A sizable crowd gathered on Ocean Avenue yesterday morning for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official reopening of the refurbished Georgian Hotel.

Arguably the city’s most notable architectural contribution to Santa Monica’s ocean-facing skyline, the Georgian Hotel had only been partially open since February and before that it had been completely closed for renovations and construction work since October 2022.

Jon Blanchard, owner and manager of the Georgian, said, “I’d been trying to acquire this particular hotel for about 13 years, from back when we first started our company.” The company he’s referring to is Blvd Hospitality, the same company responsible for developing the Ace Hotel and the Soho Warehouse, both in downtown Los Angeles.

“We were very fortunate that in the summer of 2020, after a long pursuit, the previous ownership group decided that it was time to sell and so we stepped in and acquired it at the end of 2020,” Blanchard says. “And we’ve spent the last two plus years in development, design and we started construction in March of ‘22. And now, here we are.”

Assembled dignitaries included Mayor Gleam Davis, Mayor Pro Tempore Lana Negrete, Councilmembers Phil Brock and City Manager David White. However, what made this particular ribbon cutting ceremony refreshing was having Edgar Perez and Virginia Carmelo represent the Gabrielino-Tongva native American tribe.

Perez, while battling against the background noise of day-to-day Ocean Ave traffic, provided a condensed-but-captivating summary on the history of Santa Monica and how it came to be before Carmelo performed a traditional sage blessing that cleansed the air, the land and the water and bestowed good health and good fortune on the historic hotel, which also celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

Virginia Carmelo, representing the Gabrielino-Tongva native American tribe, performs a traditional sage blessing, cleansing the air
Photograph: Scott Snowden

Fans of Italian cuisine — who are currently enjoying a localized renaissance further fueled by Bar Monette opening later this week — will be thrilled to hear that the Georgian is opting for a Italian themed menu, albeit a generalized one. The dining experience is under the direction of Chef David Almany, who joins from upscale eatery Osteria Mozza on Melrose Ave under Chef Nancy Silverton for almost a decade.

Australian Jerom Morris will manage the bar and Kristin Olszewski will serve as Wine Director, both will feature Italian themed offerings.

“The food that you’ll see is more like an Amalfi Coast style, so a little bit of pasta, but not too heavy and no pizza. We want a coastal feel, because we’re right by the ocean, so lots of sea food,” Jerom Morris, bar manager and beverage director says.

“I wanted to include a lot of aperitifs, Amaro for example, and that very European culture to the experience. We’ll be rotating the cocktail menu seasonally and there will be a lot of pairing from the chef, incorporating garnishes and infusions and flavors, keeping the concept very Italian, with rare and raw ingredients, natural flavors, simplicity and elegance.”


Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.