and History At
Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Story and photos by Greg Aragon
he Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is kind of like two charming
hotels in one. At times it is a modern and classy beach-front resort.
And other times it can be an elegant and secluded retreat, sheltered
by gardens, a 90-yr-old tower, and a giant 130-yr-old fig tree. I guess
it depends on your mood, but however you look at it, the hotel makes
a memorable getaway and is one of my Southern California favorites.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is pure
My recent trip to the Fairmont began when a friend and
I pulled into a hidden, hedge-lined driveway across the street from
Monica Pier. We then parked beneath the giant fig tree, handed the
car keys to the valet and stepped into seaside luxury.
As we strolled through the palatial lobby, I sensed
the history and appeal of the place. I could see why the Fairmont has
been a happening hideaway for Hollywood hipsters and guests since 1921.
As we made our way to our private bungalow, we passed lush green lawns
and vegetation, a jungle of palm trees, and a stone pond and waterfall,
surrounding the property's gated pool area.
The historic bungalows at the Fairmont are secluded
At our room we found serenity and more luxury. Tucked
in a corner of the grounds, in the Miramar Gardens, the roughly 400
sq-ft Signature Bungalow featured a comfy king bed, humungous Flat screen
TV, office desk with Internet, espresso machine, mini-bar, and spacious
bathroom with extra-deep soaking tub. The room also boasted a peaceful
patio, overlooking the pool and gardens.
After lounging in the bungalow, we headed to the pool
area for a swim and some sun. While sipping iced tea and relaxing on
a cozy recliner beneath swaying palms, I read about the 300-room Miramars
The hotel was built as a private mansion in 1921
Built in 1921 as a private mansion by John P. Jones,
a former U.S. Senator and founder of Santa Monica, the Fairmont Miramar
quickly became a celebrity hangout, where the well-to-do could escape
crowds and be pampered by the ocean. In 1924 the six-story Palisades
Wing was built to provide apartments for extended-stay guests, such
as actress Greta Garbo, who lived here for four years.
In the 1930s, private bungalows were constructed and
actresses such as Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe, and public figures
like Eleanor Roosevelt and aviator Charles Lindbergh became regulars.
Today, the Palisades Wing is still around, and the 32 poolside bungalows
have been restored to former grandeur and are separated from the two
main hotel buildings by gardens, ponds and fountains.
The giant, 130-yr-old fig tree is a Fairmont Miramar
Another hotel landmark still standing is the magnificent
80-ft-tall fig tree that welcomes guests at the main entry. Planted
more than 130 years ago, the tree is the second largest of its kind
in California. The tree is so beloved that hotels signature eatery
was named FIG
Utilizing fresh, local and organically grown ingredients
straight from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, FIG features an
intimate private dining room and a bar area for casual dining.
Our meal at Fig began with a delicious albacore tuna
crudo appetizer, with ginger slaw, corn crisps and aji amarillo. For
a main course I had a tasty curry-flavored plate of seared eastern scallops
with spiced cauliflower, melted apples and fennel. My friend went with
the succulent bone-in 18 oz ribeye steak, with spicy butternut squash
and salsa verde. For dessert we split a divine chocolate fudge cake.
The hotel's signature Fig Restaurant renown for
great steaks, seafood and fresh local ingredients
After dinner, we walked across the street to the beach
and strolled along the sand toward the lights of Santa Monica Pier's
iconic Ferris wheel. In the morning, we enjoyed a great breakfast at
the Lobby Lounge, overlooking the waterfall and a Koi fishpond.
The hotel is located across the street from the
world famous Santa Monica Pier
The Fairmont Miramar also boasts a state-of-the art
fitness center; a clothing and gift shop; a tiny, tasty chocolate store;
a barber shop; and Exhale, a full-service spa with therapy services
and fitness programs, mind and body classes, yoga, steam room, sauna,
lockers and showers.
The Fairmont also boasts a tiny chocolate shop
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is located
at 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 90401. For more info and reservations,
call (310) 576-7777 or visit: http://www.fairmont.com/santamonica/
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