By Rhiannon Taylor, August 2016

From your first steps on to the manicured grounds at Palihouse in Santa Monica, you know you're somewhere special. This european-eqsue villa feels like home, located only a few blocks back from Santa Monica's endless beach.

Staff in quaint, slim-fit uniforms, glide around the hotel effortlessly and with a sense of cool. And whilst you're afraid that they may be a bit aloof and hipster, fears are quickly put at ease with beaming smiles and genuine warmth.

An early check-in means that our room isn't quite ready, but we're seated in opulent leather lounges and offered breakfast and coffee. It's just what a weary traveller needs after a 13 hour flight.

The lobby area is the soul of the property. The multi-functional space that serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner also doubles as a quiet place to read a book or tap away on your laptop. Decked out in vintage leather couches, opulent fire places and dark walls, it transcends the feel of a hotel and is more like a luxury residence.

The highlight is afternoon tea, where lolly jars sit ever-so-pretty, filled to the brim with artisan made sweets. At the bar, urns are filled with fresh cucumber lemonade and cookies, straight out of the oven, sit on cake stands - although they disappear quickly.

Stepping outside there's an intimate courtyard for some outdoor respite from the Santa Monica crowds. And if you're keen to venture further afar, there are bicycles available for guests use.

Up stairs (no elevator), there are 38 rooms which are unique in size and layout. Our classic room was small, but retained it's Palihouse beauty, with vintage wallpaper and reclaimed furniture.

The beds are plush and our mini-balcony provided a beautiful summer breeze. The rooms aren't equipped with air conditioners so they can become quite stuffy. There is a fan to provide some relief, but the Los Angeles heat can make for a hot night's sleep.

There's a fabulous mini-bar stocked with Dean and Deluca snacks and treats, although there is no fridge which can be frustrating when you want chilled water. Ice is available to be delivered, but not particularly convenient when the thirst hits you at a moments notice. There are suites available with kitchenettes, so it might be worth booking a higher class of room to feel truly comfortable.

Palihouse's Santa Monica property (there's one in West Hollywood) is the sort escape the often tourist-heavy area needs. It's quiet location and lodge-like aesthetic encourages you to live like a local. So grab a bicycle and peddle down to the farmers market. It's the Pali way.


FEEL: Luxury residence.
ROOM PICK: Any of the suites for added space and a kitchenette.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: Starting from $497 AUD.
IN-ROOM: Shower over bath, TV, fan, Palihouse bath products,
MINI BAR: Dean & Deluca products: popcorn, chocolate, crisps. No fridge in a classic room.


I stayed as a guest of Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels.

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