Friday,  June 2, 2023  3:09 pm

"The best beach city”: Santa Monica shares California sunshine with travel trade

"The best beach city”: Santa Monica shares California sunshine with travel trade
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism and partners welcomed travel trade in Toronto Monday night (April 3). (Pax Global Media)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Los Angeles’ sun-kissed beach city, Santa Monica, brought some California sunshine to downtown Toronto Monday night (April 3), welcoming partners and travel agents at a meet-and-greet held at Second Floor Events, a lofty venue off King Street West.  

As part of its Canada sales mission, the team at Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), with luxury hotel partners in tow, mixed and mingled with a lively crowd, reminding all that Santa Monica is a premier beach destination that’s both sustainable and walkable.

“We're about 13 miles from LAX – the closest major city to the airport,” said Michael Gurrieri, chief marketing officer at SMTT. “You can make your stay beachside and still easily get to all the landmarks in Los Angeles.”

Santa Monica beaches are located west of downtown L.A. (Gerson Repreza/Unsplash)

The coastal city, located west of downtown L.A., is home to such attractions like the Pacific Park amusement park (featuring the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel), the Looff Hippodrome Carousel and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

The famous Santa Monica Pier – opened in 1909, the first concrete pier on the West Coast – is also known as one of the best fishing spots in town.

Visitors can dine at world-class restaurants, explore farmers markets, browse art galleries on Pico Boulevard or just soak up the energy along Main Street.

From left (of SMTT): Michael Gurrieri, chief marketing officer; Ozzie Otero, national sales manager. (Pax Global Media)

“We're the best beach city,” Ozzie Otero, national sales manager at SMTT, told PAX, noting that travellers who combine their stay in Santa Monica with another popular L.A. area, like Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, can easily get the “best of both worlds.”

And while Santa Monica is the epitome of laid-back beach luxury, it also has an “urban sophistication,” Gurrieri added.

“There are 170 street murals in Santa Monica,” he noted. “Visitors can get that city feel as well.”

“Something very special”

Santa Monica-based hotel partners in attendance last night included Fairmont Miramar Hotels and Bungalows, Shutters on the Beach, Casa del Mar and Regent Santa Monica Beach.

Santa Monica is represented in Canada by Pulse Travel Marketing, led by Sana Keller and Annika Klint.

“Santa Monica has something very special,” Keller told the crowd in her opening remarks. “It is L.A.’s beachside city, it’s a city where outdoor fun and family adventure abounds, it’s known as the second Silicon Valley, it’s a city where creativity abounds.”

Last night’s guests were all entered into a draw for a ticket for two to L.A. courtesy of Air Canada, which sponsored the evening. (The winner will be announced at a later date).

Happy Hour & bike-friendly roads

For Otero, one of his favourite things about Santa Monica is Happy Hour, which is when drink specials and discounted appetizers dominate the town’s restaurants and bars.

(His favourite local restaurant, by the way, is Cassia, an upscale eatery that serves French-Asian fare and fresh seafood).

Santa Monica is a bike and pedestrian-friendly city. (Unsplash/Jack Finnigan)

“It’s also exciting to sell the portfolio of Santa Monica hotels,” he said. “They're so different and diverse.”

Blessed with comfortable year-round weather, Santa Monica is all about living life outdoors, whether its shopping or enjoying beach activities like surfing or volleyball.

Santa Monica is also very walkable and bike-friendly, Gurrieri noted. Which you often don’t see in L.A. neighbourhoods.

“We are definitely looking at bringing back international travel,” Gurrieri told PAX. “Canada is one of our top markets.”

For the latest events coming up in Santa Monica, including Santa Monica Pier events, concerts, farmers markets, comedy shows and gallery viewings, click here.  

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