I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead


Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Stuffing and serenity are a hard combination to come by during the holidays, but I found both during a mini staycation at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows this Thanksgiving. Having just visited my family in Ohio last month (and flight prices and my work schedule being what they are), I’d been on the fence about traveling home again for the sake of sweet potato pie. Hence, when an opportunity to stay in Santa Monica’s first wellness suite appeared in my inbox, I jumped at the chance to treat myself on turkey day. Now that I’ve experienced the good vibes at the property, which is located less than 30 minutes from my apartment in Los Angeles, I can’t imagine not returning for the next holiday or a simple weekend getaway.

The Hotel

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is steeped in old Hollywood history, which is a cool bonus for me as an entertainment journalist. Having welcomed the likes of Marilyn Monroe in its early days, the five-acre resort first developed in the 1920s blends historic charm with modern amenities that lean into the So Cal lifestyle, like a beach club and 1930s-style bungalows in addition to a variety of guest rooms and suites.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

I’ve long been a fan of self-sustained properties that you don’t have to leave for anything unless you truly want to and Fairmont Miramar checks all the boxes on that list. It has its own coffee shop, barbershop, and the Exhale Spa and fitness studio, which features barre and yoga classes, a sauna and steam room, and indoor and outdoor workout spaces with a variety of machines, free weights and equipment. (I highly recommend the outdoor terrace, which overlooks the pool and Miramar gardens where you’ll find kettlebells, plyo boxes, bikes, TRX ropes and more.) There’s no shortage of dining options on site either, which I’ll get into later.

The Suite

The Serenity Suite is one of Fairmont Miramar’s newest accommodations, and at 800 sq ft. with a king bedroom, living/dining area, kitchenette, half bath, and the most luxurious en suite bathroom you’ll likely ever experience, the space truly feels like a home away from home—or one that you wish was your home.

It’s not just the expansiveness of the suite that makes it special however, or the natural light coming in from the room, which faces the city. It’s the details and customizability of nearly every feature within it that ensure you’ll have one of the best hotel stays possible, starting with that exquisite bathroom I mentioned earlier.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Courtesy of author

I’m still kicking myself for not taking the time to soak in the gorgeous standalone tub while watching a Hallmark movie on the built-in TV, but that’s only because I was equally mesmerized by the standing shower, which features a shower head dechlorinator infused with Vitamin C. I live and breathe by Vitamin C for my skin and I can tell LA’s hard water has taken its toll on it, so there was nothing that could keep me from fully dousing myself underneath that refreshing goodness as often as possible. The shower also has a steam feature that you can control from a nearby digital keypad that gives a spa-like steam room experience from the privacy of your own suite. I won’t spend too much time on this additional feature because it would be weird…but the Toto bidet with its warm seat, varying water pressure and position options, drying capability, and motion sensor was a luxury I never knew I needed. The vanity desk and lighted mirror off to the side of the bathroom also encouraged me to take my time getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy the process rather than rush through it over the bathroom sink as I usually do, which gave me another one of those mental “you’re on vacation” cues.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Courtesy of author

In the living area, a variety of loose-leaf teas from Fairmont’s exclusive luxury collection were waiting for me on the dining room table along with cups, kettles, sweeteners and anything else I’d need to enjoy a soothing sip. There’s also the opportunity to partake in the hotel’s new Afternoon High Tea Service if you don’t want to make your own.

In the adjoining kitchenette mini-fridge, fresh juice shots made with ginger and turmeric were there for the taking along with healthy snacks to lean into wellness from the inside out. One of the coolest features in the space is the Lululemon Studio Mirror that allows you to get a workout in right inside your room. A yoga mat and block, resistance bands, balance ball, and foam roller are all right at your fingertips as well depending on your fitness modality of choice. And the locally sourced aromatherapy roll-ons also help keep the good vibes flowing long after your sweat session.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Courtesy of author

Now for the sleep part, which is usually my favorite part of a hotel stay. I normally don’t know what it is that allows me to sleep better when I’m away from home, but after staying in the Serenity Suite I can pinpoint the exact differences. The first is the New Bryte Balance™ mattress that can be customized to your liking. With a simple scan of a qr code conveniently located by the bed, I was able to choose the firmness of my bed. And if you’re sharing the bed, you can even choose to apply your preference to only one side and your partner can do the same so there’s no arguments before the lights go out. An air purification system by Molekule is also in the corner of the bedroom, and as an allergy sufferer, Friday morning was one of the first times in a long time that I woke up without feeling any stuffiness or congestion. Turndown service also made it quite easy to crawl into bed after dinner and fall swiftly asleep.

The Food

One of the biggest draws to the property for this holiday in particular was the Thanksgiving meal offered in the hotel’s Fig Restaurant and Lobby Lounge. I dined outside in the latter Thursday night under the stars (and a heat lamp) listening to the calming sounds of the nearby waterfall pond. The scenery perfectly complemented the elevated meal of slow-roasted free-range turkey, heirloom apple and sage stuffing, sweet potato puree, garlic lemon green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pomegranate, and a spiced cranberry orange compote served with turkey and giblet gravy.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Courtesy of author

For dessert, the chef created a pumpkin crème Brulé tart. Admittedly, I was tempted to veer away from the traditional offering in favor of the king salmon or steak frites made with grass-fed wagyu on the regular menu, but I was left with not a single regret after finishing my plate.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Fig – Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

The next morning, I had one of my favorite breakfast dishes, chilaquiles, at Fig, whose vast menu includes the typical morning staples—pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes, etc.—cooked in a variety of ways. Had I stayed more than one night, I would’ve made sure to eat dinner at Soko Sushi where Chef Masa Shimakawa crafts an assortment of fresh of rolls and sashimi.

The Scene

I can thank Fairmont Miramar for allowing me to finally experience the Santa Monica Pier as the property is located right across the street from the Santa Monica State Beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Friday afternoon I walked the trail alongside other visitors, taking in the picturesque trees and tranquility as the crowd gradually began to build the closer I got to the pier. On the other side of the road were a number of dining options to choose from. The bustle along the street and sidewalk was noticeably manageable for a holiday weekend and a welcome departure from the noise and traffic of Koreatown where I live. And it would’ve been easy to make a day out of strolling along the boardwalk, lying out in the sand, or riding rollercoasters at the amusement park.

I Skipped The Stress Of Thanksgiving Travel This Year And Booked A Staycation Instead
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

After my leisurely wandering, it was time to pack up my weekender and head back home. The refreshing feeling of my stay at the Fairmont Miramar remained with me as I pulled into my garage some 30 minutes later asking myself why I’d never done this before. With Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff at the Fairmont saw my face again very soon for another dose of much-needed serenity.



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