Passion Points: Escape
For west coasters there’s no better beach to walk your dog on in summer than Carbon Beach in Malibu (a.k.a. Billionaire’s Beach). Last week, when I was in L.A., the Times reported that summer rentals have reached new record prices, and that few beachfront properties should be left by the end of this month. By July, locals like Goldie Hawn and Larry Ellison will be sharing the sand and sea and canyon hiking trails with those lucky renters. Thanks to David Geffen’s elegant redo of the Malibu Beach Inn, though, you may still be able to get a room with an ocean view as well as access to the hottest lunch spots in town. (See below for how to get a day membership.) Geffen spent two years and more than $10 million dollars modernizing the three-story beachfront hotel, which commands a prime spot on the beach just south of the Malibu pier. Art from Geffen’s own collection hangs on walls throughout, so you can sip margaritas in your flip-flops with an endless summer outlook of the Pacific to the west and a wall of David Hockney’s views of L.A. to the east. What the forty-seven rooms lack in space (they range from 400 to 600-square-feet), they make up for in location.
After all, this is where celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Matthew McConnaughey, Cindy Crawford, Adam Sandler and Mel Gibson relax by the sea. It’s not technically a private beach, though moguls, including Geffen, did wage a local battle to make it so. There are hard-to-find public access points from the highway, but most days homeowners and hotel guests seem to have it to themselves. And the beach is the star attraction. The inn has no pool, no gym, no spa, not even bathtubs in the guestrooms. Whether you are in the lobby bar or the privacy of your room, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the surf just steps away. Critics may complain that the understated interior design of beige walls and brown upholstery accented by white orchids could be anywhere. Ah, but it’s not anywhere. Here, you are an instant member of Malibu’s only beach club. The concierge will set you up with a chaise on the sand (where your laptop may still tap into the hotel’s WiFi), arrange surfing lessons and book you a table at the hotel’s own restaurant (inside or out on the terrace) or at Geoffrey’s, where being a friend of Mr. Geffen’s gets you preferential seating. Many of the rooms have fireplaces and all have beachfront balconies and sound-proof doors to keep the noise of the highway out so you can leave your terrace door open and hear the sound of the crashing waves. Yes, you’d have more space if you rented your own house but you might not have such great service. And if you stayed with David at his compound down the beach, you’d have to be an amusing houseguest. Rooms from $325, depending on the day and size of room; weekend rates are higher.
N.B. Avoid the partial view king rooms. And remember even the suites do not have bathtubs, nor is there a pool. For the nearest coastal spot with great tubs (they even come with rubber ducks) and poolside pampering, head south down Highway 1 to Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica.
Indagare Tip: Come for the day. You can pay a daily membership fee to the Carbon Beach Club and for $75 secure a chaise on the beach, a sunscreen kit, priority seating at the restaurant and complimentary valet parking.
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