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Blending East Coast Cape core with California cool – Shutters on the Beach is the perfect marriage.

Shutters on the Beach or ‘Shutters’ as coined by its nearest and dearest marries the elegance and charm of an East Coast beach house with the laid back energy of its West Coast surroundings. A perfect blend of interiors that wouldn’t look out of place on the Cape with a view that takes in the Santa Monica pier and beyond, a stunning contrast of old meets new.  

Setting the scene

Beginning a trip up the Californian coastline, the iconic Shutters Hotel – named on account of its multitude of rooms boasting white wooden shutter doors that open onto sun drenched balconies with views of the ocean – seemed like the perfect starting point. Having had it saved on my ‘one day I will stay here’ list for a number of years, I was beside myself to see if she was as beautiful in the flesh as the many influencers and socialites depicted her across social media.

Pulling into the valet of the hotel, eyes already on stalks at glimpses of the iconic white woodwork and the blue ocean beyond, I felt as if I were entering another world, one of luxury, slow paced living and five star hospitality. Having spent the previous night in a very cool yet incredibly urban (think blocks of raw concrete in the middle of bedroom) hotel in downtown LA, this was the exact contrast I needed. Scooting around important media types who were taking important phone calls on the terrace, I entered into the lobby of the hotel, this couldn’t be further from the brash brutalism of the night before. Dark wood floors draped in exquisite rugs, roaring fires, sofas that invite you to fall into them and wood paneling and low lighting that created an ambience of being in your friend’s (albeit a very wealthy one) living room, which I later found out is what the hotel refers to the lobby as given its relaxed nature and palpable warmth.

The room

I mosied my way through the lobby, people watching on route, finding my way to my room, a further extension of the aforementioned friends’ Cape Cod home. Curated books and artwork line the shelves, accents of blue to mirror the ocean a mere few meters away bring the outside in, hardwood floors adorned with Tibetan rugs, soft billowy comforters placed on top of luxurious linen sheets create an extra layer of cosines. Well thought out details such as an elevated mini bar and a couples kit show why this hotel is considered one of the best in the area. 

A huge bathroom housing a whirlpool tub and flat screen TV sits beneath shutters opening into the room allowing for the most romantic of evenings and outdoor views. Touches such as Dyptique shower products mean you will smell as expensive as the hotel itself.

As eager as I was to jump on the enormous bed that needed a step ladder to go with it, I was even more eager to throw open the iconic white shutters open and see what lay beyond – as natural light flooded the room, the breeze of the Pacific whipped around me, I squealed at the miles of white sandy beach back dropped by the Santa Monica pier stretched out in front of me.

This is where things got tricky – with only 24 hours to take in this incredible place, how is one to choose between lounging at the roof top pool that boasts some of the most incredible views across Santa Monica beach, ambling up the Venice boardwalk, running straight into the ocean or sipping a cocktail at one of the hotels stunning bars. You need a good few days to drink this all up.

Opting for a walk along the beach to settle into our new surroundings, this is where the hotel came into its own. As I walked down to the soft white sand, waves crashing ahead, I turned to see where we had come from. The majesty of the hotel proudly opening itself up to the beach below genuinely took my breath away.

Bars & Restaurants

The hotel has three F&B offerings, 1 Pico the more formal of the family draws influences from Italian menus and is a seafood forward menu – perfect as the restaurant boasts even more views across the ocean. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is the place to head for some Coastal Californian dining at its finest.

Coast is the more laid back of the bunch, the perfect place to head for breakfast after a spot of morning yoga (more on that later) for great eggs and the most beautiful chia pudding I have ever seen. Outdoor seating is right on the boardwalk so prepare to watch the world go by as you sip your morning cup of Joe, we were even treated to some top notch busking on our visit. There is also a communal table inside, further cementing the laid back family dining vibe. 

Lastly, the Living Room, redefining hotel lobbies for its guests – a meeting place, a spot to have a cocktail or a coffee, somewhere to read in front of the fire or enjoy live music in the evening. Sipping a Pina Colada on the Living Room balcony, I was treated to one of the most epic sunsets as I have ever seen, as the sun slips behind the Santa Monica pier, the bar comes to life, cocktail shakers shake, guests congregate for supper, the energy is bustly yet refined, the perfect spot to start your evening – or any other part of the day for that matter. 

The pool

The pool at Shutters is nothing short of iconic. Sitting atop the roof terrace and stretching nearly the entire length of the hotel, it is flanked by cabanas and sun loungers alike, all boasting the striking white and blue colour palette like a precisely turned out army.  If you can get there early doors to secure a front row lounger with uninterrupted views of the beach below, even better but truth be told, there isn’t a bad spot here.

The beach

Santa Monica beach is known for surfing, volleyball and beautiful people. The beach concierge team is on hand to provide you with anything you might need, from parasols to bicycles. The hotel also offers beach fitness and yoga classes. Booking on to the latter the following morning as I really tried to lean into this California way of life, when my alarm rang bright and early, I was more than a little tempted to hit cancel and roll back into my memory foam supported slumber. However, a promise had been made and so I  heaved myself out of bed and onto the beach. Toes buried in the sand still cold from the night before, waves crashed, sun warmed my skin, occasional dogs ran past in a blur and surfers could be heard discussing whatever it is surfers discuss – it was truly a special moment, as the mist rolled in off the ocean and the rest of the world was near still, there was something ethereal about breathing in tandem with the ocean. I would urge anyone to do it. 

Surrounding area.

If you can drag yourself away from the hotel (near impossible but doable), walk up the boardwalk to Venice Beach which is a lovely way to spend a day. More people watching, lots of coffee sipping, oodles of shopping. A turn around the Venice canals and some serious properly lusting is an absolute must. Walk back down Abbot Kinney, a street full of independents and the chicest stores. From here we grabbed a cab back to the hotel but the walk is pleasant and takes about an hour. 

Of course, no stay here is complete without a turn around the pier – we found the best way to do it was tipsy from our cocktails, laughing our way across the beach and up on to the ferris wheel complete with candy corn and corn dog. Perfection.

I can happily confirm that Shutter’s is just as beautiful as I had been led to believe and what those little squares on instagram don’t depict is the level of service and hospitality of everyone that works here. You truly are made to feel like you are entering a home to share with the friendliest of families.

Find out more about Santa Monica.