Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel: A Retreat For Residents To Enjoy
Posted Nov. 12, 2012, 1:13 am
Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief
When it comes to living a life of luxury, you don’t have to be traveling on business or visiting from overseas to enjoy the laid-back and contemporary comfort at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
Located just two blocks south of the Santa Monica Pier at 1700 Ocean Avenue, residents are able to enjoy the oceanfront property every single day of the year, just by becoming a member of Ocean Spa & Fitness inside the hotel.
To sweeten the deal, for every 12 months of continuous membership, each member receives a night’s stay at the hotel and a complimentary spa treatment. Additional member benefits include 20 percent off regularly priced spa and salon services, as well as 20 percent off food and beverage in Ocean & Vine and Papillion and 20 percent off the prevailing room rate.
Get In Shape
Loews Fitness Center features new state-of-the-art cardio equipment by Technogym, interactive training from Expresso bikes, Cybex strength equipment, and fitness accessories.
As a private Santa Monica fitness center, it also offers a diverse array of classes, including yoga, spinning, and kickboxing.
Lisa Brisse, owner and founder of State of the Heart Fitness, has partnered with Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel since 2002 to run all fitness programs.
She has a team of degreed exercise physiologists, personal trainers, and lifestyle coaches, to offer a variety of fitness, wellness, and nutritional programs.
Brisse said monthly membership at the fitness center ($125 individual / $210 couple) was the perfect way for local residents to feel like they are on vacation all the time in their own town.
“Being right on the ocean ensures a very tranquil atmosphere. The environment is low-key, warm, and inviting,” Brisse said. “It’s a very personalized experience, where the trainers know you by name and there is a strong sense of community. When you join Ocean Spa & Fitness, you are really taken care of and the staff makes sure everyone feels really welcome and invited.”
The fitness center is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except for Sundays when it closes at 9 p.m.
It has all the equipment you would expect at a high-end fitness center from cardio equipment and weight machines to weights and exercise balls.
Brisse said her team offers a variety of classes including spinning, water aerobics, yoga, Pilates, zumba, Nia dance movement, and core sculpting classes, among others.
What makes the fitness center so unique is its special outdoor programs in the summer available at a small additional cost. These activities include hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains and activities on the beach. Brisse said she has even taken groups to Peru to hike the Inca Trail.
“We try and do a lot of outdoor activities and things that people wouldn’t necessarily do on their own,” she said. “We have a Saturday morning walking/running program called Heart Runners for people who want to train for their first local 5K or 10K. It’s a great way to socialize and encourage people to get out of their comfort zone.”
Also in summer, Brisse offers outdoor morning training sessions twice a week that focus on cardio, strength, and stretching.
She said members always expressed positive feedback.
“The niche at the Loews is for a person who wants to come and relax, rejuvenate, and not necessarily be bothered, but still feel like they are a part of something special,” she said. “The experience is designed for people who are looking for a more of a quality, personalized experience. And because of the great location within the hotel, there’s opportunity to have some fun after a workout, whether you choose to enjoy the Jacuzzi or have a cocktail in the lounge. Life starts to feel like a little vacation even though you’re still in town.”
Another added bonus is lifestyle lectures in the hotel’s function rooms from time to time that are free for members.
“Some past lectures have been ‘How to have and maintain a healthy back’ and ‘Outsmart your fat cells,’ which is a lecture on exercise and weight loss myths and gives actual science behind weight loss,” she said. “Our philosophy is to focus on overall well-being and how to achieve life balance in life.”
Rejuvenate Your Body
Ocean Spa at Loews is a petite spa with four treatment rooms that are used for a variety of pampering options.
Here you can enjoy luxurious treatments in the spa that has eco-friendly design elements and treatments with the environment at the heart, to keep you feeling relaxed.
Spa Manager Melissa Eppling said there were two signature facials and massages to choose from.
“For our Ocean Facial, we use organic Ofea products, which are made in Malibu,” Eppling said. “We incorporate a lot of their organic, marine-based products into all of our treatments to offer an authentic beachfront experience.”
The Oxygen Facial is the other unique facial because it infuses oxygen into the skin, Eppling said.
“It’s a very delicious treatment and you feel rejuvenated when you walk out versus feeling red and puffy that you might get from some facials,” she said.
For those looking for a relaxing massage, consider the spa’s signature Beachcomber massage that incorporates large tiger shells that are self-heating.
“Similar to hot stone massages, the massage therapist uses two heated tiger shells throughout the treatment,” she said. “The tiger shells retain heat throughout the entire treatment and encourage muscle relaxation.”
The spa’s masseuses also offer regular Swedish massages called Relax by the Sea, deep tissue massages called Deep Ocean Therapy, and Aroma massages that can be 50 or 80 minutes in length.
Anyone who maintains a continuous 12-month membership at the fitness center will be rewarded with an Ocean Facial or 50 minute Relax by the Sea massage.
Delicious Dining At Ocean & Vine
With the winter months upon us, Ocean & Vine inside the hotel has adapted its menu to the season with local produce that’s currently on offer at the Santa Monica Farmers Markets.
Executive Chef Keith Roberts said people craved heartier food when it’s cold outside and he has created dishes to warm diners up.
One such item is the beef tenderloin, which Roberts has used fresh grown ingredients from his small herb garden at the far end of the hotel’s patio.
“I have a green thumb, and I grow exotic fruits and vegetables at home,” he said. “Here at the hotel, I love plucking fresh herbs from the garden to use in the kitchen. This particular marinade uses tarragon, thyme, cilantro, basil, savory, and oregano of course with a lot of garlic, vinegar, and olive oil.”
Roberts is always experimenting with his brick pizza oven, saying he recently created his favorite yet – the pepperoni and chorizo pizza.
“It’s one of those great combinations that just works,” he said. “All the flavors come together and make something better than their individual parts. The chorizo is a little bit smokier, a little bit oiler in flavor than the pepperoni, and we use house smoked jalapenos for a fresh chipotle flavor. Then we have the ranchero cheese which is a little bit creamier, and once it browns in the oven, which creates a slightly nuttier flavor. For me, it’s a really fun combination – simple ingredients that add up to a complex flavor profile.”
Another of his favorites is the raw shrimp and blue crab pizza.
“It’s the best the ocean has to offer: jumbo lump raw crab meat and fresh rock shrimp, and a little bit of an California feel with the avocado and goat cheese,” he said. “It’s refreshing.”
The menu also features a Simply Grilled section with Pacific Swordfish, Steelhead Salmon, and California Local Seabass.
Each is unique, like the Steelhead Salmon, which is actually a trout.
“What I like about the Steelhead is that it’s a trout that swims in the ocean like a salmon, but goes back and forth and it spawns,” Roberts said. “While the salmon only does it once, the Steelhead does it several times throughout its lifetime. The Steelhead is a slightly milder flavor of salmon, but without losing that salmon feel to it.”
Ocean & Vine is open for breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily, lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For reservations or more information, call 310.576.3180 or visit www.oceanandvine.com.
The Loews Brand
Since opening in 1989, the hotel has always been a part of the Loews brand that has grown to 18 properties in North America.
While there have been changes to the Santa Monica property over the years, Managing Director Paul Leclerc said the hotel has stayed focused on providing guests with a unique and meaningful Southern California experience.
“I think that as a brand, Loews is recognized for embracing the local community and for providing a uniquely local experience for our guests – whether they’re visiting from another country or from just down the road,” Leclerc said.
Leclerc said the Loews brand feels much bigger than it actually is and it’s a comment that he hears often when he tells people the brand is only 18 hotels strong.
“A lot of that is because of the community presence that we have and the great initiatives that we have done over the years such as our pets program, our children’s program, and frequent guest program,” he said. “Each Loews hotel has a very different footprint and there are 18 different unique experiences within the brand that leave lasting impressions in the traveler’s mind.”
Leclerc said it was his hotel’s obligation to provide guests with an experience that is in harmony with its amazing location.
“My goal since arriving at the hotel a year ago was to try to really define the experience that we wanted our guests to have when they walk through the door,” he said. “Not only from first impression, but as a thread that weaves its way through the entire experience until departure.
He said the hotel’s music, live entertainment, specialty events, and menu engineering all added to the guest experience.
“When you look at the pool, the view, the ability to dine alfresco out on the pool deck, or the Ocean & Vine patio, you’ll see that this is the place you want to be,” he said. “The menu at Ocean & Vine brings to life the best this amazing state has to offer when it comes to wine, fresh fruits and vegetables, amazing seafood – everything that is so incredibly California.”
He said there were many local residents who have never stepped foot in the hotel, and that’s why he created the monthly Live from Loews California Classics events that show off the hotel’s views, food, and amenities – all set to a classic California soundtrack.
“California Classics is a way to embrace the local community and share our amazing location and food and beverage experience that you just can’t get anywhere else,” he said.
The hotel offers a “Six at the Beach” happy hour Mondays-Fridays where select beer, wine, and cocktails are all $6 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Leclerc said a strolling guitar player performs Friday nights between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to add to the experience.
“Entertainment is at the heart of hospitality,” he said. “Six at the Beach and Live from Loews California Classics are just two ways to amaze and delight our neighbors and guests.”
For more information about the hotel, visit www.santamonicaloewshotel.com.