lounge chair in the lobby and in all rooms. Viceroy Santa Monica is also quite eco-conscious, and filled with sunlight and natural materials.

Will You Like Staying at Viceroy Santa Monica?

The answer is probably yes if:

  • You have high standards of design
  • Or you're an admirer of Kelly Wearstler's style
  • You like a sociable hotel with a young vibe and lounge areas
  • You'll take advantage of a good restaurant right in the hotel
  • You want to be a short walk from the ocean
  • You want to stay in a low-key residential neighborhood in LA
  • You like Santa Monica and want to be amidst its pedestrian culture and Farmers' Market
  • You'd like to be relatively close to LAX, but still in a vibrant part of L.A
  • You'd enjoy working outdoors on the hotel's quiet, shaded patio

The answer is probably no if:

  • You prefer traditional design
  • You need lots of closet space
  • You need to be closer to downtown LA, Beverly Hills, or West Hollywood
  • You don't want to stay near the beach, but on
  • You're traveling with kids
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Location of Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel in L.A.

Lobby library and lounge at Viceroy Santa Monica hotel in L.A>
©Viceroy Santa Monica

Location of Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica is set in LA's charming beachfront city of Santa Monica. The hotel is relatively close to LAX, about a half hour.

Viceroy Santa Monica is set a block and half from the beach, but is not on the beach. It is within quick walking distance of:

  • The Pacific Ocean (via a footpath just across the street)
  • The 22-miles Marvin Braude bike path, also known as "The Strand," which runs north and south of the hotel (It's easy to rent bikes in Santa Monica
  • The Santa Monica Pier, with its Ferris wheel
  • Santa Monica's downtown
  • The Santa Monica Farmers' Markets (one Saturday, one Sunday)
  • Varied shopping at Third Street Promenade

What Viceroy Santa Monica hotel rooms & suites are like >>

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Rooms & Suites at Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel in L.A.

Pacific Ocean view from Viceroy Santa Monica hotel room in L.A.
©Viceroy Santa Monica

Rooms & Suites at Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica's 162 rooms and suites have an Art Deco-meets-1960s Hollywood look. This pleasing décor was masterminded by LA-based designer Kelly Wearstler. The palette is soft gray and white, with sunny yellow and cool silver accents.

Room categories range from the standard City View room (320 square feet) to the grand Monarch Suite (780).

My Ocean View Grande Room was an airy 470 square feet, with a narrow balcony facing Ocean Blvd. and the Pacific a few hundred yards away. (View downside: the open sunshine dramatically heated up the room at sunset, and I had to draw the blinds.)

Viceroy Santa Monica guests can count on:

  • A sitting area with a view of either the pool, downtown Santa Monica, or the ocean
  • Wall-mounted Sony plasma screen TV
  • King bed with pillowtop mattress and duvet
  • 100% Egyptian cotton bed sheets
  • 24-hour room service
  • In-room safe
  • iPod dock and radio
  • Well stocked minibar

Room wifi and bottled water carry a price tag, which is annoying. There's no in-room coffee maker or complimentary newspaper, but both are offered free in the hotel lobby all morning.

Bathrooms at Viceroy Santa Monica

Bathrooms at Viceroy Santa Monica are all marble. They are equipped with a large walk-in shower and a backstage-style sit-down dressing area. Amenities by Neil George, including body wash, conditioner and shampoo, are housed in pump-style dispensers refilled by housekeeping daily to minimize plastic waste. A shelf holds other products for purchase.

Whist Restaurant, Cameo Bar, & cabana dining at Viceroy Santa Monica >>

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Dining & Drinking at Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel in L.A.

Patio dining at Whist Restaurant at Viceroy Santa Monica hotel in L.A.
©Viceroy Santa Monica

Excellent Dining at Viceroy Santa Monica in L.A.

Whist, the hotel's sole and outstanding in-house eatery, is very popular with guests and with Santa Monica locals. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 24-hour room service.

The well-run and creative kitchen is helmed by a protégé of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, chef Tony DiSalvo.

His cooking is innovative and global. Whist's appealing, elcectic menu is strong on small plates. Surefire hits on the dinner lineup: lamb kefta meatballs and chili-sparked chicken with kimch'i.

Whist diners can sit indoors or out. The al fresco dining tables fronting the pool are in high demand, so make these reservations when you check into the hotel.

Cameo Bar, named for its stylish black-and-white motif, is a comfortable, lounge-like space. Its extensive cocktail list offers hand-mixed cocktails, some based on retro spirits like rye and gin. Plenty of California wines are available by the glass, too.

Viceroy Santa Monica's hotel service, fitness, & glam pool >>

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Service, Pool, & Gym at Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel in L.A.

The pool and cabanas atViceroy Santa Monica hotel in L.A.
©Viceroy Santa Monica

Excellent Hotel Service at Viceroy Santa Monica

Service at Viceroy Santa Monica is attentive and considerate. Check-in is a stressless, sit-down affair, managed rapidly and cheerfully at a trio of desks.

Hotel staffers look out for guests. When I discovered that the poolside dispensers of iced lemon water had been taken down, a concierge brought me a glass from the bar.

Use of Viceroy Santa Monica's business center is not on the house. Neither is wifi in rooms, cabanas, or on the patio. However, wifi comes free of charge in the lobby and Library.

Most hotels that lack coffeemakers want guests to buy their coffee from a lobby vender. But Viceroy Santa Monica dispenses coffee gratis at Cameo Bar in the morning.

Viceroy Santa Monica observes a pet-friendly hotel policy. Only dogs are permitted, and owners must pay a $100 housekeeping fee.

Guest who come by car must valet-park for a fee; the city of Santa Monica forbids overnight street or lot parking.

Pool, Patio, & Cabana Scene at Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica's "back yard" is a huge patio with a fashionable Hollywood mood. This rambling space offers lounge chairs, private cabanas, two pools, and several dining tables for Whist Restaurant patrons.

On sunny days, many hotel guests make the patio their de facto office. Wifi is available for a daily charge.

Cabanas are available for a hefty fee. Larger cabanas are often rented for business or social events.

Fitness at Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica has a small fitness room that is free to guests. It features a few cardio machines, free weights, kettlebells, a Cablecross pulley system, and floor equipment like mats and stability balls.

The hotel offers well-attended, complimentary fitness classes two mornings a week. Typical offerings are yoga and a shape-up regimen called Beach Boot Camp. Mats, water, and towels are included.

How to get more info about Viceroy Santa Monica >>

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Connect with Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel in L.A.

Kelly Wearstler designed the lobby at ©Viceroy Santa Monica hotel in L.A.
©Viceroy Santa Monica

Where to Connect with Viceroy Santa Monica

  • Viceroy Santa Monica's website
  • Viceroy Santa Monica on Facebook
  • On Twitter (@ViceroySM)
  • By phone: 310.260.7500
  • Find out more about Viceroy Hotels and Resorts
  • Viceroy Santa Monica
    1819 Ocean Avenue
    Santa Monica, CA 90401

As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of describing the hotel. For more information, see our site's Ethics Policy.

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