During our recent holiday in LA, Gala and I stayed at the Viceroy. Located in Santa Monica and just blocks from the beach, it’s probably best known for featuring the interior design talents of Kelly Wearstler. Her touches throughout are just the right mix of modern and surreal: animal motifs, ornate shrubbery, an otherworldly canary yellow library, and chic poolside cabanas are just the beginning.
The first thing that stands out about the Viceroy when you walk in (once you get past the baby head lamps and walls of plates) is the service. The second after you check in, you’re offered glasses of complementary champagne. After a few sweaty hours crammed on a plane, they know how to switch you over into relaxation mode! You think service like this would be standard at most boutique hotels but it’s surprising how icy the staff can often be. The Viceroy is not only warn, inviting and helpful but the lobby smells amazing. They have great service down to an art.
Of course, for service like this, you do end up paying big time. Gala and I were definitely surprised at how small our room was compared to other places we’ve stayed but there’s definitely an element of escape from reality here and if you’re looking to get away from it all, this is your place. I would say that the Viceroy is great for that quick, few day escape but if you’re looking for something more spacious and appropriate for long-term, The Palihouse may be more your speed.
The Viceroy grounds are immaculate, the shrubbery and palms are perfectly trimmed and the setting is quite serene. But, there is one downside. On our last morning, I woke Gala up at the god awful hour of 6 a.m. with something to the effect of, “I can’t sleep. I’m hearing voices.” She must’ve thought I was losing it until, as if on command, we heard a loud, cartoonish “AH-CHOOOOOO!” from the next room over. The cartoonish voices and coughing continued back and forth for another few hours….I swear I have a point! THE WALLS ARE VERY, VERY THIN. (I’m not blaming Kelly because she’s an interior designer, not an architect). So thin that these characters lit up a cigarette and the smoke quickly seeped into our room. Gala, not missing a beat, said, “Excuse me while I go poison myself.” The smoking and voices subsided after that. Ahem! I mean…ah-choooo!
My favorite place to lounge in the hotel was the canary yellow library, complete with shag carpet! Aren’t those book shelves amazing?
The library was only the beginning, though. On our last night, we discovered the Wizard Of Oz-esque lobby bathroom, complete with checkerboard floors. Kelly Wearstler has a knack for color that I adore.
• It’s extremely close to the beach. A two minute walk and you’re on the sands of Santa Monica.
• The service. We had to call down to the front desk (which was pretty often) but each time, they were incredibly pleasant, wrapping up the call with “Have a magical day!” Really.
• The decor. Kelly Wearstler definitely added plenty of unexpected, special touches that you won’t find anywhere else.
• The room service. Gourmet desserts at midnight? Not a problem! Everything we tried was awesome.
• Complementary yoga! At 10 am on the weekends, you can do a full hour of yoga with an instructor out by the pool. They even provide the mats and mini bottles of Evian.
• Poolside parties. On Saturday night, a deejay gets the party started around 10 pm. I’m pretty sure this is open to the public, as well.
• Staff that lets you take photos. We invited the Made U Look ladies over to our hotel and were shooting poolside and the staff didn’t interrupt or say a word except to ask about their vintage cameras! At almost every other place we’ve stayed, the staff shuts us down.
• It’s quite expensive for the room size. If you’re traveling through, I’d recommend staying one night at the Viceroy for the experience (and the pool) and then moving on to more affordable digs. There’s a ton of other nice hotels close by.
• The thin walls. You can hear everything. Sneezes, the TV and random giggles when you just want to sleep.
• The lack of signage. The front of the hotel is surrounded by tall shrubbery which adds to the mystery. I guess this makes the hotel an ideal escape for celebrities but for the rest of us, it can be a bit of a pain. We had to keep telling our visiting friends to “look for the shrubs.” Haha.
Overall, if you’re looking for an escape from real life to the surreal and appreciate quirky, modern decor, you’ll love The Viceroy. Still missing Santa Monica (and the Viceroy) a lot…