Enjoy the California Experience at Shutters on the Beach
One Pico at Shutters Hotel, Santa Monica, California

Shutters Hotel Shutters on the Beach is a luxury waterfront Hotel, on the beach at Santa Monica. It's a "must see" destination for well-heeled travelers visiting the area. For travelers seeking the true California experience, the appeal of a place like Shutters is simply too irresistible. Just like Chewton Glen in England, you are paying not only for luxury and ambience, but also for location and reputation. The hotel features 186 rooms and 12 suites in a design that emphasizes the California coast in the 1920s and 1930s, another world far removed from the area today. The lobby is a warm and inviting space with four separate seating areas all invoking a different feel, that includes lots of original artwork from artists as diverse as David Hockney and fellow British artist Howard Hodgkin. In fact Santa Monica has 65 galleries and museums to choose from, and the concierge at Shutters will be more than pleased to steer you in the right direction.

Private wine cellars are now installed in every guest room, offering a selection of 11 half bottles, including Nicolas Feuillant Rose Brut, N.V,; Francis Coppola, Chardonnay and Merlot, Napa Valley 97; B.V., Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 96: and Taylor Fladgate, Port N.V. Celebrities. Luminaries flock to this hotel where, since its inception and now, discretion remains a key to success.

Shutters Hotel Doing business California style is also vital to the Shutters success story so each room has two-line telephones with dataports, 24 hour room service, complimentary shoe shine, same day laundry and dry cleaning and business secretarial services. Latest addition to the hotel amenities for the businessman in a hurry is high speed, wireless Internet access that moves three times faster than the average DSL and over 56 times faster than a 56K connection. A full service health spa is also available for the executive on the run, or there is also the swimming pool with its white chaise lounges for soaking up the California sun. If you prefer to dine in your own room then each one has a small table for intimate meals overlooking the ocean. All bathrooms feature large oval whirlpool tubs

Bundles of articles and features have been written about the hotel since it opened in June 1993, so this late in the day article will mainly feature the hotel's flagship restaurant "One Pico". It is described in the press handout as providing a Cape-Cod like atmosphere with a California-influenced American menu. Restaurant chef Desi Szonntagh and Executive chef Jeff Littlefield have come up with a menu varied enough to satisfy most people in this 85 seater restaurant. The atmosphere is almost rustic and medieval with a nice feel from the fireplace in the lobby area.

Shutters Hotel Some of the highlights of the restaurant include the high back-chairs and giant water goblets, the sound of the ocean waves and stunning view as you dine, and of course the lively atmosphere. Some of the negatives include the rather patchy service from an enthusiastic and reasonably well informed waitress, and the miniscule portions of some of the dishes, especially the starters. For example, it proved impossible to get a refill on the bread That particularly applied to my starter of Steamed mussels with a spicy coconut and lemongrass broth ($12.50), and my wife's selection of a Shrimp and Maryland crab cake, asparagus, mushroom and corn salad (12.75), although I did love the sauce with the mussels.

The fusion dish of Moroccan spiced rack of lamb with cous cous and Japanese eggplant (31.00) is without a doubt the most adventurous dish on the menu, and was a real winner. I especially liked the pistachio based crust on the lamb cutlets, and the eggplant soaked in rice wine vinegar. The Filet of Halibut with risotto on a bed of asparagus and crabmeat left a little to be desired however. The American obsession with cheese was taken to extremes with a very strong presence on the risotto, and the halibut itself was too dry and very salty. Other examples of the menu at One Pico include Spaghetti, Linguini, Roasted Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, Swordfish, Ahi Tuna, Roast Chicken and Filet of Beef.

Desserts at the restaurant turned out to be very good however and the wine list is suitably expansive with a huge amount of Chardonnay's and Cabernet Sauvignons available. Our selection, the brilliant 1999 Marlborough Cloudy Bay from New Zealand at a pricey $65 a bottle indicated the class and breadth of the wine list. Overall the experience at One Pico was a good one despite the few glitches with the food and service, and we will be looking forward to returning in the near future.

Tel: 310-458-0030
Fax 310-458-4589

Lunch: Monday through Saturday, 11:30 to 14:30
Dinner: Every day 18:00 to 22:30
Sunday Brunch: 11:00 to 14:30
Restaurant reservations: 310-587-1717

Shutters on the beach

Hotel reservations: 1-800-334-9000

Mike Hepworth, June 2001

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