Oceana Santa Monica, LXR by Hilton: Bottom Line Review


Hilton has some of the most flexible free night certificates of any major hotel chain (that you can get with a credit card). You can use them for a standard room at almost any Hilton property, regardless of what the nightly cost is in cash or points.

While there’s a bunch of great places to use these certs internationally, in North America the options become a bit more slim, due in large part to the paucity of “luxurious” Hiltons in our neck of the woods. So in 2021, when Hilton opened up a brand new LXR property in Santa Monica, it generated some buzz as an appealing property for certs in a very desirable location. Since the initial opening, it’s received uniformly excellent reviews.

My wife and I were looking for a location for a quick getaway a couple weeks ago and had two Hilton certs to burn. We decided to pay the Oceana a visit and see what all the fuss was about.

Oceana Santa Monica Bottom Line Review

Overall, both my wife and I enjoyed the Ocean Santa Monica. The location, ~.75 miles north of Santa Monica Pier, puts you close to most of what makes Santa Monica appealing, but away from the middle of the main tourist fracas. It’s a small, relaxed property, with spacious, comfortable rooms and an elegant feel; walking up to the lovely, ivy-strewn exterior feels like you’re entering a private club. That said, if I was paying $900 or 105,000 points per night to stay here, I couldn’t help but be underwhelmed; it feels like a hip, stylized renovation of an older motel. While I wouldn’t call it a destination to seek out (like Zemi Beach House or the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos), it was nice for a short getaway, and a decent place to burn some free night certificates. Thumbs up

  • Price: We used two free night certificates (that we got from our Hilton Aspire and Surpass cards) when we stayed. The points rate would have been 105K/night and the cash rate was ~$900/night, including taxes and fees.
  • Value: From a strict cost per point perspective, this is almost always an excellent value. FM values the average redemption of Hilton points at 0.48 cents each and this would have been double that had we actually paid in points. Getting over $900+/night value from the free night cert was even better.
  • Location: The hotel is located in a quieter location on northern Ocean Ave, about a 15-20-minute walk to Santa Monica Pier and downtown Santa Monica. Palisades Park is right across the street and, although the hotel is sometimes referred to as “oceanfront,” in reality the beach is about a 10-15 minute walk down the Palisades and over the freeway.
  • Room: We booked a base-level “Deluxe King” and were pro-actively upgraded to a 750-square foot, One Bedroom Lanai Suite (one category upgrade). The room was spacious and quite lovely, reminding me of a St Regis…if a slightly weathered one. The furnishings are elegant and comfy, the carpets and bedding are plush. There are some downsides, however. Our room was on the first floor and the outside and upstairs noise was significant: we could clearly hear the conversations of anyone walking past on the sidewalk, as well as the footsteps and movement in the room above us. The bathrooms are oddly confined, with less counter space than I’ve seen in a hotel in some time. Also, while plenty of rooms in the hotel have a private balcony, for some reason the “lanai” suite does not, despite the name. Evidently “lanai” refers to a space with an odd hanging chair in front of the room entrance. All that said, the room was very comfortable overall.
  • Parking: Valet parking is $65/night, but there are copious parking spots along the street right in front.
  • Resort/Destination Fee: $45/night (waived on award stays). Includes:
    • Guest internet
    • Daily yoga classes (not offered while we were there)
    • Complimentary beach cruiser bike rental
    • Complimentary house car transportation within 1 mile radius
    • 2 bottled waters daily
    • 2 beach towels
  • Internet: Both in our room and on the sunset lounge on the third floor, WiFi was spotty and at times surprisingly weak. In our room, on the opposite corner of the hotel from the front desk, my phone was consistently switching to broadband because the WiFi signal was so dim.
  • Service: Overall, very good…if unremarkable. There was only one person working the front desk when we arrived, and there were two fairly “high-needs” groups in front of us, causing check-in to take a while (additionally the front desk agent’s computers were painfully slow). Housekeeping, valets and restaurant servers were all efficient and we didn’t have any real service lapses.
  • Turndown service: Not sure? Each night, we had fresh water bottles waiting for us when we got back to our room, but no one actually turned down the bed or left anything besides water.
  • Dining:
    • Sandpiper: Small, chic dining room in the front of the property, with about 10 tables and views over Palisades Park and a bit of the ocean. Although it’s open to anyone, it only really serves guests. We had breakfast here both mornings and, overall, the food quality was very good. The prices are, unsurprisingly, stratospheric. Two coffees and two breakfast entrées came out to ~$100 each morning after tax and tip. Open daily for breakfast from 7:00-11:30am, lunch from 12:00-4:30pm and dinner from 5-9:30pm.
    • Veranda: Although it’s billed as a separate restaurant, this is simply a wooden, outdoor patio that has the same kitchen, menu and servers as Sandpiper.
    • Sunset Lounge: Again, this is listed as a separate lounge, but is really a public hangout space on the third floor. You can have food and beverage here if you want, but you take it up.
  • Spa: There is a small treatment room by the fitness area that functions as the “spa.” It didn’t seem like anyone was onsite, but rather offsite providers are brought in when services are requested.
  • Fitness Room: There is a fairly small, but well-outfitted, fitness area on the basement level. For the size, it has a decent variety of cardio and resistance equipment.
  • Hilton Diamond Benefits: 
    • Room Upgrade: We booked the base King Deluxe Room and were proactively upgraded pre-arrival to a One Bedroom Lanai Suite. There was some confusion at check-in, as evidently the room we were actually assigned wasn’t an upgraded room. However, the front desk agent caught the mistake before he gave us our keys and reassigned us to an upgraded room.
    • Food and Beverage credit: $25 per person/per day and can’t be used for room service. Our $50 credit covered about half of our daily breakfast for two (including taxes, fees and tip).
    • Late Checkout: Didn’t need one, but was offered 2pm at check-in.
    • Welcome Amenity: None
  • Would I stay again?  We definitely enjoyed the hotel, and its location…it’s a nice place to stay. However, for the price in cash and points, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to come back, unless I needed to be in Santa Monica for some reason.


  • Very good location in a quieter part of Santa Monica.
  • Rooms are quite spacious and nicely furnished.
  • The food at the restaurant is tasty, if expensive.
  • Right across the street from the lovely Palisades Park.
  • Overall, the property has an appealing laid back feel, while managing to convey plenty of California chic.


  • For such a small property, the internet is surprisingly spotty.
  • While the rooms are nice, the bathrooms are quite small, with almost no counter space.
  • Santa Monica beach is great, but the actual water is about 15 minutes away, and you have to walk down the cliffs, over a freeway and another couple blocks to get to it.
  • Because of the cost of the food, the daily food and beverage credits are really only good for about 1/2 of what breakfast costs.
  • In-room noise was significant (on the first floor, anyway).

Image Gallery

Oceana Santa Monica One Bedroom Lanai Suite

We expected the “Lanai Suite’ to actually have a lanai (or porch). Evidently, this swing by the entrance is what was considered the lanai.

This little “love nest” off to the side of the living room was cool, if a bit impractical.
Living Room
Mini bar and coffee service is located inside the in the living room.

There isn’t a ton of counter space in the bathroom.

Oceana Santa Monica Pool

From above, you can see the heart shape of the pool.

Oceana Santa Monica Beach

The hotel is located atop the Palisades, so you have to walk down two sets of ramps and cross the Highway in order to get to the beach.

Santa Monica beach is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.

Oceana Santa Monica Restaurants


Window tables at Sandpiper.
Image courtesy of Hilton
Bagel and Lox plate at Sandpiper ($32)
Ocean Breakfast Burrito at Sandpiper ($30)

The Veranda

Sunset “Lounge”

Third floor Sunset Lounge is open for seating. You can also bring food and beverages here.

View from Sunset Lounge (also more or less the view from the upper-floor, ocean view rooms).

Oceana Santa Monica Fitness Area and Spa

The “spa” is made up a couple of treatment rooms behind the fitness center.

Oceana Santa Monica Exterior

The ivy on the outside of the building is incredible.
Front entrance
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Interesting hotel, seems like it’s trying to be something it’s not. From this review rooms seem quite nice, the central courtyard and sunset lounge have a “hip” look but aren’t quite exuding modern luxury. Doesn’t feel like the redesign is leaning into what the original hotel build might have been, what with the odd lanai setup and tiny bathroom counters.

This place would make more sense as a Canopy or Tapestry property at a more reasonable price point (guessing for that area more like $600/night or 80K – 85K points?).

be the ball

Many moons ago when I was a VP of Operations for a boutique hotel company, this was one of the properties I oversaw.

Sounds like the soundproofing issues are still there almost 20 years later…lolol.

Whitey Bulger

Catherine and I used to go for Brunch here all the time, fabulous.


lol Whitey


I also stayed here using 2 free certs. This review is spot on.


Nice write-up. Seems like a decent enough place to burn certs if unable to get to a more aspirational hotel.

I’ve always struggled with some of the hype and marketing used by this hotel. As you point out, you’re not a “beach hotel” if it’s a 10-15 minute hike to the beach, over a busy road at that. When you finally get there, there’s no “complimentary” (incl in resort fee) cabanas, refreshments, or facilities available. Typically a place pushing $1k/nt would have that. Back at home base, you get an enclosed courtyard pool like you find at many old-build motels (obviously much more “churched up”), and no hot tub. I struggle to see what the value-prop is for anyone paying cash or points here. Maybe I just don’t get it.


This entire review is largely why I can’t really get excited about Hilton as even a secondary program to our favorite, Hyatt. The brand standards are pretty paltry domestically, and the $25 credit (still not adjusted after so much inflation in the last couple years) is a joke, honestly. For us, it’s Hyatt #1 and IHG as our secondary program. The only real reason to go Hilton as a secondary program might be international stays where the brand standards are far higher, but then again we tend to prefer Hyatt for international as well. We just stayed at a Mr and Mrs Smith in Florence – using the gift card deal they had – getting 5 Hyatt night stays for 4 nights in a SUPERB boutique hotel, plus a ton of Hyatt points buying the gift cards using our WOH card. If Hyatt manages to give us loyalists a good deal on Mr and Mrs Smith points redemptions for Hyatt points, even more reason to stick with Hyatt for international.


They also said the computers were “down” during our stay in October, and they were not able to offer yoga during our stay. I agree with the review, but I would not stay again.

Greek Blogger

NO YOGA! Count me out.


I’ve stayed here on free night certs and I agree entirely with Tim’s take. It’s a good property in a good location but man for the cash / points price, it’s a bit underwhelming. I also recall the front desk being very, very slow. I don’t typically care about much in hotels to be honest, but if check in takes more than 5 minutes, that’s a mark against the property for me. Especially for expensive properties – where is the money going if not to pay staff?


pro-actively upgraded” I have seen this term used before. What does it mean? Is it different then just being upgraded?


I’ve assumed it means being upgraded without needing to ask the front desk at check in for an upgrade.

Nick Reyes

Yes, that is how I would both interpret and use that phrase.


Something I noticed about this property is that it doesn’t show up under the “resorts” list put out by Hilton where the Aspire credits are eligible.