Situated on the Santa Monica Bay, SaMo was first inhabited by the Tongva tribe, although it was then known as Kecheek in their native tongue. The first non-indigenous explorers in the area came in 1769. Santa Monica itself takes its name from Saint Monica, but there are different versions to the story. One version says that the area was first explored on her feast day, while another claims the local springs reminded explorers of Saint Monica's tears.
By the 20th century, Santa Monica's population was booming, and the completion of the Santa Monica Freeway in 1966 only brought in an even bigger influx of people.
Today, Santa Monica offers three main shopping districts, a Downtown District, Palisades Park, the iconic Santa Monica Pier, and a number of other attractions. The city is also a mecca for skateboarders. Whatever your reason for visiting Santa Monica, it's important that you find the ideal hotel that allows you to enjoy everything the West Coast has to offer.
When to Visit Santa Monica, CA
Thanks to the region's gorgeous weather, Santa Monica is a popular tourist destination year-round. Its Southern California location and moderate climate tend to keep hotel rates fairly steady, though you can find reduced rates from October to February. Winter and early spring come with the lowest hotel rates, and you'll also find fewer crowds and much less traffic. When you can work on your tan on the beach in January, why not take advantage of the off-season?
Peak tourist season in Santa Monica is during spring break and summer. You'll find increased hotel rates and bigger crowds throughout the summer, although June is the exception due to the “June gloom.” This is a Southern California expression for a weather phenomenon that creates cloudy, overcast skies and cool temperatures. If you don't mind a little ill weather, you can certainly take advantage of the June gloom to avoid the tourists.
Early fall is a good time to visit because hotel prices start to drop. Crowds have tapered off somewhat by this time, but you'll still enjoy consistent 80-degree temperatures.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Santa Monica, CA:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs displaying average nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Santa Monica, CA. Analyze these illustrations to evaluate the best dates to book in Santa Monica for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Santa Monica, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $253.61
If you're looking for an upscale hotel in Santa Monica, there are several unique choices from which you can choose.
Shutters on the Beach is an impressive five-star oceanfront property offering three on-site dining options, an outdoor pool, spa, and beachy ambiance. Guests can enjoy cottage-style rooms, each uniquely furnished with homey touches. If you're really looking to splurge, opt for the Beach House Suite, which is a secluded, spacious suite located on the property's highest floor. With over 1,350 square feet of living space, you'll feel right at home.
The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey is a sophisticated accommodation boasting tennis courts, Los Angeles' only waterfront pool and whirlpool, and a contemporary farm-to-table restaurant. Perched on the marina, this five-star hotel offers skyline or water views, a state-of-the-art fitness center, eucalyptus steam rooms, and a club lounge. Guest rooms feature high-speed Internet access, twice-daily housekeeping and turndown service, terry cloth bathrobes, overnight shoeshine service, designer bathroom amenities, 49-inch flat-screen TVs, an in-room safe, goose-down comforters, Egyptian cotton linens, and on-demand movies.
A 1920s-era oceanfront retreat, Casa del Mar in Santa Monica offers an on-site sea wellness spa, fitness facility, waterfront lounge, seafood restaurant, and gorgeous event spaces. Rooms are uniquely decorated but feature the likes of four-poster beds, hydrothermal massage tubs, marble bathrooms, high ceilings, coastal-colored textiles, white-and-blue Chinese porcelain decorations, personal patios, and ocean views. Opt for the Penthouse or Presidential Suite to enjoy the best amenities (and views) in the house.
Affordable Hotel Options in Santa Monica, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $192.10
Finding an affordable hotel in Santa Monica is easy if you're willing to look inland. Pavilions Motel on Ocean Park Boulevard is a straightforward budget motel offering simple rooms, on-site parking, and free Wi-Fi. The unassuming one-star property is located in a residential area less than seven miles from the Los Angeles International Airport, offering you an affordable home base for exploring the city.
Palm Motel on 14th Street is a Greek-style accommodation offering free morning coffee and cookies, Wi-Fi, and simple guest rooms. Pets are also welcome, although a cleaning fee is required. One of Palm Motel's biggest draws is its close proximity to The Getty Center, Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Hollywood.
A two-star accommodation on 32nd Street, Ocean Park Hotel offers modern rooms with communal bathrooms, giving you more of a hostel-type experience with a private room. Guest rooms feature flat-screen TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, and either two twin- or one queen-size bed. Coin-operated laundry machines are available, and you can enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
Super 8 Los Angeles – Culver City Area is a little further out, but this two-star lodging offers budget-friendly rates, free Internet access, breakfast, and on-site parking. The motel's location provides easy access to the Pacific Coast Highway, Interstate 405, Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Universal Studios.