Need to get away? There’s no better place to hide from the world and bask in the sunshine than Southern Calif., and especially at the historic Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. This famous SoCal hotel is located midway between Malibu’s famous surf break and Los Angeles. “Miramar”—Spanish for “view of the sea”—is a fitting name for the property, whose stunning views have drawn guests for nearly 100 years. More than just beautiful, though, the Miramar’s main selling point for its long history has been its seclusion. It was—and is—a popular place for celebrities to escape the confines of Hollywood. When the hotel first opened in the Roaring Twenties, Greta Garbo was one of the first through the doors. She was followed in later years by actresses Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe, as well as hundreds of others who flocked to the Miramar hoping to disappear from the media’s watchful eye. Whether you’re hiding from paparazzi, a stressful job, or simply Chicago winters, the Miramar is the perfect escape.
Iron entrance gates give way to sweeping views and the hotel’s hundred and forty-year-old fig tree. Guests continue on into the vast lobby, where a lounge, a bar, and a line of welcoming desks ensure a quick and easy check-in. Step outside to find bright white chairs and fun printed pillows surrounding the turquoise pool and hot tub—a familiar sight for fans of Moonlighting, Hart to Hart, or Knots Landing, as all used this area for location shots. Luxury bungalows are scattered throughout the property, with the Ocean Tower and the Palisades Wing soaring overhead.
Fairmont Miramar is the only hotel in Santa Monica that boasts bungalows. Set among palm trees, bountiful flowers, and tranquil waterfalls are 32 private bungalows, perfect for couples and/or families. The bungalows vary in size, but all offer a spacious modern bathroom, bedroom(s), and private patio. Decorated in soothing white and gray with touches of Malibu-sky blue and driftwood accents, the bungalows are perfect for relaxing after a long day in the sun, and they offer more of the hotel’s signature seclusion.
The hotel is nestled on the edge of Santa Monica’s residential area where you can shop on the Third Street Promenade and stroll the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Thrill seekers are in luck here too—with Malibu just down the road, you can take advantage of some of the world’s most famous surf breaks. Malibu Surf Shack—Malibu’s local surf shop since 1972—overlooks Surfrider Beach and provides equipment and surf lessons Monday through Friday. These breaks aren’t for rookies, but the Malibu Surf Shack staff can turn anyone into a pro (or just teach you not to fall before you even stand up)! For those whose idea of adventure is a bit slower-paced, the Surf Shack also provides paddle boards. (malibusurfshack.com)
If you prefer to stay closer to the hotel, the beach club is just a short jeep or bike ride away. Here you’ll find a huge beach scattered with plenty of lounge chairs shaded by adorable navy umbrellas, games and activities, as well as a full beach menu. Cold drinks hand-delivered to your lounge chair is just about as good as it gets.
The hotel’s FIG restaurant was perfectly captured by the LA Times as “A raging success.” The Mediterranean-influenced bistro works with local farmers to source the freshest local and organic ingredients straight from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The menu includes hearty dishes as well as light quick bites: all well-presented, delicious, and perfectly paired with wines from the extensive wine list. Hanging lights, green plants, and a wood-burning oven underscore the bistro’s rustic charm, and it’s all topped off with phenomenal, California cheery service.
The Lobby Lounge is another great spot for lunch, dinner or a unique cocktail and is positioned next to the soothing Koi fish pond and waterfall.
All this relaxation doesn’t mean that the nightlife scene is on life support. On the contrary, the hip nightclub Bungalow is located just outside the hotel and constantly has lines out the door. The Baja-inspired casita holds a series of differently decorated rooms, eclectic furniture, and generous cocktails, not to mention people-watching galore. The margaritas are a must!
If ocean water and wind aren’t your hairstyling tools of choice, Glam&Go (glamandgo.com/losangeles) offers express and signature blowouts to tame salty hair. The express service, tailored to take only 15 minutes, starts on dry hair for a blowout finish in half the time. Glam&Go also offers updos for a night out. Fitness gurus will feel right at home in the Health Club and Exhale—a mind/body spa with state of the art equipment and therapies. Many Santa Monica locals use the Miramar facilities as their “club” as they offer unique and comprehensive spa, fitness, and healing programs. Be sure to sign up for the outdoor yoga. Channeling inner peace while feeling the ocean breeze and listening to the sound of waves … is practically a spiritual experience.
If you’re yearning for an escape, The Fairmont Miramar & Bungalows will deliver, and throw in glamorous old Hollywood vibes as a cherry on top. Whether you are there on business, with a significant other, or with your family, you can enjoy a serene, yet adventurous stay. If all that isn’t enough, remember Santa Monica weather hardly ever dips below 60 degrees … California’s calling.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is located at 101 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. For more information, visit Fairmont.com/Santa-Monica/Miramar.