California Dreaming at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica

California Dreaming at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica

The lounge and veranda at the Casa del Mar Hotel offers a luxurious California experience paired with Peruvian Pisco and delicious ceviche.

California Dreaming at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica
Sunset on the veranda at the Casa del Mar Hotel embodies the quintessential California dreamscape.

In the middle of one fiercely cold Chicago winter, I bought my first pair of flip-flops and moved to the Golden State.

I had often fantasized what life in Southern California would be like ― a tan surfer dude in floral board shorts teaching this city girl how to ride the waves; endless nights of parties and debauchery at Chateau Marmont’s poolside bungalows; a fateful encounter with Ryan Gosling in Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ― perpetuated by perusing too many tabloid covers in the grocery check-out line.

One of my daydreams turned into reality the afternoon I ascended the sprawling staircase in the Casa del Mar Lobby Lounge and fell in love ― instantly, madly, completely ― with the view.

Object of my affection – the bar in the lobby at the Casa del Mar Hotel.
Object of my affection – the bar in the lobby at the Casa del Mar Hotel.

It was dazzling and I was enamored. Panoramic views of sunlight dancing across the Pacific beckoned to me through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, making my heart flutter. You know what they say about “even more beautiful in person”? In this case, totally true.

There’s a magical allure in watching a fiery sun cast rays of crimson, amber and violet along the coastline as it melts below the horizon. Nestled in an oversized couch, cocktail in hand, while taking in this scene, is one of the most enjoyably civilized experiences in all of Los Angeles.

Cocktails made with grape-distilled Peruvian Pisco.
Cocktails made with grape-distilled Peruvian Pisco.

Generous servings of hospitality are lavished on discerning patrons, and the cordial staff is a breath of fresh air at this stylish luxury hotel. The Lobby Lounge is a wonderful setting for a first date, a twentieth date, or for proving to out-of-town friends that there’s more to this city than box office and Botox.

Looking for more than just a pretty space? There are two new reasons to check out Casa del Mar: ceviche and Pisco.

Every Thursday evening in the Lobby Lounge and Veranda, you can now indulge in an assortment of fresh ceviche and Pisco cocktails while listening to live jazz, soul, blues, and pop music.

Peruvian Pisco is produced from grapes grown in the traditional wine growing region of the Ica Valley, located about 190 miles south of Lima, the capital city of Peru. The un-oaked flavors of this elegant Peruvian spirit offer a crisp counterbalance to Chef Jason Bowlin’s zesty ceviches – also a Peruvian specialty.

Choose from sea bass ceviche with lime zest and smoked paprika, rock shrimp ceviche with pineapple and jalapeno, albacore ceviche with grapefruit juice and Calabrian chili oil, or scallop ceviche with lemon and cucumber.

Pair these coastal citrus-cured seafood dishes with a refreshing Pisco-based cocktail, from the classic Pisco Sour to the colorful Piscopolitan. If you’re in the mood for liquid dessert, try the fruity Pisco Rose (Pisco, St. Germain, muddled raspberries, lime sour, egg white).

Stairway to heaven – this grand staircase greets guests when they enter the Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica.
Stairway to heaven – this grand staircase greets guests when they enter the Casa del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica.

The beach club glamour of Casa del Mar Hotel is hard to resist ― so don’t. Walk up those opulent stairs into the Lobby Lounge and be swept away by its gorgeous, enchanting atmosphere.

Fabulous cocktails, delicious bites of ceviche, resplendent sunshine streaming across the Pacific, and majestic palm trees swaying in the tranquil ocean breeze … it’s the stuff of California dreams.

I may not ever cross paths with Ryan Gosling, but I’ll always have Casa del Mar. Not bad for a snow-shoveling daydreamer from Chicago.

Copyright © Michelle Gigon/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.

Michelle GigonMichelle Gigon is the Food, Wine & Spirits Editor for Singular magazine and the leader of SingularCity’s Girls, Guys and Grapes group. On her list of favorite things are (A) discovering memorable epicurean experiences and (B) telling people about them. A former brand agent at CAA, Michelle is also a freelance creative director on lifestyle marketing programs for Lexus, Nestlé, TV Land and Aspen Food & Wine Classic.
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4 thoughts on “California Dreaming at Casa del Mar in Santa Monica

  1. It is a nice place, but the attitude is definitely way too snooty and to the point of being downright arrogant and rude.

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