The Huntley Hotel & My Santa Monica Staycation
As a lifelong Los Angeleno, I always suggest first-time visitors spend at least a week in my hometown to truly get a feel for this vast, vast metropolis. My second recommendation is to split one’s time between “The Eastside” – staying in either Downtown LA or Hollywood – and “The Westside”, namely Santa Monica and its famous stretch of sand.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be a tourist in my own town and spend a weekend at one of Santa Monica’s most upscale properties, The Huntley Hotel. A block west is Ocean Avenue overlooking Santa Monica State Beach, and the same distance east puts you on the pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade, meaning The Huntley is perfectly-positioned for a Southern California staycation.
Handing my car keys off to perhaps the friendliest valets in LA, I was assigned my King Room on the 17th floor, with a sweeping view of the coast and points south. My first reaction was “this room is HUGE!”, with ample floorspace between the bed, couch and desk. Ditto for the marble-tiled bathroom, outfitted with both a deep Jacuzzi tub and spacious glass-enclosed shower. A word of advice, however: the 17th floor is directly below The Penthouse rooftop restaurant, and on weekend nights it turns into quite the hip-and-happening bar scene so noise can creep in. If your ears are sensitive, request a room on the 16th floor or below.
It was a warm and unusually-humid day for Southern California, so naturally my first inclination was to cross Pacific Coast Highway’s pedestrian overpass and hit the beach. I can’t tell you how liberating it was to stroll to the seashore, rather than battle our city’s infamous traffic to get there!
That night, I met a friend to cavort along the Promenade, three long blocks of retail shops, restaurants, bars and street performers. Just like my beachgoing experience earlier, I relished in the rare opportunity to walk – not drive – to an area of town I have been frequenting for years and know like the back of my hand.
Making my way back to the Huntley that night, it almost felt as though I were leaving laid-back Santa Monica and stepping into Midtown Manhattan. The hotel’s classic concrete exterior and sleek, minimalist lobby are more evocative of a chic urban hotel than one located two blocks from the shimmering Pacific...
Knowing my short stay at the Huntley was winding down, on Sunday I wanted to maximize my time in the spacious room, with NFL football on the giant flat-screen TV as my companion. Before checking out, I headed back upstairs to The Penthouse, since I was tipped off that its ocean views are incredible. That was most certainly the case, and I can attest that the most dramatic panorama is from a decidedly “private” part of the restaurant, if you catch my drift ;)
Meeting up with more friends for a
second sun-kissed day on Santa Monica Beach, I reflected on my staycation experience at The Huntley Hotel and almost nearly that home, work and my daily routine were mere miles away!
(Exterior and lobby photos courtesy of The Huntley...others by yours truly)