Shutters on The Beach is simply the ultimate incarnation of the Californian experience. The hotel evokes a sense of comfortable elegance that one might find in a grand, yet unpretentious, beach home, all with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and California coastline.

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The 198 rooms all have private balconies or patios and most with fantastic sea views. The rooms are beautifully decorated, with a range of luxuries (flat screen, iPod docs and rain showers) yet still feel incredible homely. Michael S. Smith, the Obama White House interior designer, has made it an oasis of beach chic: guest rooms have hardwood floors, cashmere throws, built-in entertainment centres and shelves stocked with thoughtfully chosen books.

The signature restaurant One Pico looks out over the ocean and specialises in locally sourced fish and roasted meats accompanied by wines chosen by the top notch sommelier. Coast is more relaxed, serving fresh California dishes on the outdoor patio complete with heated floors for the rare occasion when it's chilly. They have a great Happy Hour, savoury weekend brunches and Wednesday Farmer's Market dinners. The Lobby Lounge also offers light snacks and cocktails.

Facilities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, pool deck with sun loungers, cabanas and impressive sea views. As well as a Health Club, there are massage, steam and wet rooms with tropical rain showers and dry sauna. The Beach Centre also offers bicycle rentals, volleyball, yoga on the beach, surfing lessons, and children's beach toys.

Why we love it

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Los Angeles is every shopper's paradise, there are plenty of opportunities to shop on nearby Montana Avenue or for a real splurge, head to Beverley Hills' Rodeo Drive. The Farmers Market in Santa Monica is a great little excursion, as too is the obligatory visit to Hollywood.

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Los Angeles

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Will, Kate B and Alexandra are our Los Angeles experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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