Hotel Casa del Mar
Unlike its sister property, Shutters on the Beach—which feels more like Cape Cod than SoCal—Casa del Mar’s opulent, Mediterranean design feels right at home on the Santa Monica shore. The focal point here is the Spanish-tiled, ironwork-decorated lobby, where on any given afternoon you’ll find business types strategizing over mojitos, couples flirting by the fireplace, and guests unwinding after a day of sun and surf (the fifth-floor pool boasts a classy Italian granite deck, and the hotel’s toes are planted in the sand of Santa Monica Beach). The 129 rooms, done up in muted blues and beiges, have hand-painted armoires, plush beds with walnut headboards, and bathrooms sheathed in marble. If you’re not quite feeling beach-ready, hit the hotel spa for a "shimmer and shine" exfoliation before heading to the beach in your teeny-weeny bikini.