There’s something about the term “Green Travel” that always sounded crunchy… a bit boho, a little hippie-esque, a tad too “hug-a-tree.”
Full disclosure moment: Nothing turns me on more than a man wearing a Concierge key. I’m partial to 5 diamonds over 5 stars and, I admit, I’m more “glamp-er” than camper. For the uninitiated: glamping = great outdoors + uber lavish amenities. But after visiting Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, I’m willing to permanently erase my well-pedicured, size-10 carbon footprint.
Shore Hotel is the “bright and shiny” nestled among Santa Monica’s retro marquis names: Art Deco’s glorious Georgian and Shangri-La, mid-century’s nostalgic Viceroy and Renaissance Revival’s Casa Del Mar.
Where the others pay homage to era’s past, Shore is firmly entrenched in the eco present. The U-shaped hotel, which frames an outdoor pool, is all sharp lines, warm woods and clean glass. And, with a well-intentioned nod to the beachy surroundings, it’s also the “wave” of the future: a place where luxury meets sustainability without compromising comfort. Oh and did I mention the kick-ass view of the ocean? Consider it mentioned.
Shore Hotel has some pretty impressive credentials. The 4 Diamond property is the first newly built Gold LEED certified hotel in Santa Monica. For those of you who want some cocktail party conversation starters: LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Think Energy Oscars.
The owners made it pretty clear the hotel had to run as much as possible on locally procured and recyclable product… 50% of Shore is built from material salvaged from the wrecking ball of the site’s original buildings: Travelodge and Pacific Sands Motel.
Add to that native landscaping, a solar heated pool, high efficiency toilets and low –flow showerheads and you, my friends, have entered the ECO-ZONE.
Now for the luxury.
There are 164 rooms, including 20 suites… most ocean-facing,. All have private balconies and are dressed up in tropical orange and turquoise. Teak wood furnishings add to the light, bright décor. Now onto the bathrooms . Some of those showers have ocean views and… drumroll… they’re built for two. Hello Honeymooners.
Continuing on our Luxury Tour: Sheets are 100% Egyptian cotton. Bath products are sourced through Aveda and sidebar, whatever you don’t use goes to a worthy cause. Shore has partnered with Clean the World Foundation, an organization that recycles soap to countries in need of hygiene products. There’s no in-house restaurant but this is Santa Monica… a foodie’s paradise, and Shore makes it as convenient as possible: they offer in-room delivery services from trendy Boa Steakhouse and Sushi Roku among others.
Now for the high tech part
Upon check in, you get an RFID, radio frequency Identification card that allows you to personally program your in-room lighting and temperature quirks.
Another cool feature: Shore subscribes to Zinger, the “one-touch” valet app. No more fishing for those tickets that disappear more often than stray socks on laundry day. Use your smart phone to let the parking attendant know when you want your car.
Lets all say it together HOW COOL IS THAT?
Not as cool as the free wi-fi in common areas and guest rooms. I’ve spent as much as $19 dollars, per device, (!) per night (!) at midtown Manhattan hotels. Let’s just say I could have spend the $57 dollars a night on pizza.
For me, the gift shop aka The Beach Vault, is the real find. In keeping with the locally procured theme, most items are from Santa Monica artists. Paintings and sculptures, hand made jewelry and one of a kind clothing items all designed by local creatives. You won’t find any “all I got was this lousy” T-shirts, what you will find are unique pieces (one canvas selling for as much as $2,000) Shore’s has a variety of special packages but the most popular are 3 Wellness Suite packages (in partnership with M.A.K.E. raw food restaurant, PALETA organic food delivery and TIKKUN SPA); Car Free package (includes dinner within walking distance at THE LOBSTER and a bike tour of the ‘hood) and Girlfriend’s Getaway (mini-facials and a Malibu wine tour).
But seriously, the hotel encourages you to design your own and in a city with access to just about everything, the skies the limit. Room rates vary so check the website. During the holidays the Shore will extend an “Extra Bedroom” rate for Santa Monica locals.
There’s also a little added incentive if you opt out of daily housekeeping, money back via their “Green Clean” refund. Use those savings for an extra ride on the Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris Wheel at sunset….Priceless.
Guest contributor Suzanne Stevens is a writer/director for OMG Insider and long time USC Trojan booster who helps rescue and foster small breed dogs with the Furry Angel Foundation. You can holla on Twitter.
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