700 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
We heard rumors of designer Kelly Wearstler’s lofty goals for the interiors of the Santa Monica Proper, the new hotel from her and Proper Hospitality, the hotel brand led by Wearstler's developer husband Brad Korzen and his founding partners. But nothing hinted at how stunning it would be. Wearstler has designed a breezy, maritime-inspired space that transports you to a seaside villa the moment you walk in. She outfitted the lobby with elements that speak to the coast (a carved front desk that echoes the shape of a seashell, art backed with sand, flooring that gives a bird’s-eye view of a beach umbrella) and married those with bold, eclectic accents (giant archways in Douglas fir and marble and gorgeous ’70s art) that only Wearstler could pull off. The greatest feat here is the synergy between the hotel's two buildings: One is brand-new and sculptural; the other dates back to the 1920s and boasts a vintage patina with gorgeous original iron-clad windows. The aesthetic of the guest rooms varies depending on the building but are all anchored by gorgeous elements—glossy tiles, giant tufted headboards that look like the sunset, bespoke…
1934 14th St., Santa Monica
If you didn’t know it was there (right off Pico), you could entirely miss Altus. It’s less a gym and more a healthy-lifestyle community hub that comes with trainers, chiropractors, alignment experts, massage therapists, and more. They take it seriously: Altus requires a membership, so you need to commit. Once you’re signed up, expect a full-body assessment followed by a thorough exploration of your goals and how to achieve them. Far from being terrifying, Altus adopts more of an old-school, hand-holding approach. They don’t want long-term members: Once you’ve gotten to where you personally want to be health-wise, you’re set free.
Breedlove Beauty Lab
1728 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
Infrared saunas are an incredible way to get a great sweat. At Breedlove Beauty Lab, each sauna is customizable, so you are in complete control of your experience. We love sweating it out in the Sunlighten 3-in-1 mPulse infrared saunas, and Breedlove has three of these. There is also chromotherapy—or light therapy—which draws on the hypothesis that color affects how we feel. Before you leave, check out the bright and airy apothecary—it stocks plenty of aromatherapy, beauty, and wellness products.
1030C Montana Ave., Santa Monica
This is a one-stop shop for healing—whether you are in the market for Reiki, craniosacral bodywork, or even just taking a group napping class. Amanda, co-founder and Reiki Master will meet you where you are in journey of self-exploration. Jenny is an amazing bodywork practitioner focusing on craniosacral therapy. And, it’s never too early to learn to take care of yourself—Cocoon has Body Care for Newborns class as well Self Care for Girls (so your daughter can come). Nourish your soul, evolve and transform in this beautiful environment.
1445 4th St., Santa Monica
It’s billed as a cross between France, Italy, and Morocco, which, granted, is hard to envision. Until you get there. It’s the only place we’ve ever seen bucatini amatriciana on a menu alongside ratatouille with Provençal roasted vegetables, which is next to baba ghanoush with pita and pomegranate. But somehow, impossibly, it all works. Exposed-brick walls, bistro tables, a lively atmosphere, and really flattering lighting obviously don’t hurt. But for the times that you just can’t stomach another avocado toast in this neighborhood, Massilia is just the place.
2421 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica
Say the name Jeremy Fox and we're there. This brilliant chef, author, and vegetable whisperer has been winning the hearts and palates of goop staffers, Angelenos, and tourists for more than a decade with his inventive, mostly-plant-based dishes at Rustic Canyon. Fox is known for hyperlocal and inventive food. But there's a bit of nostalgia to his cooking, which is what you get at his latest venture, Birdie G's. Named after his daughter (Birdie) and grandmother (Gladys), Birdie G's harks back to Fox's roots with a menu that nods to his heritage (comforting matzo ball soup, noodle kugel, artisan matzo with cultured butter) and to his home state (wood-grilled chicken from a local California ranch, Pacific sand dabs piccata). And because Birdie G's is expansive and light-filled with a stylish bar, it's a spot to come for drinks, dinner, or all of the above.
Hotel Casa del Mar
1910 Ocean Wy., Santa Monica
If your kids are on the older side and can entertain themselves, the cocoon-like spa at Casa del Mar is tough to beat (the Soothing Waves at Sea treatment uses lavender from Malibu and warm rose stones), and the candlelit terrace is especially mesmerizing for evening drinks. Guest rooms have a similar vibe to Shutters in that they’re light-soaked and stay-forever comfortable with massive beds and bathrooms the size of bungalows. The hotel started as a palatial beach club back in the roaring ’20s, and there’s an old-world LA charm to the place that makes you want to drink champagne, dress for dinner, and pretend it’s 1929 again.
2424 Main St., Santa Monica
Little Prince started as a pop-up brunch spot in Santa Monica that—thanks to its immense popularity—is now a full-fledged permanent restaurant in an airy space with ceiling fans and beautifully rustic wood furniture. The recent expansion is no surprise, given that its chef is Ari Taymor, who formerly helmed the widely acclaimed downtown hotspot, Alma (which closed in 2015). At Little Prince, Taymor partners with Southern California farms (Flora Bella, JJ Lone Daughter Ranch) which provides the restaurant with high quality produce including squash, arugula, citrus, and avocado. Although brunch is still our favorite time to visit, dinner is just as good, especially the (gluten-free) smoked black cod with beets, sunflower, and fermented apple, and the pumpkin, persimmon, and burrata with grilled bread.
The Westside and Everafter
256 26th St., Santa Monica
The Westside is proof positive that retailing duo Haro and Sari Sloane Keledjian know a thing or two about creating a store that women want to shop in. After selling the Intermix brand to the Gap back in 2013, they’ve dreamt up a new shopping concept that speaks to busy moms on the go. They’ve opened a series of boutiques, the Westside (for stylish moms) and Everafter (a children’s boutique) side byside in Tribeca, on the Upper East Side, and in Manhasset on Long Island. Their arrival in Brentwood should come as no surprise, located just across the street from the highly-trafficked Brentwood Country Mart. The mix for women is solid—denim by Re/Done, cashmere by Lingua Franca, and easy dresses by LoveShackFancy. Next door, there’s tons for your mini-me: Aviator Nation sweats, Zimmerman separates, and lots of great gifts like pool floats from Sunnylife and furry friends from Jellycat. Photos courtesy of Katie Gibbs.
Élephante Beach House
1332 2nd St., Santa Monica
In a rooftop space smack-dab in the center of downtown Santa Monica, Élephante is a breath of fresh air—quite literally, you can feel the ocean breeze from your perch on the terrace. It’s run by Nick Mathers, the force behind West Hollywood spots Eveleigh and Goldie’s, which is to say he knows a thing or two about drawing a crowd. It’s the kind of place you’ll come for cocktails but want to stay for dinner—the food, largely coastal Italian, is really good. In fact, the entire space is a love song to Pantelleria, an island that sits between the coast of Italy and Tunisia, where Mathers visited on a research trip to Southern Italy. Here, every design detail is considered: a Brazilian Tiger-wood deck, soapstone-topped bars, Moroccan rugs, plus lots of Buhera baskets brought in from Zimbabwe. Menu standouts include the whipped eggplant and tuna crudo to start, Tuscan kale salad, and the wood-fired Soppressata pizza, which is great to share with a group. If you really feel like going for it, there’s a whole lobster on offer, too. Be sure to grab a table on Resy before you…
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