Monday, November 23, 2009

Santa Monica Hideaway - The Ambrose

The Ambrose Hotel

Befitting the Southern California locale, this lovely hotel features in-ground and container plantings enlivened by colorful, textural succulents and cycads. Santa Monica is a seaside town - an 8-square-mile community tucked within the city limits of Los Angeles, bolstered by a beautiful beach, the famous Pier, Ferris Wheel, and the vibrant 3rd Street promenade for dining, shopping, and night life. On a previous L.A. sojourn, I discovered this boutique hotel about a mile or so from the ocean. In a lovely part of Santa Monica, The Ambrose is walking distance to hip Montana Avenue, a stretch filled with restaurants, shops and galleries. Won over by the convenient, continental breakfast buffet with fresh organic fruit, I was smitten by the hotel's iconic London Taxi that allows guests to hop a ride to nearby attractions.The Ambrose is often fully booked, so when I planned my spontaneous recent trip, I shifted my dates slightly in order to stay 3 consecutive nights.

In the hotel's sequestered front garden, a pond and the sounds of falling water add up to a cool, soothing effect. The hotel's interior decor puts a contemporary twist on Arts & Crafts style, for a serenely comfortable atmosphere.

An Asian influence emerges in the layout of this enclosed space.

Variegated Aeonium plays off the dark strappy leaves of a Phormium in sunny, streetside plantings, while Kniphofias punctuate plantings along the front driveway.

The Ambrose composts, recycles, and as of last year, 
the hotel can boast LEED Silver certification for its conservations efforts, use of non-toxic products, and commonsense practices such as windows that open to let in fresh air! 

Landscape Architect:  Troller - Mayer Associates, Glendale, CA


  1. I envy your travels. I would have my bags stuffed full of cuttings, leaves of those succulents, or if I could manage it, a whole plant. They are gorgeous! I love the flagstone floor, too. I always like to see little plants growing between stones. I enjoyed this post, Alice.

  2. Janie
    It's not easy for a plantaholic to exercise control, but I do my best :~)
    Glad you liked reading about this Santa Monica retreat!

  3. Hi Alice~~ What a wonderful place! I actually have the variegated aeonium, although mine is a paltry comparison.

  4. Not to mention that the rooms are just as lovely as the intimate front yard courtyard space.
    I stayed at the Ambrose for a few nights 4 or 5 years ago when traveling with The Hortisexuals.
    Fantastic location.

  5. Hi Alice,

    Wow, what gorgeous photos. The succulents and the Eucalyptus make me feel like I am back in my hometown again :0)

  6. Hi Alice - How lovely to take a virtual tour of a warmer clime on this cold, dull PA day! I did enjoy your post. Pamela

  7. After putting all of my pots inside, bringing in 3 tender plants I'd like to survive and having two totally grey days with three more forecast...I have southern California lust! Will check out The Ambrose on my next trip.

  8. My husband and I have booked 7 nights there in january! We look forward to our stay at The Ambrose. Glad to see such a great report (along with great reviews that we've seen elsewhere).

    Your info on gardens in the area is very helpful!

    Chapel Hill, North Carolina