Fall tends to be my husband and I’s busiest travel time of the year… I think subconsciously it has to do with easing the sadness of summer being over – but either way, I’ll take it! This month we are all over the place (for work and play) – Vegas, Hawaii, San Luis Obispo, Wisconsin, Arizona – and that many trips take a LOT of planning.
J introduced me to Hotels.com – an awesome hotel booking website that allows you to book your trips at the best and lowest price, plus has a no change or cancellation fees. To have all of your bookings in one place is super convenient (especially for any last minute changes or bookings), but the best part of Hotels.com membership is their Welcome Rewards Program. It’s free to join and after booking 10 nights with Hotels.com they give you one free night to redeem on future bookings! So awesome… honestly.
This past weekend we ventured to Southern California (for business and pleasure) and used the opportunity to stock up on some Welcome Rewards points at the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica. This modern, eco-conscious hotel was only a few blocks from the Santa Monica pier and a primo location from all of the amazing shopping and restaurants (not to forget – gorgeous ocean front views!).
I wanted to share a few snaps from the property, as well as our favorite restaurants and activities (which were ALL walking distance from our hotel)… so here we go!
- M Street Kitchen: J LOVES this spot – so much that we go back every time we are in town. Great breakfast sandwiches and breakfast tacos – and a nice 10 minute walk from the hotel.
- The Ivy at the Shore: This meal is a splurge, but a really fun thing to do (budget permitting). It is located next door to the Shore Hotel… and great location aside, they make sure to pull out all of the stops – complimentary champagne when you arrive, a dozen roses in beautiful centerpieces on each table, the most delicious scones and homemade jam delivered when you sit down… plus the Crab Benedict with a Sriracha English Muffin that I ordered, was one of my favorite breakfast items of all time. Treat yo self!
- Blue Plate Oysterette: I love this place so much I went back two days in a row (and sat next to Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell!). Their oysters are some of the best I’ve ever had… and their ahi tacos and lobster rolls may be on my top 10 list of favorite foods. Throw in a glass of rose and you’re all set!
- Blue Plate Taco: I loved the decor (fun tiled floors, massive light fixtures) almost as much as I loved the tacos and margaritas. Adding guacamole and ceviche to your order will ensure the perfect meal. This spot is literally next door to the Shore Hotel… so getting back to your room after an extra margarita won’t be an issue! (PS yes this is Blue Plate Oyster’s sister restaurant… you can see we really ventured out.)
- Michael’s: We were hosted for a business event in the beautiful garden at Michael’s Santa Monica. The artwork was a bit of a turn off (a bit creepy for my taste)… but the food was delicious.
- Sushi Roku: A couple blocks from the Shore Hotel, this is consistently a great sushi spot. The servers are amazing (my husband often goes there when traveling down south and always has the best experience) – and the Sherminator works there… so that has to say something.
- Nekter: I had my first Acai bowl and felt SO LA (and loved it). These things are delicious – and I truly can’t wait to track down a spot that makes them in the Bay Area (any recommendations!?)
- Ice Cream Truck: The most gourmet food trucks line up alongside the beach… and I was so excited to try some vegan ice cream for the cutest yellow ice cream truck – not sure on the name… but if you are local, I HIGHLY recommend the mint chip!
So if you haven’t taken advantage of the awesome rewards program at Hotels.com, I urge you to do so… because while taking a vacation is amazing, taking a free vacation is even better.
Great blog! That looks like a place I need to revisit.
Acai Bowls are my favorite! The best place near the Bay Area is hands down, Cafe Brazil in Santa Cruz. AMAZING and you can get it to go if you want and sit on the beach and eat it. They also have a ton of other Acai places in Santa Cruz (basically, any Brazilian restaurant), but that one’s my favorite. Jamba Juice also has them now, too! Which is super convenient. 🙂
Cassie! You just made my day! Thank you so much for the referral… I am going to head there ASAP! Thanks for sharing!!!