Pool: Renovations to the pool are part of the work. Courtesy image

The Wyndham Hotel on the Esplanade near the Santa Monica Pier closed up shop earlier this year and the structure has spent the past several months in a cocoon of scaffolding, but it will soon emerge as the upscale Pierside Santa Monica, a boutique hotel. 

The 60-year-old hotel, which occupies a prime spot steps from the foot of the Pier, is undergoing an extensive renovation in preparation for an opening expected in early 2023. Part of that renovation includes converting an existing 1,202-square-foot restaurant into an extended lobby area, plus the construction of an 829-square-foot uncovered wooden deck in the adjacent public right-of-way. 

The application for the renovations was submitted by Felcor Santa Monica Owner, LLC, evidently part of FelCor/RLJ Lodging Trust, a multi-billion dollar real estate investment trust that runs dozens of high-end and luxury hotels around the country.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the California Coastal Commission was set to receive a report on a Coastal Development Permit waiver detailing the renovations, which are taking place within the Coastal Zone and therefore governed by the Coastal Act. 

“The project includes interior remodel of the ground floor to re-configure existing retail, restaurant, and lobby uses within the existing area, in addition to construction of a new deck with exterior restaurant service floor area,” according to a brief description provided in staff reports for the upcoming Coastal Commission hearing, which will take place in Salinas, Calif., and be live streamed. “The proposed deck will encroach 16.5-ft. into the existing 32.5-ft. wide public right-of-way, but the City has provided a letter of support for the proposed deck. The City wishes to alleviate sidewalk congestion on the other side of Ocean Avenue by drawing visitors to the proposed new restaurant area. The project will maintain a 16-ft. wide public right-of-way which exceeds ADA requirements. The reconfiguration of existing uses will not significantly increase the need for parking and the hotel is located within 0.5 mile of public transit.”

LA County parcel maps state the existing 132-room hotel was constructed in 1966, prior to the passage of the Coastal Act. The hotel’s 96 parking spaces would not be affected by the changes. 

According to California Coastal Commission Executive Director Jack Ainsworth and Coastal Program Analyst Chloe Seifert, the proposed changes are in line with the City’s Land Use Plan as well as previous Coastal Commission actions in the area.

Although the Pierside was still under active construction as of mid-November, its website is live and shows images of sun-drenched Santa Monica Beach alongside mock-ups of future guest rooms and suites. The swimming pool area, which abuts the McClure Tunnel, appeared to have received a makeover, with the website touting an “outdoor saltwater pool” on top of other amenities like name-brand toiletries and bathrobes, plus complimentary reusable water bottles.

Online reservations appeared to be open beginning in mid-January 2023, with hotel rooms ranging in price from $449 to $779 per night depending on room type and date. 

According to santamonica.com, luxury Santa Monica hotels feature average daily rates over $300, placing the Pierside squarely into the “luxury” range.


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