Fall Fun, Luxury
and Delicacy In Santa Monica
Story and photographs by Greg Aragon
f I had to create a list of my top 10 favorite Southern California beach
Monica would definitely be on it. This eclectic gem is hard to overrate.
With incredible restaurants and spas, wonderful hotels, an historic
pier and lots of white sand, it is no wonder the city is famous around
Another reason I like it is because I can drive there
in about an hour from my house and feel like Im in a far away
A friend and I began a recent weekend getaway to the
city at the luxurious Shore Hotel, a modern boutique hideaway, located
across the street from the ocean. Boasting great amenities and a perfect
location, the property sits on one of the hippest streets in Los Angeles
and is walking distance to everything a visitor could want.
The Shore Hotel is a modern boutique hideaway,
located across the street from the ocean
After checking into the 164-room hotel, we made our
way to a chic, 2nd floor suite, which was highlighted by a balcony overlooking
the resort pool, the ocean and Santa Monica Pier. The room also boasted
a large flat screen TV, wireless Internet, big king bed, with 100% pure
Egyptian cotton sheets, and a very unique glass enclosed shower that
allows bathers to watch TV or look outside while getting clean.
Rooms at Shore are chic, sustainable and unique
Like all Shore rooms, ours featured lighting, temperature
and other controls that are automatically adjusted as visitors leave
and enter the room, using the room key, which doubles as a personally
programmed RFID (radio frequency identification).
Beyond the rooms, the hotel boasts a heated pool and
Jacuzzi in a beautiful open air atrium, with plants, trees, fire and
water features all of which face the pier and busy Ocean Blvd.
Next to this Zen Garden is the hotels signature restaurant Blue
Plate Taco, where we enjoyed a tasty outdoor dining experience.
Offering still more ocean views, Blue Plate Taco is
a healthy, authentic update to the classic taco stand and gets its inspiration
from the fresh, coastal cuisine found in seaside towns throughout Mexico.
The food is created in a large open kitchen and is highlighted by an
exciting variety of tacos, ceviches, grilled seafood and meats, salads,
soups and inventive salsas.
The Lobster dinner at Blue Plate Taco is mucho tender
Our meal began on the patio, with Mexican beers, fresh
guacamole and chips. We then shared a tasty beet salad, while watching
the giant, lighted Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier spin in the
night. For the main course we devoured Blue Plates special lobster
Beautifully presented on a large, colorful plate, the
lobster arrived in a shell, with corn salsa, creamy garlic sauce and
homemade flour tortillas. The lobster meat was abundant, mucho
tender and cooked perfectly. After the shellfish, we toasted dinner
with a couple shots of premium tequila from the restaurants bar.
The next morning I joined a friend for breakfast at
The Ivy. Located steps from Shore Hotel, The Ivy serves up classic American,
Italian and regional dishes in a romantic atmosphere, with patio and
terrace dining. For breakfast I had coffee and a delicious plate of
Juevos Rancheros, with eggs, corn tortillas, black beans and salsa.
Located steps from Shore Hotel, The Ivy serves up
such as Juevos Rancheros
After breakfast I discovered Tikkun Holistic Spa. Located
a few blocks from the hotel, Tikkun Spa is a wellness sanctuary designed
to heal and rejuvenate the mind and body. It boasts 6,500 sq-ft of health-enhancing
of co-ed far-infrared heat therapy rooms, each lined with different
minerals with health giving properties.
My visit began with a memorable Tikkun Signature Full
Body Treatment. Unlike any spa treatment Ive had, this exotic
journey started in a private room, with a relaxing soak in a stone tub.
This was followed by a unique Korean Body Scrub. Performed by a skilled
masseuse with a pair of traditional Korean scrubbing mitts, this procedure
invigorated and exfoliated my body from head to toe. During the scrub,
I felt like a sports car getting a fine detailing.
The Signature Full Body Treatment at Tikkun Spa
is a memorable, exotic journey
The treatment ended with an awesome, 15-minute hot oil
rub and a soothing warm milk rinse that turned my body a silky-smooth,
After the Korean Body Scrub, I tried a series of soothing
rooms, including the far-infrared heated jade room, a clay room, a Himalayan
salt cave, a green tea Jacuzzi, a eucalyptus steam room, and an ice
room. Other treatments include therapeutic massage, body wraps, acupuncture,
skin-care services such as hydrafacials with diamond microdermabrasion,
From Tikkun, I met a friend for dinner at Sushi Roku
on Ocean Blvd. Using fresh fish from around the globe, Sushi Roku is
a pioneer of contemporary sushi and a must-dine restaurant
in Santa Monica.
Our meal began with a tasty seaweed salad with cucumber
sunomono, along with a bowl of miso soup. Next we tried a delicious
tuna flight, with three styles of Nigiri sushi, served with fresh wasabi
root and homemade soy sauce. We then sample seared albacore sashimi
with crispy onions and garlic ponzu, followed by one of my new favorites:
Toro sashimi, which is tuna belly. We then devoured a Katana Roll, with
spicy tuna, shrimp tempura and yellowtail tuna.
Sushi Roku is a pioneer of contemporary sushi and
a must-dine restaurant
in Santa Monica
We concluded dinner with mackerel sashimi and the Roku
Signature Style Sushi in which the master sushi chef created for us
on the spot a scrumptious 8-piece fish sample plate.
Santa Monica is an eclectic gem of a beach city
Tikkun Spa is located at 1460 4th Street, Santa Monica,
90401. For more information, call (310) 319-1111 or visit www.tikkunspa.com.
Sushi Roku is located at 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 90401. For more
information call (310) 458-4771 or visit: www.innovativedining.com/restaurants/sushiroku.
The Shore Hotel is located at 1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa
Monica, 90401. For more information, visit: www.shorehotel.com
or call 310.458.1515. For more information on Blue Plate Taco, call
310.458.2985 or visit the hotel website.
Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica; 4
Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village; Laguna
Grand del Mar; Ojai,
County Oceanfront, San
Luis Obispo, Hotel