Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the Santa Monica Proper Hotel is a beachfront hotel with a distinct sense of place. The climate, history and iconography of the city are the inspiration for the hotel‘s identity and inherent narrative.
The reception area features artful interpretations of iconic coastal elements, such as a hand-carved desk with lines reminiscent of a seashell and a sand-soaked gesso canvas. The recycled oak hardwood floor has an octagonal pattern inspired by the bird’s-eye view of a parasol, while a bronze chain-link sculpture with a neon tube stands 9 feet tall.
Kelly Wearstler drew inspiration from Santa Monica‘s classic history in designing the hotel, both visually and culturally, to emphasize a modern design. The public spaces feature eye-catching objects sourced from collaborations with L.A. artisans for original artwork and monolithic installations, including Ben Medansky, Morgan Peck, Tanya Aguiniga, Len Klikunas and Bradley Duncan.
A mix of new and old pieces makes for a layered aesthetic and a sense of the unexpected. In this boutique hotel, interior designer Kelly Wearstler has tamed her signature flair for eclectic materials and textures into a neutral palette.
The Santa Monica Proper features 271 guest suites spread across the landmark building and new construction. Wearstler chose floral wallpaper and deeper hues for the rooms in the existing building and a muted, neutral color palette for the rooms in the addition. The textiles and wall coverings are from the designer‘s own collection.
“We wanted to design a hotel where it felt like you’re in Santa Monica (…). The inspiration came from everything that surrounds the hotel, the palm trees, the organic nature of the architecture, everything that you would find at the beach.”Kelly Wearstler at Dezeen
The project was named Hotel of the Year in 2020 at the AHEAD Americas Hospitality Awards, winning in the Guest Rooms and Lobby & Public Spaces categories.
Photography: The Ingalls