I have been dreaming of staying at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel ever since they opened in 2019 and I first laid eyes on the interior magic created by Kelly Wearstler.
When I spotted a deal during our recent stay in LA I knew it was too good to pass up and clicked ‘BOOK RESERVATION’ faster than a dozen cookies disappears in our house.
In a nutshell, it was everything that I hoped and dreamed of and more. Even though I didn’t get a chance to check out the spa, I was amazed by how “at home” I felt, almost as if I was staying at a design savvy friends place. I personally only have good things to say about the hotel (outside of the questionable hairdryer in our room). The warm textures and plush fabrics made the room feel like a cocoon on the beach, the food was nourishing and indulgent, and do not get me started on the views from the room top.
Let’s dive into it!
If you’re not familiar with the Santa Monica Proper, it’s a luxury hotel located smack dab in central Santa Monica that’s made a bit of a name for itself with its impeccable interior design, rooftop pool and restaurant, and Ayurvedic spa. The hotel itself was built in and around a 1920’s-era Spanish colonial revival style building providing lots of natural organic curves and light inside.
The inside of the hotel introduces a looser kind of luxury with an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary furniture, art, textiles and greenery that were often sourced locally. There are endless spaces throughout the hotel to post up with a laptop, enjoy a drink with friends, or curl up with a good book. The roof feels like another world, far from the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica with tons of greenery, 360 degree views of the west side and similar opportunities to relax, connect, work or simply hang out.
If you’re interested in more details of the interiors I highly commend this Dezeen article.
No surprise here, the rooms were just as well designed as the rest of the hotel. I once saw the rooms described as having “colors and textures reminiscent of a fancy graham cracker” which I can confidently say is rather accurate. We opted for a Deluxe King Balcony which gave us a private spot to sit and enjoy fresh air and sunshine without leaving our room. Outside of the furniture, the big highlights for me were the travertine bathroom *swoon*, the tech (I loved hitting a button in the morning and having all the curtains open), and I would be remised not to mention the bed because I could have easily stayed in it all day. It was so comfortable.
Tip: Ask for a room facing south, east or west so that you get some direct light during the day. Our room faced south and we got glorious morning light – one of my favorite ways to start the day!
As someone who has very…specific preferences when it comes to what I eat, I found their food program delicious and their menus easy to navigate. I do wish they had more gluten-free and vegan options, but for the short amount of time that we were there, I was very content.
The lobby, aka Palma, is where we had breakfast every morning (you can also get room service, but it comes with an extra delivery fee). I opted for a fresh Green Juice and a shockingly huge Fruit Plate. They also had a Chia Pudding on the menu, but I never got a chance to try it. For lunch, we popped up to the rooftop and ate by the pool. Do yourself a favor and get the Calabra Meze Board – even if you’re dairy-free and gluten-free you will not be disappointed. We ordered it without the labneh and feta and asked for extra crudités and vegetables. *chefs kiss*
For dinner there is Palma in the lobby and Calabra on the rooftop. Both offering similar, but slightly different menus. We opted for Calabra one of the nights that we were there, which airs more Mediterranean. Oddly enough we started with sushi (only served Thursday-Sunday), which ended up being my favorite part of the meal. I’d also recommend their dips and all their vegan options. My only real complaint is that everything outside of the sushi was heavily, and unnecessarily, oiled. If I could do it again, I’d do a 5pm happy hour and sushi outside by the rooftop bar one night and a drink at the Palma before heading up to Calabra for Mediterranean on the rooftop another night.
I typically have low expectation for fitness rooms in hotels. However I was blown away by the set up at Santa Monica Proper. It lives on the 2nd floor, adjacent to a patio with a quaint seating area that’s also home to yoga classes in the morning. It’s consists of two rooms, each with a wall of windows facing west, and is equipped with various Peloton’s (tred and bike), fitness equipment and plenty of room to move around. It tends to be a bit more crowded in the morning so if you can go either super early in the morning or afternoon then you’ll most likely have it to yourself. We went in the afternoon and I had plenty of room to do an hour Tracy Anderson workout without bumping into anyone.
Sadly I didn’t get a chance to visit Surya Spa, but it is absolutely on my list. I’ve had my eye on it ever since the hotel opened. It’s an Ayurveda spa led by Ayurvedic doctor, chef and herbalist Marth Soffer. In addition to services like a four-handed massage with customized oils and/or scrubs, Vishesh (similar to deep tissue) and Shirodara, they also offer their signature 3-28 day Panchakarma Series, Dosha Yoga and a wealth of specialized treatments and consultations utilizing Ayurvedic techniques. I’ve always been fascinated by Ayurveda and super curious about Panchakarma ever since I tried Shirodara at Como Shambala in Bali, but haven’t come across many places locally that offer it in this kind of way. If you love wellness or need a little tlc, this is one part of the Santa Monica Proper that you’ll definitely want to carve out time (and money) for.
Needless to say, if you get the chance to stay here or another Proper location, I highly recommend it. If anything, stop by for dinner and take in the interiors!