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The Georgian: Art Deco Design On Santa Monica's Seafront

Since re-launching in 2023, The Georgian has quickly become one of LA’s hottest hotels, with gorgeous Art Deco design and a plum position right on Santa Monica’s beachfront.

The Georgian is one of LA’s oldest hotels, having opened back in 1933 when it was known as the First Lady of Santa Monica. A renowned hangout for Hollywood stars back in the day, the hotel has recently been reborn and restored to its former glory thanks to an extensive refurbishment from new owners BLVD Hospitality.

The Vibe

In an Art Deco turquoise tower on Ocean Drive, The Georgian sits opposite Santa Monica beach, topped with a golden roof and brass decorative panels that run up the centre of the building. Inside, the glamorous Art Deco period feel is fully embraced by designers Fettle, with brightly-coloured sofas, plush-yellow velvet curtains, arched ceilings, patterned tiles, and even a large lamp shaded with flamingo feathers. Bell boys are decked out in classic pastel blue uniforms complete with the classic cap, and even the reception desk sports bright red pigeonhole shelves and a stack of vintage leather suitcases. If you’re thinking that all this sounds – and looks – very Accidentally Wes Anderson then you’d be right; the hotel features in the Instagram channel’s coffee table book.

The Rooms

The hotel has 56 rooms and 28 suites across eight floors, with their size and view being the main differentiators. In style, all the rooms continue the same Art Deco-chic as the rest of the hotel, with large scallop shell headboards above the beds, vintage light fixtures, brightly-tiled bathrooms, analogue clocks – and even the original oversized peep holes in the doors. You’ll pay a little more to upgrade a city view to an ocean view (surely worth it for full-time city dwellers) and it’s an even bigger splurge for one of the suites. The suites, such as the First Lady, feature large separate living rooms with artfully-placed coffee table books, a record player and stack of vinyl, a mini bar with cocktail-making kit and recipes, and a glimmering golden “press for….” button that can summon everything from champagne to dessert.

The Food + Drink

The Georgian owes its historical star-studded reputation in large part to its basement speakeasy, the Red Griffin, which was renowned for late-night parties and favoured by the stars for its secretive location away from prying eyes. Having been lost in the intervening decades when the hotel fell into disrepair, it’s now been bought back to life as The Georgian Room, with the design following as close to the 30s original as possible. It’s a sexy, subterranean hangout with moody low lighting, comfy banquettes, white tablecloths, and late-night live music on weekends. The menu, designed by chef David Almany, offers simple, classic dishes like rigatoni with vodka tomato sauce or steaks fresh from the grill. 

For all-day dining, the hotel also offers a covered terrace restaurant on the ground floor, offering breakfast burritos and bagels for brunch, and Italian-inspired plates, salads and pastas for lunch and dinner. And, just inside the entrance, you’ll find a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar decorated with bright blue tiles and tall globe lights, serving 30s-style classic cocktails like the 1933 Old Fashioned and The Red Griffin – sloe gin, thyme, amaro montenegro, gentian, and vermouth.

The Little Extras

The Georgian is a hotel full of neat touches; the minute you first walk through the door with your bags, you’ll be offered a glass of champagne before they even ask for your passports. There’s also vintage photos and an old rotary phone that plays stories and recordings from the hotel’s past when you pick it up, for an extra dose of nostalgic scene-setting. Staff can help you make the most of its beachside location by setting up chairs, sun umbrellas and towels for the day. Or, if you want to get out on the ocean in style, charter the Italian-designed Riva yacht, complete with a captain, crew, and chilled champagne.

The To-Do List

Lazy days on the beach are a strong lure but there’s lots to explore in Santa Monica and neighbouring Venice. The iconic Santa Monica Pier with Ferris wheel, rollercoasters, aquarium and other amusements is a short walk along the beach. Behind the hotel, there’s lots of shops and restaurants within easy walking distance (a welcome change in LA) plus a farmers’ market on Wednesdays and Sundays. Jog, cycle, or e-scooter along the beach boardwalk and you’ll soon get to Venice; it’s well worth a stroll and a fantasy house hunt along the Venice canals which give the area its name – stop at must visit bakery-deli, Gjustia and sister restaurant, Gjelina. All of LA unfolds behind you of course, but the relaxed beachside vibe of Santa Monica may well tempt you to stay put. 

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