Mumbai: With its world-famous pier, pink and gold sunsets, palm-lined promenades, colourful beach hotels and yellow sand beach, it’s no surprise that a recent Expedia poll has named Santa Monica the most scenic destination in the Los Angeles (LA) area.
The Expedia poll, which asked 1000 readers for their top recommendations, also ranked Santa Monica as the eighth most scenic destination on the entire West Coast of the United States.
Residents of Santa Monica are already in the know of the scenic views on offer this summer, soaring above the 22 lounges, bars and restaurants throughout the city that showcase sweeping views of the city’s 3.5-mile stretch of coastline.
This month’s opening of Élephante Beach House, a hip rooftop bar in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, is just the latest example of the trend to take summer to new heights with sunset happy hours.
Located inside Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, a breezy beachfront hideaway steps away from the sand is BarBelle, featuring panoramic ocean views within the hotel’s lobby and redesigned pool deck. The stylish, California-casual restaurant and bar serves up delectable dishes and signature cocktails in a friendly atmosphere featuring a gallery wall of vintage Muscle Beach photos.
Beach Butler Service
For a luxurious sunset viewing experience, try Beach Butler Service offered by Perry’s Café and Beach Rentals. A butler from Perry’s will be on call and set up two beach chairs with towels, an umbrella, a table, and a personal cooler with beverages, allowing guests to enjoy the VIP treatment. Sit back and relax with your toes in the sand while the sky explodes in layers or orange, pink and purple, all rippling against the ocean waves.
With the feel of a swanky surfer shack, this convivial den at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is tricked out with fire pits, a back garden and a Ping-Pong and billiard table. From a stool at The Bungalow’s outdoor bar, sip top-shelf house margaritas and gaze at the rolling tide in the distance.
Del Frisco’s Grille
This classic American bar and grill overlook another classic location: the Santa Monica Pier. The bar at Del Frisco’s Grille is a hot spot for well-crafted cocktails like the ‘Adult Milkshake’ with Nocello walnut liqueur and creme de cacao.
Élephante Beach House
Restaurateur Nick Mather, known for Eveleigh, Goldies and Little Ruby, opened a brand-new beach bar, Élephante Beach House. The space features an expansive second-floor lounge, complete with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, full bar, and a light menu of food items.
Perched seven floors up on the penthouse level of Hotel Shangri-La, ONYX is an indoor-outdoor rooftop bar that is a favourite amongst visitors and locals alike serving signature cocktails such as the Berry Apropos, made with seasonal berries and Champagne. Or, relax poolside on the Streamline Moderne Art Deco design hotel deck and dip your toes into the full-size swimming pool and Jacuzzi with the purchase of a public pool day pass.
Running the full length of downtown Santa Monica, the beautiful 26-acre Palisades Park is the ideal spot to watch the sunset from cliff level. With a rose garden, petanque courts, and Visitors Center Kiosk, there’s also plenty of hidden gems to explore here. Look for the unusual like a totem pole from Alaska.
Santa Monica Pier
With a rich history dating back to 1909, the Santa Monica Pier is the most-Instagrammed place in Los Angeles, and for good reason. Wave to the waves from up high as you take a spin on Pacific Wheel, a solar-powered Ferris Wheel in Pacific Park, an amusement park packed with rides, midway games, ocean front speciality food, and seaside shopping.
Italy meets the California coast in Terrazza Lounge, a Santa Monica lounge and café nestled inside Hotel Casa del Mar with 180-degree views of the Pacific. Come for sunrise at breakfast, catch the breeze midafternoon over lunch or experience small plates and cocktails at night.
The views from Tongva Park, a six-acre urban oasis, were handcrafted by locals for visitors. As the park was being built, residents participated in selecting their favourite scenic vistas by voting with bags of sand. The dramatic topography of rolling hills and braided paths inspired by the arroyo wash landscape offer ocean vistas and observation decks make for great people watching locations – there’s no telling what kinds of eye-catching people you’ll spot as you soak up the Santa Monica scene.