Design Destination | Santa Monica Proper by Kelly Wearstler

  • Designed by Los Angeles-based creative Kelly Wearstler, Santa Monica Proper is an ode to the Californian city’s vibrant art and culture scene, subtropical climate and coastal terrain.

    Santa Monica Proper is the newest addition to the Proper hotel family – a collection of boutique hotels dotted throughout North America (with four more hotels opening soon in Dallas, Miami, Palm Springs and Portland). The Proper brand was born with the premise that every city needs a ‘proper’ place to stay. Each Proper hotel features eclectic interiors curated by Kelly Wearstler, who has perfectly encapsulated the relaxed feel of sunny Santa Monica through every detail.

    Kelly Wearstler designed a custom reception desk faintly reminiscent of a beach shell.

    The Location

    Santa Monica Proper is located on Wilshire Boulevard; a 25-km, palm tree-lined boulevard extending from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica State Beach. It spans a 1920s Art Deco building (the Santa Monica Professional Building) and a contemporary curved addition by local practice Howard Laks ArchitectsA stone’s throw from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and vast stretch of coast, Santa Monica Proper soaks up views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and city views on the other.

    The hotel is nestled right in the heart of the city, within walking distance of boutique shopping strips, outdoor tennis and basketball courts and the farmer’s market. Santa Monica Proper offers complimentary electric bikes to conveniently get around the town or ride along the prominent Marvin Braude trail like a true local.

    The art-filled library encourages guests to flick through a design book on the Cassina Soriana armchairs while taking in work from local Californian artists.

    The Amenities

    Three considered restaurants on alternate levels provide guests with myriad options for room service or an atmospheric dining experience. The Palma lounge in the lobby is for all-day light bites and small-batch tequila and mezcals. The Japanese-inspired Olea Garden terrace serves fresh sushi and sashimi, while Calabra – the indoor-outdoor bistro with a rooftop pool deck – fuses traditional Mediterranean cuisine with a Californian twist. 

    On the ground floor, the art-filled library encourages guests to flick through a design book on the Cassina Soriana armchairs while taking in work from local Californian artists. The hotel’s Surya Spa takes the concept of relaxation to a new level, offering a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including massages, scrubs and light therapy.

    The Rooms

    Interior designer Kelly Wearstler lifted cues from the tones and textures of the nearby coastline throughout each of the 271 suites. Each room is built from a base palette of light hardwood timber and taupe, accompanied by organic forms in the custom bedhead, furniture and light fixtures. Kelly Wearstler’s signature pattern – stripes – features in one way or another in each room, be it in the floor coverings, bed throw or upholstery.

    The rooms housed within the original Art Deco building pay tribute to their heritage with floral wallpaper and Roman blinds in the bedroom and terracotta subway tiles in the bathrooms. Suites housed in the curvilinear extension maintain a softer, more neutral colour palette, set against contemporary concrete walls and full-height windows. 

    The in-house rooftop restaurant and bar overlooks the rooftop pool deck, showcasing ocean sunset views.

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