It didn’t take much convincing after we perused the The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel's website. How can it get much better than this, I thought – a beachfront resort in the heart of Santa Monica that loves kids! Well, it does and it did! For five glorious, sun drenched, pampered days, we indulged in a family vacation that surpassed all others from day one.
Picture a mini van full of four anxious kids impatiently anticipating their first plunge in the pristine pool adorned by breathtaking ocean views. From the moment we drove up to the hotel it felt as though we were warped into a vacation nirvana. Customer service swirled around us catering to our every need. They even had gifts and treats for the kids like a plate of warm, jumbo homemade cookies and milk delivered to our room! That was popular…
The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel resort has 342 rooms, 13 one bedroom suites and 4 custom designed luxury suites. The standard rooms range in price from $399 for partial ocean views - $549 with full ocean views. Ask for the Summerfest promotion when making a reservation and you’ll receive $100 credit if you stay a minimum 3 nights, which you can use at the hotel’s restaurant, lounge, spa or for room service. Rooms are chic and sophisticated with 42” plasmas and CD player in the newly renovated rooms. “One of the coolest things of all was the plasma and the play station they brought to our room. We got be play some great games on it,” said Shant Mahrokhian, 12.
LAZY, HAZY DAYS
The poolside concierge made sure we were comfortable, providing seats, towels and sun tan lotion. For the kids there were free floaties, boogie boards and other pool toys to use. Poolside dining had something for everyone, a kids menu with a variety of meals and choice of fruit smoothies – part of the Loews Loves Kids program - and delectable salads, sandwiches and burgers for the adults served from the Papillon Restaurant. My favorite was the Grilled Panini, with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic on Feta cheese bruchetta. Incredible! And they make a mean Bloody Mary with cheese stuffed green olives. “The poolside food was amazing,” said Shant Mahrokhian, who settled daily on the burger and fries. Other thoughtful features include fresh Orange and Lemon water at the pool and throughout the property. Before we could even ask for something, there was a staff member asking us if we needed anything. “I loved the Pina Colada smoothie (kids style), it was so good I drank every last drop,” said Diran Ardhaldjian, 7. “My favorite part of the hotel was the breakfast and swimming in the pool with my cousins.”
There are so many daily family activities offered through their Summer Kids Club in Suite 631 including Scavenger Hunts, Arts and Crafts, and pool time. The morning session runs from 9 am -12:30 pm and the afternoon session from 1:30pm – 5pm. Each session is $40 and a full day which includes lunch is $80. This runs through Labor Day.
After a full day at the pool, we took a short walk to the beach where the kids ‘dug for water’ in the sand, played with the gymnastic rings and climbing rope and swam in the ocean. We watched the sun set over the Santa Monica Pier – another popular spot for the kids - with an amusement park, aquarium and a brand new 160,000 LED solar powered Ferris Wheel.
In the evening the pool area turns into an elegant oceanfront lounge with blazing fire pits and dimmed lighting. Here parents can take in the evening view with a glass of wine or a signature cocktail while the kids enjoy a movie in the room.
RISE AND SHINE
Breakfast at Ocean and Vine, the hotel’s signature restaurant, offered an eclectic mix of ‘tempting twists’ like frozen hot chocolate, oatmeal brulee and a banana split (berries, vanilla bean yogurt and granola sprinkles). If you’re the traditional breakfast type, they have a rich hot and cold buffet or a la carte choices like the Santa Monica Benedict, Belgium Waffles with Strawberry Kumquat Compote or Huevos Rancheros. Kids can enjoy the buffet at a nominal price of $12.
“You get to pick your own food – and get it so quick!,” said Sanan Mahrokhian, 7, who opted for the breakfast buffet every morning. “You don’t have to order and wait,” added her sister Sarine, 6, who filled her plate with pancakes, bacon and fruit. My choice – the French Toast stuffed with banana and cashews. The French Toast surrounded a bowl of fresh berries and whipped cream.
The cuisine at Ocean and Vine is a treat for the palate.
With the kids fully entertained, take a stroll to the hotel’s Ocean Spa and Fitness Center and ask for Zully Cardonas. Whether you desire a therapeutic body massage or a cleansing facial Zully will make sure you get the rejuvenating treatment you need! I had the 90 minute Aromatherapy Deep Massage priced at $170 with masseuse Sophia Dow and was extremely happy. She got to every sore muscle and worked it to a point of relaxation. “My goal is to help people regain optimal function of their bodies and to help them tune into the mind-body connection,” said Sophia. “I would describe my style of massage as deep, therapeutic, focused and thoughtful with Swedish relaxation.” She will not disappoint!
For the ideal skin firming and detoxifying treatment try the Mud Body Wrap ($150) which starts with an exfoliation using a blend of sea salts followed by a head to toe application of warm Moor Mud. I’m told it’s one of their most popular treatments.
“It was the best body treatment I’ve ever had, and I am comparing this to an exclusive spa on Newbury Street in Boston,” said Lilian Mahrokhian. “It was true pampering with attention to my comfort in all respects including the temperature of the room and water. And while in the Mud Wrap she gently placed several warm blankets over me so that I stayed warm…and she gave me an amazing foot massage while the Mud was doing its work. My skin felt incredibly soft after.”
And if you have an active teen looking to decompress, there’s the Green Teen Spa Package priced at $150 which includes a 30 minute GreenApy Massage, Pacific Glow - a holistic body treatment with salt-mousse body scrub, an Island Pedicure, and a goodie bag of product samples and information on healthy living and lifestyle.
If you do feel the need to venture off property – the Third Street Promenade is walking distance with wonderful restaurants, shops, fun street performances and lots of ice cream. See Michael at Concierge or any one of the pleasant hotel staff and they’ll fix you up with tickets to local attractions, restaurant reservations, car service, movie information, all of it.
This summer treat your family, treat yourself, and discover The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel – it’s not just a hotel, it’s an experience. For reservations call (310) 458-6700.
Visit The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel website - http://www.santamonicaloewshotel.com/
To read my review of Ocean and Vine click here