Palihouse Santa Monica

Much like the never ending and consecutive seasons of the Block, or a Vogue Living subscription that  never seems to arrive, LA traffic is a nightmare that is very real.   As a visitor, the fact it might take an hour to drive five miles is a little annoying, but to have to deal with it every day would be next level crazy.  The way around that is to pick your neighbourhood.

Splitting your LA trip into districts works a treat.

We chose West Hollywood to start and then centred our outings around WeHo for the first half of our time in LA.  Then we split.

And maybe it was the fact that we’re Australian and we were craving the ocean or maybe it was the fact that we discovered an all (amazing) Hip Hop radio station, but the drive down Santa Monica Boulevard to our next stop in Santa Monica was super liberating.

Palihouse Santa Monica is like entering the Grand Budapest Hotel in its prime, updated to the year 2015.  It’s so beautiful, so colourful, so unique and yet classic at the same time. You could easily think that Wes Anderson must have been the involved in the design. Warning – this post is going to be heavy on the visuals!

First, let’s talk about the location. Being a few short blocks back from the beach and two blocks to the shopping of Third Street Promenade, it’s a winner.

The building is an old school, Spanish inspired, Art Deco grand dame that is classic LA. There’s even a working old fashioned gated elevator. Lots of fun, with a quite heavy door though!

The surrounding streets are bordered by towering palms and the hotel itself by beautifully manicured gardens, with a nice terrace area out the back.

The interiors of the common areas are where the bulk of the styling efforts can be appreciated. Think warm terracotta floors, lush velvet sofas, communal tables and dim lighting.

As our #calicrew had grown to five with the arrival of lovely Miss C from Sydney, we chose to up the ante and base ourselves in one of the two stunning penthouses. If you’re in a group of 4 plus, this is definitely worth every penny.

Our penthouse had TONS of space. The main lounge area in particular, is a fantastic size for a group.

Giant picture windows open out onto a wrap around terrace. Up here, its all about the ocean views and palm trees.


There are multiple seating areas to bask in the Californian sunshine.


Parfait and espresso anyone?

Happily, the beds are very comfortable. Other than the master, there are two twin beds set out in a cute galley-style configuration in the large front room. This room looks towards the beach and is also home to a huge communal table.

Palihouse is a grand boutique hotel with character in spades. The perfect launch pad for a Californian road-trip.

Trip Notes:

  • Palihouse Santa Monica can be found on the corner of 3rd Street and Washington Avenue, Santa Monica, CA.
  • If you’d like to park your car without a fine you’ll have to make use of the Valet who will take your car offsite. They’re very helpful, but will need around 10-15 mins to bring your car back around for you when you need it.
  • You will be within easy walking distance to the Whole Foods on the corner of 5th Street and Wilshire Boulevard. This is particularly important to our travel group for sourcing delicious salted dark chocolate cashews.
  • Decent coffee can be found a short stroll away at Demitasse Coffee on the corner of 3rd Street and Wilshire Boulevard.
  • This is a great spot to access all that Santa Monica and Venice have to offer – stay tuned for our upcoming Ivy at the Shore post!

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