Why the Proper Is the Best Hotel in Santa Monica

Why the Proper Is the Best Hotel in Santa Monica

Why the Proper Is the Weightier Hotel in Santa Monica

Written by: Kelly Martin


Published on: January 12, 2023


All photos courtesy of The Ingalls

When the Santa Monica Proper opened in 2019, it managed to eclipse all our old standbys as the weightier hotel in town. The Kelly Wearstler–designed space knits together the things we like most well-nigh living here, like the unstudied orientation toward well-being and the way the municipality bumps up versus the coast. We find ourselves looking for reasons to step through its doors (and hang out on its vast hodgepodge of gorgeous sofas): vacations, staycations, nights out—even, recently, a daylong eyeful retreat we hosted for 90 guests.

Book a stay and you’ll find Parachute robes, travertine showers, space to spread out, and the kind of bed you could hang out in all day. But you don’t come here to sit in your room, however chicly appointed. From the Proper, you’re a walk from some local favorites: I love Esters for an eclectic mix of natural wines and inventive cocktails, Huckleberry for the highest expression of coffee and pastries, and Father’s Office for insanely good burgers and an wide-stretching beer list. Or hit the beach; I prefer to alimony my loftiness from the pier, climb lanugo the paths set into the bluffs off of Arizona or Montana Avenue, and take a stroll north toward Will Rogers beach. (You’re moreover a quick rideshare yonder from Venice and Brentwood—field trip to the Country Mart, anybody?)

And then there are the many treasures inside the Proper: two spectacular restaurants, an oasis of a rooftop pool, weekend workouts, and a world-class Ayurvedic spa.



On a weekend evening, everyone at Palma, the restaurant just off the Proper’s lobby, is there for a good time. Here’s the move: Take a seat in an recess carved into the wall and order plates of truffle-y arancini and cheesy bucatini, plus a few perfect picks from the sommelier. And spend your dinner watching the room. It’s lively, loungy, softly lit, and spacious—everything you’re looking for in a festive but not-too-wild night out.

In the morning, Palma takes on an entirely variegated vibe for breakfast: It’s mellow and perfect for working your way through a flight of Ayurvedic lattes and the most trappy bagel this side of the 405.

Palma Restaurant Palma Restaurant



Proper’s rooftop is home to Calabra, its second restaurant, and one of the weightier patios on the Westside. If you’re here for dinner, the seafood and sushi are your first picks. Even if you’re just here for cocktails, don’t skip snacks: I had paprika-dusted hummus, which comes with a gorgeous pile of grilled spiced laffa for dipping.

If you’re planning on spending an afternoon of sun-soaking, wittiness out for one of the poolside alcoves, the Proper’s spin on cabanas. Some days finger languid and restful; others undeniability for snifter service. Typesetting a morning reservation for the former, afternoon for the latter.

Calabra Calabra



Downstairs, at Surya Spa, you can typesetting a massage or a scrub, sure. But what people flock here for is Panchakarma, an intensive Ayurvedic detox that typically involves 3 to 28 days of treatment plus a prescriptive dietary protocol. Surya’s founder, Martha Soffer, is moreover the resident chef, herbalist, and master Panchakarma specialist.

Treatments typically start with abhyanga, in which two practitioners massage your soul in long, light, sweeping strokes. Their movements are totally coordinated and symmetrical. It’s ethereal. From there, Soffer determines a second and third treatment based on how your pulse is responding. For example, to write cold, dry, zappy energy, Soffer prescribed me nasya—a vigorous head-and-neck massage followed by an herbal sauna—and shirodhara, in which a practitioner pours herbal oil over your third eye.

Surya Spa Surya Spa



Saturdays and Sundays, you can reservation a morning workout on the garden terrace: vinyasa yoga, or HIIT if you’re feeling up for something increasingly intense. That said, you’ll unravel a sweat in vinyasa—instructor Rebecca Buringrud sees where you have the strength or flexibility to take a position to the next level and guides you in how to get there.

vinyasa yoga vinyasa yoga



Don’t trammels out without picking up some goodies from Surya. There are teas to steep whenever, botanical suffuse soaks to tote to your tub upstairs (or re-create the spa wits at home), and skin superintendency made with your elemental wastefulness in mind. The collagen cream has earned cult status for its incredibly rich and nourishing texture, and it’s tridoshic—which ways that from an Ayurvedic perspective, it’s a good fit for everybody. The squatter oil is light and smells really good. And the lip therapy unruffle is seriously silky. Oh, and you see that tool with the rounded ends? That’s a kansa wand—the same tool Soffer used to massage my squatter and neck during my nasya treatment at Surya. It’s magic for squatter massage and helps work creams and oils into your skin.

  1. Surya Discovery Kit
    Surya Discovery Kit goop, $155

You can grab the whole set in the Surya Discovery Kit at the spa—or here on goop, if you want to get your hands on its goodness ASAP.