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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

places review: shutters on the beach

Here is how the conversation went: 
Me: Honey, for our anniversary I thought we could do something romantic. You know, maybe sandy beaches, our own jetted tub, one of those hotels with the perfect bed that you want to stay in all day.
L. (husband): Book it. 
Me: We've never been to California before so maybe someplace completely different from Connecticut with palm trees, sunshine, a great pool, room service. We could sleep in, have lazy mornings sipping coffee on our balcony looking out at the ocean.
L: Done. Book it.
Me: Yeah, you sure? OK.
This is what I love about L. He trusts me with the big decisions like where to go on vacation. Or maybe he just heard the words us + jetted tub + great bed + room service and he was all in. I remembered that friends of ours raved about their wedding at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. They talked about the romance of the luxurious bed, the candlelight that bathed the hotel in a luminescent glow at night and the way they woke up happy looking out at the ocean. We were in.
On first glance, the hotel reminded us of our favorite classic grey and white shingled hotels on Martha's Vineyard. The experience begins when you arrive at the hotel, the small driveway is sweet with flower-covered trellises and seagrass, attentive valets and a front entrance that is at once sublime and classic. The feel is that you have arrived for a weekend at a friend's beach house (the friend who inherited well from daddy and who has very good taste.) This is one of our favorite things about Shutters on the Beach. Even with 198 guest rooms and suites, the hotel doesn't have the feel of a bustling resort. The lobby is low-key with two large  fireplaces and cozy couches that are wonderful for the occasional drizzly morning. 

Staying in a guest room at Shutters on the Beach again feels like you are staying in the well appointed guest room of a friend. The off-white, yellow and blue accented room is well thought out with a plush bed, perfect firm pillows that cradle your head, a comfortable lounge chair or sofa and a desk area. The bathroom is well lit with hardwood floors, a whirlpool tub, a 15" LCD television and a fully equipped "Bath and Beach Chest" with an innovative selection of travel must-haves as well as shutters that open from the bath to the view outdoors. Want romance? Think bubbles together with candles circling the tub while watching the waves rolling in at sunset.

Shutter on the Beach opened in 1993, and in 2005, Michael Smith took over the design of the hotel adding remote control 42-inch flat screen LCD televisions, an in-room inspiration reading library along with a selection of CD’s and DVD’s,  in-room safes, in-room Keurig coffee service, luxurious bath products, Shutter’s signature whale, lush linens and robes, Wi-Fi high speed internet access,and two-line cordless telephones with data port.  

We spent several incredible afternoons lazing by the pool, riding bikes along the boardwalk just outside the hotel and swimming in the ocean, watching dolphins swimming just offshore. There were the mornings dappled in sunshine as we enjoyed lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh berries enjoyed outside on the patio at Coast, the fish taco platter after an energetic swim and the Cucumber Splash Cocktail with Maine Lobster Fettucine at One Pico before we strolled hand in hand on a moonlit walk before falling into our luxurious bed. 
It was the ideal romantic vacation and almost impossible to leave. Soon after this trip we moved to Seattle and since then we’ve taken several trips back to our favorite hotel in Santa Monica. Since I travel often for work, when I want the beach experience I stay at Shutters on the Beach and I recommend the hotel for business travel as well. My car is always brought quickly, the Wi-Fi works well and when I’m working late, the room service is always prompt and just as good as the restaurants. The Spa, One, also offers massages that transport you. All those business negotiations that stressed your neck? Gone. The health club also offers TechnoGym equipment including the Arc Trainer, Precor EFX and unisex steam and dry saunas. 

If a beach getaway is what you need and you don't happen to have a friend with a luxurious beach house, visit Shutters on the Beach. We actually loved our Shutters experience so much that we bought the bed linens in the gift shop and installed white plantation shutters in our bedroom to recreate our romantic holiday!


  • Are you a beach family?  Visit the Beach Activities Center where you can rent a bicycle and a beach pack that includes a beach chair, umbrella, kits and suntan lotion. 
  • Room #306 is wonderful!
  • Want a scent to remember Shutters by? You can purchase Kai (my favorite scent-- a beachy gardenia perfume) in the gift shop.
  • When reserving a cabana by the pool ask for canaba #6. It is furthest from the main entrance of the pool and secluded.
To book your Shutters on the Beach vacation call 310 458 0030 or visit their website

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