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Something By The Sea - Le Merigot Santa Monica

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By Author: Linda Lane
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Something by the Sea - Le Merigot Beach Resort Santa Monica
Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
Read this entire feature FREE at:
http://www.jetsettersmagazine.com/archive/jetezine/hotels/calif/santamonica/lemarigot/lemarigot.html

Le Merigot is a charming European-style boutique hotel and spa overlooking the sand and surf in Santa Monica, California. Anticipating good weather, and the luxury and service that heralds the only Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond property in Santa Monica, Dave and I drove across the desert from Las Vegas to the beach for a romantic getaway.

Located at 1740 Ocean Avenue, a main thoroughfare, Le Merigot Beach Hotel and Spa was easy to find. As soon as we entered the driveway the parking attendant alerted the valet who whisked our luggage upstairs. Check-in took exactly two minutes. Being December, the lobby reflected the warm, festive sights and smells of Christmas. I noticed a table with stacks of USA Today, the New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. Please help yourself, the reservation specialist told me. They're complimentary? I asked, ...
... surprised. Yes, welcome to Le Merigot.

Dave and I took an elevator to the fifth floor. Our room was spacious with a balcony that wrapped around the corner of our building to provide panoramic views of the coastline and the islands beyond. Thick glass doors opened onto a patio with a table and chairs and a lounge. The horse-shoe shaped design of the property maximizes ocean views while taking into account a restored 1920s apartment building directly in front of it on the sand. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief. This was a wonderful place to relax.

Enrique arrived with our luggage and offered to fill our ice bucket. At Le Merigot guests do not get their own ice. What does Le Merigot mean? I asked him.

He smiled and said, Le Merigot is a very old word for 'something by the sea'. An old Frenchman told me that. The word isn't used very much anymore.

Feeling well looked after we surveyed our room. The king-size feather bed looked so comfortable with a pristine white Frette down duvet and mounds of pillows. Elegant in its simplicity, our room featured a writing desk and sitting area as well as an armoire with a television connected to local and cable stations. There was a CD player/radio/alarm, and a hardback copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Movable Feast.

The lighting in the bathroom was spectacular. It is one of the few times when I have looked in a mirror after four hours of driving and thought, "I look better now than when I left home this morning." That is a sign of exceptionally flattering lighting. There was also a large illuminated magnifying make-up mirror and a host of pure Nirvae botanical products. Of course, the highlight of the sand and rust alabaster marble bathroom was the yellow rubber duckie wearing goggles and holding a surfboard. Lots of fluffy white towels were neatly stacked, and two thick white terry bathrobes with matching slippers were hanging in the closet.

A bowl of Gala apples and vibrant oranges were painting-perfect next to a large bottle of Evian and two wine glasses. The air was crisp but the sun was out, sending glistening streaks across the blue Pacific. From the balcony we watched the Santa Monica pier with the ferris wheel, win-a-prize games, and food stands. Further to the right we spied turreted white tents that were set up for the Cirque du Soleil's Cavallo, a horse-themed extravaganza.

To the left of the apartment building white sails dotted the horizon. It was a clear day, perfect for exploring Santa Monica. Walking along the beach was an option but we decided to do a little shopping at the Third Street Promenade. During the warmer months walking from Le Merigot would be inviting. In winter driving seemed the wiser choice.

In Santa Monica public parking lots are easy to access, and free for up to three hours. The Promenade is closed to cars, making the shopping experience easier and less stressful.

Much to our surprise we found a Lush bath products store. Heretofore one had to buy their pampering products abroad. Our Christmas shopping continued with Anthropologie, kiosk vendors selling unique scarves and jewelry, Urban Outfitters, AX Armani, and Guess mixed in with Barnes and Noble and a variety of restaurants. There were movie theaters playing everything from foreign films to blockbusters. By the time we finished shopping it was dark.

We had missed the sunset, but tomorrow there would be another opportunity to watch the sun sink below the horizon. So, it was back to Le Merigot, a JW Marriott property with a unique twist — dogs are welcome with guests. And not only are they allowed in the rooms with their masters, the hotel owns a charming yard next door that serves as an exercise and bathroom area for pets. As we got out of the car a young couple with a Golden Retriever puppy pulling them down the driveway towards the yard, smiled and said hello. They were one happy trio.

Club Meg, the luxury pet program is named in honor of Le Merigot's resident canine, Meg Ortloff, General Manager Sig Ortloff's yellow Labrador Retriever. There are no restrictions according to a dog's size or weight, only manners. The hotel offers a variety of leading brand dog foods as well as Barkley's Beef and Rice Bowl with long-grain rice, roast beef, carrots and brown gravy. Pets receive an amenity care package with a water bottle, bowl and a Frisbee in a carrying case. Mobile grooming is offered as well as pet sitting and pet walking. An on-call veterinarian is also available.

Cezanne, Le Merigot's fine dining restaurant was our choice for dinner. It had been voted Best L.A. Hotel Restaurant by Angeleno Magazine which was a tremendous honor considering the competition. Dave and I ventured downstairs to the dining room over which evening supervisor Hoss Hapezi graciously presides.

He welcomed us to Cezanne with Turkish Blood, a drink made with champagne and 30-year-old Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port (not on the menu). The taste of Port deliciously dominates the champagne, a combination Hapezi credits Hungarian chef George Skorka with creating.

Seated at a grand banquette, sipping Turkish Blood while listening to pianist Robert Carpenter's beautiful, energetic version of Anything Goes on a baby grand piano by the window assured a romantic evening. From our vantage point as well as the many tables in the intimate dining room neon lights from the Santa Monica pier against the dark, glistening water added to our reverie.

I started with Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartare ($12) and a Chardonnay from Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley ($95 a bottle, $27 per glass). The tuna tasted exceptionally fresh and light with capers, sitting atop slices of ripe avocado. Four crisp crackers added an artistic flair. Dave started with the Crispy Shrimp with Jalapeño Pepper Jelly ($13) and the Chardonnay. Two dipping sauces accompanied the appetizer. A basket of homemade sourdough French bread with triangles of sweet butter tempted us, but we reminded each other that our main course was going to be formidable.

Also listed among the hors d'oeuvres were Lobster Bisque ($11), Terrine of Foie Gras with Brioche ($15), and Oysters on the Half Shell ($12). Salads included a Mesclun salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and St. Maure Goat cheese ($10), a Caesar with baby romaine ($9), and a Radicchio, fennel and arugula with Dijon vinaigrette ($9).

Open since 2000 Cezanne has gone through three chefs. Executive Chef Desi Szonntagh is currently accepting well-founded accolades for a savory California cuisine with French accents. The restaurant boasts a large international wine selection. And, for travelers wishing to order in, food service is available 24 hours a day.

Robert Carpenter, a classically trained pianist who likes to add a touch of jazz began playing Time After Time. Dave's Special of the Day — Surf and Turf, an Australian lobster tail with, as he said, a melt in your mouth filet mignon accompanied by tender asparagus, carrots, and green beans arrived. For our main course Hoss Hapezi recommended the Grgich Hills, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley that proved the perfect compliment for both of us.

Read this entire feature FREE at:
http://www.jetsettersmagazine.com/archive/jetezine/hotels/calif/santamonica/lemarigot/lemarigot.html

By Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Las Vegas Correspondent - visit www.jetsettersmagazine.com


About the Author Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Las Vegas Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com

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