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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica


When we decided to head to sunny LA, with just our eldest, we opted for a hotel since it would be a quick stay. But of course, where to start when choosing a property and location? Our criteria included:
  • Luxury: I like nice things and I cannot lie and that means I like staying at nice places. As American Express cardholders we are able to pick properties from their Fine Hotels & Resort program which include a vast selection of luxury properties almost anywhere in the world. 
  • Perks: While I like nice things, I don't like to have to pay the big bucks (but really who does?).  So part of the advantage of booking the Amex FHR's program are the benefits included. For our stay at The Fairmont Miramar daily breakfast for 2 included was included, a guaranteed late check out (so we booked a late flight out and got a full day in), a $100 resort credit (which we applied towards lunch) and a room upgrade (see more below).
  • Location: Travelling with our kids means we need a family friendly hotel in a location that has things of interest for our kids and ideally are easy to get to. Walking distance to the beach is a big plus! Plus the location in Santa Monica meant we were somewhat closer to the airport when we were battling LA traffic (which is a real thing folks!). 

So based on price, availability and above criteria, we opted for the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica. My thoughts? Read on...


Rooms

I'm starting off with the weakest link here. We had booked a deluxe double ocean view room and were upgraded to a Premier Ocean View Room in the Ocean Tower. But honestly, I felt our room was (quite) below Fairmont standards (to put it kindly). It was smaller than expected with two double beds and a desk in the corner but had a balcony with chairs (nice). It was also a room that had some wear and tear, things need to be updated and replaced. The bathroom was small, especially for an upgraded room in a luxury hotel.  The view was more of a partial Ocean view and of the Santa Monica Pier but most mornings it's hard to see much anyways with the LA smog. Overall it was underwhelming and quite expensive for what it was. If we had brought our whole family, it would have been a very tight fit for the five of us in this room category, we would have to get two adjoining rooms or upgrade to a suite or bungalow.

 View from our Premier Ocean View Room

Service

I personally feel that the Fairmont brand has done a very good job with training their staff for their customer service. In reflecting on our previous Fairmont stays (the most recent being in Maui), it has been consistent from housekeeping to concierge to the front desk to basically every member of staff we encountered.


Amenities 

This property has valet parking for $50 USD a day (parking costs in LA - don't get me started!); a complimentary house car that can take you or pick you up from anywhere in a 3 mile radius (which we did use!); complimentary use of house bicycles (they also had bikes for kids); a beach club with shuttle provided to take you to their beach. However you have to make a reservation for this and as we were there on a busy weekend we were placed on a wait list and didn't get the beach club experience. That was dissappointing as one of the main reasons for choosing this property was its proximity to the beach.Here is a complete list of the amenities available at this property.

Complimentary bikes to take out 

One thing that we thought was thoughtful and fun was their Bedside Reading program where complimentary books are left in your room for you to take to the pool, the beach or even back home. And they had included one that was teenager approved.


Dining

We dined at The Fig Restaurant for breakfast twice and were met with friendly service, and delicious food and even a celebrity sighting!!! (hint: "I'll be back".). We also grabbed some lunch at the the little Dogtown Coffee cafe and were met with friendly service and fresh food.





Location

The Fairmont Miramar is located right across the street from Santa Monica beach and a short walk to the Santa Monica Pier. There are restaurants and shops within walking distance in the 3rd street promenade. The hotel is a 30 minute drive in moderate traffic to the airport, but also about 20-30 minutes to most locations in LA such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Venice beach. 


The bungalows


Overall

Fairmont properties are consistent and we usually know what to expect from them. They are family friendly properties, but this one in Santa Monica also has a party vibe with their bar The Bungalow ( so if travelling with kids, ask to not have your room close to it!).  
Based on the location, amenities and service standard the Fairmont makes for a good choice, however the rooms are a little tighter for space if you have a family of four or more and frankly they need a complete re-haul especially for this price point. 



Pool Views






 Where do you like to stay when in sunny LA?

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