Pulling up outside the Viceroy Santa Monica on a sunny afternoon, I am instantly reminded of idyllic childhood summers spent at the Grand Hotel in Michigan. That particular hotel, with its vibrant Hollywood Regency-style mix of baroque and Chinoiserie, has influenced my style choices ever since. Glamour is everything to me, so it’s important – no, essential – for my surroundings to reflect that. How wonderful, then, it is to pass the Viceroy’s valets and stride into an elegant, colourful foyer filled with vivid kelly green vases, and French-style chairs and chaises. Already, I feel as though I might just be in the most fabulous hotel in Los Angeles.
Accompanying me today are my two best friends – one, alas, now a Miss Smith after a recent break-up – and we head into the dining room for the Viceroy’s famous Sunday brunch. We order a round of delicious Mimosas, made with freshly squeezed orange juice, and make for the buffet tables. We eschew the obvious sweet choices – even I can bake a tasty scone – and indulge in the shortbread with lemon curd and waffles with cappuccino-flavoured cream.
We walk out to the poolside area with a fresh round of Mimosas following close behind. Sun-yellow wing-backed chairs are set around an electric-blue pool in front of white cabanas with art deco details. The people-watching isn’t so spectacular today – and aside from we three ladies with our red lips and vintage attire, there’s just the handsome waitstaff to watch at the water’s edge. Miss Smith calls a hot young guy over and asks him to touch up her chipped red nail polish, which he does with panache. Poor chap, though, having to put the ‘man’ into ‘manicure’ while three ladies, tipsy on champagne cocktails, watch and giggle.
Afterwards, I check into my ocean-view Empire suite. It’s perfect. Each door is painted in a brilliant green, with French hardware in gleaming silver, and there’s enough design ideas here to keep me going for life. I adore the damask wallpaper and smoked mirrored walls, the leaf-green chairs with Chinoiserie details, crystal wall sconces and orchids on the white cocktail table. There’s ample counter space for my beauty products, oodles of closet room and mirrors everywhere. It’s so difficult to find the right space, lighting and mood suitable for getting red-carpet ready, but this is definitely the real deal.
After devoting an hour or so to making myself as glamorous as my surroundings, I head down to dinner in the hotel’s acclaimed Whist restaurant. The lighting is cover-shoot impeccable. My friends are all good-looking girls, but in this sexy and subdued atmosphere they look simply ravishing. We immediately make a pact to use this restaurant as a seduction tool in future. I order an exquisitely perfumed lavender martini from the impressive cocktail menu and sit back to watch the stylish, buzzing crowd. What happens next only ever occurs in the chicest of chic restaurants: the waiter brings me a black napkin because I’m wearing a black dress. I’m absolutely devoted to this place – and the starters haven’t even arrived yet.
The food is divine – and I know this because I tried a bite from everyone’s plate. The seared tuna, lamb ravioli and seafood ceviche are just superb, but it’s the bread pudding and Earl Grey ice-cream that’s perhaps the highlight. I have a second lavender martini, and quite possibly a third. I can’t be too sure… Afterwards, when we decide to head to a club downtown, the hotel has a car ready for us in exactly 15 minutes.
It’s heaven to slip into my marshmallowy bed at 4am, and I sleep better than I have in ages. When I wake up, there’s not even a touch of a hangover. I order up the best plate of huevos rancheros I can recall, and wash it down with a yummy blueberry smoothie. When I finally make it downstairs around lunchtime, Miss Smith is waiting for me in the bar. We call for two more of the now-legendary lavender martinis.
After an hour or so, we head up to my suite for an in-room massage. I immediately stake my claim on the muscular guy with the ponytail and tribal tattoos. He looks real sensitive, but oh-so strong. Once his palms start working their way up my back, however, I do what any girl in my position would and fall fast asleep. My masseur may well have sat down and read a magazine for an hour, but Miss Smith and I had a good nap and, for us, that’s priceless.
As we get dressed, I am struck by how reluctant I am to check out. I’ve been looking for the refinement, elegance and tradition of those girlhood summers all my life, and the Viceroy combines the same classic old-Hollywood style with modern chic and sophistication. I’ll definitely be coming back for a weekend soon. Hopefully with a very lucky Mr Smith in tow.
Anonymously reviewed by Dita Von Teese (Burlesque empress)
Reviews of Viceroy Santa Monica from Smith members
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