File photo.

By: Misti Kerns

The current public health pandemic has brought personal tragedies and economic hardships to communities around the world, and our beloved beachside city has been no exception, leaving many of our residents, employees and local businesses feeling the devastating impacts of COVID-19. Adding further tragedy to the crisis, widespread acts of vandalism at the end of May following peaceful protests derailed the first step in our business community’s recovery.

Bringing light to the darkness, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) is pleased to share that economic recovery is now back on track with the hospitality industry reaching an important milestone as Los Angeles County public health officials announced that leisure travel and hotel stays are now safely permitted.

The success of our local tourism industry will be crucial for the City of Santa Monica’s economic recovery as a whole. Tourism has long been a main economic driver for the city. In 2018, visitor spending injected nearly $2 billion into the local economy and overnight visitors contributed $58.6 million to the city’s general fund through the Transient Occupancy Tax. Prior to the pandemic, tourism also accounted for nearly 13,000 jobs.

The decimation of travel demand has resulted in a profoundly negative impact particularly on employees, small businesses, local restaurants, attractions and many other tourist-serving businesses. However, we are a resilient community and seeing our residents and businesses pulling together over the last few weeks has provided hope. If we make it a point to continue that support by making our purchases and booking overnight visits here at home, we can each positively contribute to rebuilding Santa Monica’s economy. Every dollar spent will help to propel the economy forward. Please, buy local and help to save our beloved businesses, they need your support more now than ever.

The travel industry is hard at work providing peace of mind with a safe and clean experience for all with special care and increased procedures and guidelines for cleaning and sanitation. Santa Monica’s plethora of outdoor spaces, from the 3.5 miles of coastline to many parks and wide-open public space encourages residents to come and re-explore their city while enjoying a nearcation with an overnight hotel stay.

“There’s nothing more important to us than the health and safety of all our guests and staff so we’ve taken extra care to increase our safety policies,” said Chef Susan Feniger who owns neighborhood hotspot Socalo along with Chef Mary Sue Milliken. “We’ll offer contactless payment options, digital menus, tables spaced six feet apart for social distancing, frequent sanitation of high touch surfaces and dining areas, and expanding our outdoor patio so we can seat more guests al fresco.”

While enjoying all that our beachside city offers visitors and residents are reminded to do their part to stay healthy by social distancing and wearing a face covering while outside. Hotels have also increased their focus on safety and sanitation measures to meet the demands of the moment.

“The safety, health, and happiness of our guests and colleagues is our top priority – and we have been working hard to establish new health and safety standards across all properties that are strictly in place as we open our hotels,” said Julien Laracine, Managing Director at Santa Monica Proper Hotel.

“These include extensive cleaning and sanitizing measures, social distancing in all areas of the hotel, limited number of room reservations accepted each night, keyless guest room entry option, no-touch payment options, no-contact food ordering and delivery, and much more.”

“The staff at Sea Shore Motel is ready to welcome everyone back and as a welcome back treat to our Santa Monica neighbors, the Metz family invites you back with a special rate,” said Sonia Metz, owner of Sea Shore Motel.

“As a family owned and run business, we are taking sanitation concerns with the utmost attention to detail and personally sanitizing all common areas three times a day. Rooms are now being kept open at least 24 hours between guests. We’ve also enhanced our cleaning service and just before check in a family member personally walks through the room giving it an extra touch of sparkle.”

Area hotels are coming together to serve their community by offering Santa Monica residents access to deeply discounted hotel room rates at 14 properties across the city’s world-famous hotel collection. Residents can secure exclusive discounted hotel rates by simply mentioning they are a resident while making the reservation over the phone or online, then showing proof of Santa Monica residency (California ID or drivers’ license) at check-in.

Please note that rates are subject to availability and blackout dates may apply. For a complete list of offers available to Santa Monica offers, see below or visit santamonica.com/local-hotel-offers/.

Gateway Hotel Santa Monica: 15% off room rate with parking included. Use Promo code “SMRB” on gatewayhotel.com

Hotel Shangri-La: 20% off room rate and daily amenity fee waived ($25 daily value). Email reservations@shangrila-hotel.com directly with “SM Resident Offer” in the subject line and an agent will reply back with the discounted rates for the dates that you are requesting

Huntley Santa Monica Beach: 35% discount and $50 food & beverage onetime credit (per stay) for a minimum two night stay; upgrade on arrival upon availability. Call 310-394-5454 to book

JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot: Discounted Destination Fee and 15% off the Best Available Rate (rate is based on availability). Visit marriott.com and enter in code “D3Q” for the booking code. The confirmation will say “Santa Monica Resident offer.”

Ocean Park Hotel: 20% discount off our Standard Queen Room rate (hotel features private guest rooms with shared restrooms). Use promo code “SMCARES” when booking on santamonicaoceanparkhotel.com or calling 310-429-1554

Ocean Park Inn: Book two nights and get the third night free of charge. Call 310-392-3966 to book

Ocean View Hotel: 20% off Room rates. Book online using this link or call (310) 458-4888 and reference code “LOCAL”

Palm Motel: Free one day Big Blue Bus pass per reservation. Mention “Big Blue Bus” upon check-in or when booking by calling (310) 452-3861

Rest Haven Motel: Book two nights and get the third night free of charge. Call 310-452-3977 to book

Santa Monica Proper Hotel: 30% off best available rate with complimentary parking and waived daily guest amenity fee. Book online using this link and use promo code “SMRO!”

Sea Shore Motel: $120 for standard rooms and $190 for deluxe suites or junior suites. Book through seashoremotel.com or call (310) 392-2787. In Guest Comments, enter “SM Resident” and the price will be adjusted. A new confirmation will then be sent updating the price.

Shore Hotel: 30% off Partial and Ocean view rooms. Book online using this link or call (310) 458-1515 and reference code “LOCAL”

SureStay Hotel by Best Western – Santa Monica: $109 plus taxes. Call (310) 450-5766 and ask for “the Santa Monica Neighbor Rate”

Wyndham Santa Monica – At The Pier: 10% off room rate plus free parking (only self-parking is available). Book online using this link and use rate code “LPK1”