SANTA MONICA: Fun and laid-back luxury in L.A.’s ‘beach city’
A vintage event space on Toronto’s King Street was a long way from sunny Santa Monica, California – but maybe that was the point as tourism partners from the Los Angeles-area community rolled into town recently on their annual Canadian sales mission, the first since the pandemic.
“We’re LA’s beach city,” declared Santa Monica’s Canadian rep Sana Keller (of Pulse Marketing, along with Annika Klint) to the audience of travel agent and trade guests, noting that the coastal enclave is also the closest city to LAX (20 km), a not inconsequential fact in a metropolis known for its traffic congestion.
And Michael Gurrieri, chief marketing officer at Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, notably added, “We’re a very walkable city in a not very walkable destination (Los Angeles).”
That includes on or along the famous beach, which invariably leads past the iconic Santa Monica pier (and adjacent Pacific Park amusement park), which has presided over the beach for over a century.
But SMTT national sales manager Ozzie Otero emphasized that “even if you’re not a beach person, there’s something for everyone” in Santa Monica’s eight distinct neighbourhoods.
That includes galleries and museums, shopping, and close to 170 unique murals. There are also 41 hotels and over 400 restaurants.
Of course, the city is also a gateway to the rest of LA – 25 kms to downtown, 21 to SoFi Stadium, 11 km to Beverly Hills and 22 to Hollywood, making Santa Monica a “great base” for touring the area. The Port of Los Angeles is 45 km away for pre- or post-cruise stays.
But visitors don’t have to go as far for great hiking and biking trails, or to find community spirit in places like the local farmer’s market or on along the beach (including picnics, volleyball, and surfing) and adjacent boardwalk.
“It’s quintessential SoCal,” Otero declares.
At the same time, the city boasts urban sophistication, as demonstrated by the hotel partners in attendance at the event, including Casa del Mar,
Shutters on the Beach, Casa del Mar, Regent Santa Monica Beach and Fairmont Miramar Hotels and Bungalows, the latter a sprawling two-hectare urban resort.
Santa Monica, via LAX, is served from Canadian gateways by Air Canada, WestJet, and Transat, the former a sponsor of the trade event which offered agents a draw for two tickets to Los Angeles.
First published at Travel Industry Today