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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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
Open since 2000 Cezanne has gone through three chefs. Executive Chef Desi Szonntagh is currently accepting well-founded accolades for a savory
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
The menu also offered Wild California Salmon with Honey Shallot Glaze and Baby Articoke Barigoule ($26), sautéed Jumbo Shrimp with Porcini Risotto, Ginger Red Wine Sauce ($28), Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Chanterelles, Swiss chard Israeli Couscous, and Pinot Noir Essence ($26).
Hoss came by to see how we were enjoying our main course. When we told him how much we appreciated the music he told us that Robert Carpenter used to play at the Waldorf in New York. He explained that every Monday Cezanne invites a different winery for a wine tasting event. Thursday night was Bistro Night, featuring steak and French fries.
To leave our palates with a fresh, crisp sweetness Hoss brought us each a glass of Joseph Phelps, Eisrebe, Napa Valley Ice Wine. Ice Wine is rare and exceptionally delicious.
When I Fall in Love ended and it was time to say our goodbyes. Hoss introduced us to Robert Carpenter, a man who clearly loves what he does. We got his new CD “a little this…a little that” so that we could enjoy Cezanne’s charming, upbeat ambiance at home.
The accommodations proved to be as comfortable as they appeared. We ventured out onto the balcony into the chilly night air to appreciate the Queen’s Necklace as the glittering, multicolored lights outlining the coastline are called. Then we sank into the featherbed for a truly fitful night’s sleep. At 11 a.m. the next morning I was looking forward to a Hot Rock massage at The Spa Le Merigot. Its reputation among
The next morning brought more blue water and clear skies. We headed back to Cezanne for breakfast, and the cool, crisp sea air outside on the veranda with colorful blue umbrellas over tables with blue and white checked tablecloths and cobalt water goblets.
Jessica Etheridge, a young woman who moved to
Dave and I ordered and sat back, enjoying the ocean and listening to the soothing sounds of water trickling down a Zen rock fountain. Birds flew over to a bird feeder across the courtyard. It was a very pleasant way to start the day.
There were more dishes that looked intriguing. The Buttermilk Meyer Lemon Pancakes with Vermont Maple Butter and Syrup ($9.75) and the Parisien freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, Crepes with Fromage Blanc and Fresh Market Berries, coffee, milk, or tea selection ($16.95) would be considered the next time.
Spa Le Merigot
Nina, my masseuse turned out to be an extremely nice French woman, married to an American. She led me to one of the eight treatment rooms, and after a brief discussion and the realization that I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders she asked if I wouldn’t rather have a Deep Tissue massage. A Hot Rock massage is wonderful, but Deep Tissue seemed like the right choice, and as I discovered an hour and a half later, it was exactly what I needed.
I met Spa Director, Noemi Garih who extolled the quality of the products and treatments the spa offers. “We consider The Spa Le Merigot an oasis of tranquility offering treatments and services designed to assist our guests in feeling and looking their absolute best.”
The health club provides licensed and certified instructors who teach Yoga, Aqua Tone water aerobics, and the Pilates method. Le Merigot also offers private surfing lessons with a resident surfing instructor. There is an outdoor Spa Terrace deck overlooking the pool and the ocean. The gym features the latest in Cybex cardiovascular equipment, as well as Precor elliptical machines and treadmills.
Before reaching the elevator I passed Le Troquet, a charming lobby bar that stretches outside with comfortable couches and teak tables and chairs. It is perfect for meeting friends, having a quiet drink or even smoking a cigar. They serve hors d’oeuvres and a host of fine liquor brands.
Feeling relaxed and refreshed, Dave and I were ready to visit one of the most beautiful sights in Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty Museum. The concierge at Le Merigot gave us the best route and told us the museum has ample parking.
Off we went for a wonderful adventure in art and architecture. The Getty sits high above
We considered placing our order for the complimentary morning coffee, delivered to our room, but decided to go back to Cezanne for breakfast before checking out. Both of us had enjoyed the food and atmosphere and wanted to sample a few more dishes.
Upon entering the dining room we were warmly welcomed back by Jessica. She remembered that we had begun with orange and grapefruit juice and we were only too happy to begin with them again. Dave ordered the Sunrise Quesadilla with chicken sausage, asparagus, cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, salsa, and guacamole ($13.75). I ordered the Belguin Sourdough Waffle. It tasted so delicious the day before I chose it over the Buttermilk Meyer Lemon Pancakes. The Applewood Smoked Bacon was so delicious that we decided to share an order.
Our experience at Le Merigot was both comfortable and memorable. It is a charming boutique hotel with 10,000-square-feet of event and meeting space, 175 luxury guest accommodations, including 15 suites, the 6,500 square-foot spa and health club, and of course, Cezanne. The European-style hotel is located nine miles north of
By Linda Lane, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.