Review: Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts

oceana santa monica lxr hotel and resorts review featured image

With two Hilton free nights expiring close to the end of the calendar year, I looked as to how I could best burn them so they didn’t go to waste. With only one vacation day available, my significant other and I opted for a quick hop down to Santa Monica for two nights over a weekend. The reason for visiting Santa Monica was to explore the Oceana Santa Monica, a LXR Hotel & Resort that is part of the Hilton portfolio.

I know several people who have stayed at this property in the past few months and wanted to check it out for myself to see if it was a good option for redeeming Hilton free night certificates as the cash price and Hilton Honors prices are astronomical for a property in North America. 

While we did plan to explore Santa Monica a bit during our stay, the main focus was spending the majority of our time on the property to see all it had to offer and take advantage of a relaxing weekend. With that, we booked our outbound flights on WestJet Premium to fly into Los Angeles International Airport and our return flights on Air Canada Business Class. We were looking forward to our weekend at this property.

Let’s take a look at our review of the Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts to see if it’s worth checking out the next time you are in Santa Monica.

Booking & Check-in

As I mentioned above, the driving factor in making this stay is that I had two close-to-expiring Hilton Honors free night certificates that I needed to use up. These were earned by holding a couple of the ever-valuable American Express Hilton Honors Aspire credit cards (US), which grant a free night certificate annually simply for holding the card.

American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card (US)

The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire card (US) earns Hilton Honors points and offers cardholders an annual $400 Hilton Resort credit, a $200 airline fee credit, instant Hilton Diamond Elite status, an annual free night, and more.

Check out our American Express Hilton Honors Aspire card (US) review for more details.

BONUS
175,000 Hilton Honors
MINSPEND
$6,000
NET VALUE
$500+
ANNUAL FEE
$550
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY
Jul 31, 2024

Cash rates at this property often start at around $700 USD per night, whereas Hilton Honors points redemptions are north of 100,000 points per night. Needless to say, this property does not come cheap, making it a great candidate to redeem a free night certificate or two.

A few days in advance, the hotel emailed me to provide general information about the property and to inquire about arrival time and a few other details. I let them know I would be arriving around 1:00 pm and that it would be great if we could get into our room ahead of the normal check in time.

As we arrived, we were welcomed into the lobby. While small, it is gorgeously appointed and set the vibe of the property early on.

While checking in, the front desk agent confirmed that our room was available. Before heading up to the room, he also let us know that as a Hilton Honors Diamond Member, I was entitled to a $25 USD daily credit per person (up to $50 USD for two people) to be used at the on-property restaurant, Sandpiper, in lieu of complimentary breakfast. The hotel was also able to honor a late check-out of 2:00 pm which was appreciated as we had an evening flight home.

After that brief interaction, we were escorted up to our room which was only a short walk away. These brief interactions would only be the beginning of the high level of service that we came to expect from this property.

Location

The Oceana Santa Monica Hotel is about as close to the Santa Monica beach as you can expect to get.

The beach is across the street and walking to the famous Santa Monica Pier took around twenty minutes from the property. The hotel also has bikes available if that is more your speed.

santa monica beach

There are also a number of great restaurants within walking distance, else you can book a cheap Uber or even take advantage of the complimentary house car service to get to dinner and back; more on that later.

Parking

Valet parking at this property is $55 USD per night; about in-line with what I would expect with a luxury property in a city like Santa Monica.

There is also street parking available directly in front of the hotel with meters; rates may vary depending on the day of the week and how long you will be parked.

Room – One Bedroom Lanai Suite

While there are a few various layouts of the One Bedroom Lanai Suite at the Oceana Santa Monica hotel, ours opened to a living room with a couch, accent chair, television, and minibar. Sheer curtains let in ample light, showcasing the unique design of the room.

A minibar was located on the left side of the living room, complete with a Nespresso machine and coffee pods.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite mini fridge and nespresso

In between the living room and the bedroom is a short hallway, which contained a closet that housed the ironing board, iron, and safe.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite closet

The bathroom features a single vanity with minimal counterspace which was the biggest shortfall of the suite. It was quite cramped for space when compared to what you typically see at a luxury hotel.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite bathroom vanity

Directly beside the vanity was the toilet, separated by a small dividing wall.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite toilet

The bathroom had no bathtub and instead offered a massive walk-in shower. All toiletries were provided in full-sized bottles.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite walk in shower

Moving into the bedroom, a king-sized bed was in the center of the room with a bench at the foot of the bed.

Wireless device charging was available on one side of the bed, with ample USB and electrical outlets available on both sides. Both nightstands had lamps with dimmer switches, making it easy to get the amount of lighting just right.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite bedroom

There was no real view from this room as it faced the apartments next door and as a result, the curtains remained closed during our stay.

Directly in front of the bed was a smart television, complete with Netflix and YouTube streaming capacity. Several mini-bar snacks and beverages were displayed for purchase. There was also a seafoam green chair located in the corner of the bedroom that felt out of place.

oceana santa monica lxr one bedroom lanai suite television with mini bar

We thought the room was excellent and was more than big enough for the two of us.

Restaurants & Bars

The Oceana Santa Monica is a small property and as a result, only has one restaurant available. However, there are many venues where you can take your meals and drinks.

The $25 USD per person Hilton Honors Diamond credit can only be used at Sandpiper and the Veranda, whether it is used for breakfast or any other dining purchases. This means that you cannot apply this credit towards room service, so plan ahead.

All menus can be viewed here.

Sandpiper

The Sandpiper restaurant is located on the main floor near the pool and is the hotel’s only restaurant. Upon entering, a bar with seating is available.

oceana santa monica lxr sandpiper bar

The remainder of the restaurant is quite small and intimate, but it suits the property. Views of the ocean can be seen from the windows overlooking the entrance to the hotel.

oceana santa monica lxr sandpiper restaurant

We enjoyed breakfast at Sandpiper on both mornings of our stay, and the service was perfect and food was served promptly. While the restaurant is small, we never had to wait for a table and both mornings it was quite empty, re-inforcing the quiet and serene vibes of the property

I will note that the breakfast items are expensive, so the $25 USD per person credit will not cover the full cost, especially if you are adding a specialty coffee beverage like a latte.

We also stopped by Sandpiper for drinks on our first evening and they were nothing short of excellent. Again, it was a quiet venue and it was nice to have a cocktail and chat without dealing with loud music or a busy venue.

oceana santa monica lxr sandpiper cocktails

The Veranda

The Veranda is the outdoor extension of Sandpiper and as a result, offers the same menu. If you prefer to take your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or evening cocktails outside, this is the venue for you. A variety of comfortable seating was available, including a fire pit as the centerpiece.

Sunset Terrace

The Sunset Terrace is located on the third floor of the hotel and while it is not explicitly a venue where you can directly order cocktails, it is still worth including on the list as a result of the stellar views.

While you can’t order cocktails here, the hotel would be more than happy to deliver a bottle of champagne with glassware upon request or a cocktail from Sandpiper. If you are looking for an intimate and private venue, the Sunset Terrace is the place to be.

oceana santa monica lxr sunset terrace

The view overlooks the street in front of the hotel and onwards to the ocean. Even if you just stop by for a visit, the Sunset Terrace is not to be missed when staying at the Oceana Santa Monica.

oceana santa monica lxr view from sunset terrace

In-Room Dining

The Oceana Santa Monica also has an in-room dining menu that is comprised of their lunch and dinner menus at Sandpiper. We chose to order a sandwich with fries and a dessert as a late-night snack, and the food was delivered within 30 minutes.

Facilities

Fitness Center

The on-property fitness center is located beside the pool, down a small set of stairs, and is open 24 hours a day. Guests will need to scan their room key to access the fitness center.

While the fitness center felt small, I do believe that it is adequate for a hotel of this size and the space was well utilized with everything you would need to have a great workout. Immediately upon entering, multiple cardio machines, including a Peloton bike, were available.

oceana santa monica lxr fitness center cardio equipment

In the remainder of the space was a combination of free weights and weight machines. All equipment seemed to be of high quality and I got the feeling that no expense was spared on furnishing this space.

There was also a small fridge available with complimentary bottled water (which we took advantage of when heading back to the room at night). Above the fridge was an assortment of fruit, some small snacks, complimentary headphones, and towels for use.

Pool

The heart-shaped pool is arguably the most memorable and iconic part of the property. Located in the center courtyard, it is hard to miss.

oceana santa monica lxr heart shaped pool

The pool is heated and is even more stunning at night. While it starts shallow, the deep end does go to a depth of eight feet.

oceana santa monica lxr pool at night

There are several individual lounges, daybeds, and umbrellas located around the pool deck. Since the property is smaller and more boutique, there was always ample seating available and often there was nobody else by the pool.

oceana santa monica lxr pool loungers and daybeds

The Sandpiper restaurant is located nearby, making the pool an excellent spot to enjoy a cocktail and perhaps a mid-day snack. We sat for hours by the pool enjoying the quiet and serene vibes that the property offered with a cocktail in hand.

Amenities

House Car Service

The Oceana Santa Monica has partnered with Alto, a luxury rideshare service, to offer a complimentary house car service within one mile of the hotel. If the distance you are traveling is further than a mile, the overage will be charged to your hotel folio.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the house car service, stop by the front desk or call the front desk from your room to have them arrange a car to pick you up. They will also text you a link so you can arrange transportation back to the hotel.

While a mile isn’t a long distance, we did take advantage of this service to get us to and from a late-night dinner and it was fantastic. We had to wait around 10 minutes for the card to pick us up from Oceana, and only two minutes to get picked up from the restaurant after dinner.

Conclusion

The Oceana Santa Monica was an excellent property with a high level of service, especially for a North American property. While I wouldn’t ever justify the cash or points redemption rates, I think this property is an excellent candidate for redeeming a Hilton Honors free night certificate. I would consider returning if we desired a chill weekend and had free night certificates to burn in the future.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards

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