Hotel at a Glance: The Georgian Hotel
The 4-star Georgian Hotel has been dubbed the "First Lady of the Santa Monica Skyline" and for good reason. With a sky-blue art-deco facade, the 80-year-old structure stands out, epitomizing the Old Hollywood glamour that's characteristic of southern California in the 1920s and '30s. The on-site speakeasy once drew crowds that included acting couple Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, as well as mobster Al Capone.
- Opened in 1933
- Location, location: The hotel is just steps from the ocean and Santa Monica Pier
- Luxury accommodations: Guest rooms charm with handsome, art-deco fixtures, while an ocean-view or signature suite comes with two LCD TVs and separate living areas connected via French doors.
- Grab a bite at the on-site Veranda Restaurant, known for its California-Mediterranean fusion fare; after nightfall, the eatery turns into a breezy lounge
- Signature drink: A specialty martini called the Georgini
- Old-school amenities: Evening turn-down services, overnight shoe-shine, and laundry services are available for an extra fee
- Shop til you drop at the Third Street Promenade, an outdoor pedestrian-friendly mall that's home to retailers such as Madewell and Banana Republic
Santa Monica, California: Sunny Beach Town with Famous Pier
The cross-country highway Route 66 ends in Santa Monica, a quintessentially Californian beach town 15 miles west of Los Angeles. This sunny town is most famous for its namesake pier, which juts into the Pacific Ocean and hums with lively amusement park attractions, including a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, and a carousel from the 1920s. From the pier, you can rent a beach cruiser at a nearby bicycle livery and hop on the 26-Mile Bike Path, which runs parallel to the ocean for the first three miles.
Downtown, the palm-tree-lined outdoor pedestrian mall called Third Street Promenade is home to retailers such as Burberry, Kate Spade, and Madewell. This colorful stretch of shops is interspersed with at least 20 movie theaters and playhouses. Around the corner, you'll find independent boutiques, cafes, bakeries, and more along Montana Avenue.