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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Make It A Feng Shui Stay – Santa Monica’s Ambrose Hotel

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Make It A Feng Shui Stay – Santa Monica’s Ambrose Hotel
Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
To read this entire feature FREE with photos cut and paste this link:
http://jetsettersmagazine.com/archive/jetezine/hotels/calif/ambrose/ambrose.html

Summer might be over, but the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, California, is a new boutique hotel that provides 'ambrosia' for the soul all year-around.

This extraordinary Asian-inspired property is tucked away in a residential neighborhood, just one block from the Wilshire business district, and a quick five minute drive from the Pacific Ocean. From the STay With Feng Shui At The Ambrose Hotelmoment my husband and I turned the corner from Wilshire Blvd. onto 20th Street, we were embraced by a tranquil elegance, unlike any city hotel I'd ever visited.

We discovered this place by accident. My husband and I decided to take a weekend trip and escape from life's problems and go to a UCLA football game. I was reluctant about going to LA considering I was already stressed to the max, and it seemed that any place we could afford in Los Angeles would feel like camping out, not exactly my idea of a relaxing getaway. But it was my best girl friend who recommended this little place in Santa Monica. She told us in her worldly way, "You can afford $160 a night. The Ambrose is known to be refreshingly affordable." I was concerned. What did she mean by that?

She assured me that the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica was brand new and I would be very impressed. She had just been there and told me that the décor and architecture were inspired by the legendary turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement, but with an Asian flair, a little like a California Mission town that was expertly Feng Shui'd! It sounded fascinating. My husband and I agreed it was worth checking out. But after fighting the LA traffic for more than a couple of hours I was sure I'd made the biggest mistake. There wasn't anything near Los Angeles that could be restful or relaxing. Besides what kind of place could offer rates that were so reasonable?

Thank goodness it was too late to turn back! From the minute we turned into the front of the hotel, we were embraced by a wave of warmth and relaxation that answered our prayers. The truth was that this place was especially designed for REST and RELAXATION. It was a "non-hotel", which made us feel immediately at home, except it was even better because it had every amenity of a luxury five-star hotel, without the dreaded expense.

The first thing I noticed was that it was so quiet. Except for the wind chimes in the Zen garden and the sound of the sea breeze fluttering in the huge bright, red silk, wind flags that boasted three large red hearts swirling in the air, there wasn't another sound to be heard. Even the water fall in the rock garden was soothingly silent as it spilled into the Japanese koi pond.

We were greeted by two beautiful hotel clerks in grey striped blazers. You could tell they loved this serene environment and were proud to be working for this 77- room hotel. The peaceful foyer/living room was decorated with rich, dark cherry hardwood floors, with luxurious Asian carpets. I quietly smiled inside, looking at the comfortable rocking chairs and the cozy library, I secretly knew I had accomplished my goal of finding a place to relax - even if we were going to a college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, another 45 minutes of traffic away!

Our room was on the third floor overlooking the Zen garden. Again, I was astounded by the sense of peacefulness as we were shown to our room! As we stepped out of the elevator an inviting fragrance attracted our attention. Even my husband noticed the scent and commented on how beautiful and refreshing the hotel corridor appeared. The dark, hard wood floors on the room floors were also inlaid with decorative Asian carpets that felt rich and luxurious. The art works on the walls were small miniatures of pages from a book on Oriental elements which pleased the eye and were quite intriguing to read.

It actually took me an extra five minutes to walk to our room as I read about each piece of art work. I didn't know it at the time, but this décor was part of the hotel's master plan to invite me to relax and forget about the stress of the LA freeways. Gazing at each different piece of art allowed me to enter another world that quieted and soothed my frayed nerves. I sensed my whole body beginning to harmonize with the luxurious elements that surrounded me, and I hadn't even been to my room yet!

As we put our key into the lock, and stepped into our room, we were again greeted with a tranquility and quiet elegance everywhere we looked. There was a dark wood multipurpose armoire/entertainment center that looked like a modern "take" of the turn-of-the-century Mission-style furnishings. But the hotel bathroom said it all. The bathroom floor was a rich blue speckled Gasgon floor, fresh Fretta robes hung invitingly on silver hooks, large Oriental bamboo stalks in a clear squared glass vase richly accented the limestone countertops. There were Japanese-style black lacquer boxes that housed a collection of tempting Aveda bath products. The mirrors were framed with a dark, cherry-stained wood that sparkled against the light gold and linen textured wall-coverings. My husband touched the wallpaper and commented that it made him feel at home.

The beds were the height of luxury. As I touched the chenille duvets, and silently rested my eyes on the deep olive green hue, my entire body melted into the sensory experience of what it means to truly RELAX! I lightly caressed my hand across the 700 thread count sheets that felt like silk. The textured accent pillows with touches of sangria were invitingly rich and luxurious. On the night stand, next to the bedside lamp that was made from nickel and wood, crowned with a crisp white linen shade, was a cordless phone. I loved the freedom a cordless phone gives you. "What a nice touch," I thought. "I could relax and call friends from the solitude of our patio." As I softly walked into the room, I noticed that our patio was elegantly appointed with exotic teak furnishings. What a great place to sit and read, or call my girlfriend and brag about our new discovery!

But what really caught my eye were the window treatments, the piece de resistance! The soothing earth tones shaded our room from the brilliant afternoon California sunshine. But it was the accent of the Oriental silk threads artistically woven in a geometric pattern that created the illusion that the drapery itself was a cherished piece of artwork. The sheer thrill of knowing that someone had given such great attention to the finest detail made me feel that The Ambrose was an auspicious place.

In Feng Shui, the ancient art of Chinese placement, when something feels auspicious, you will have good fortune and experience a golden opportunity. This truly was our golden opportunity to rest, relax and rejuvenate ourselves. I took a moment and sent my girlfriend a wireless prayer, thanking her for the recommendation.

This beautiful place piqued my curiosity. I wondered who was responsible for building such an extraordinary place in the middle of a quiet Santa Monica neighborhood?

My husband's curiosity was satiated by the comfortable bed and the remote control in his hand. He had come for the thrill of watching the Bruin, UCLA football team and a quiet time of sports and flipping channels. After watching him flip one too many channels, my curiosity got the best of me. I gave my husband and affectionate hug and kiss and left him in the quiet comfort of our beautiful room. He absent mindedly gave me a wave with the remote in his right hand as I exited the room. It hadn't taken him long to relax and forget we ever had problems.

I set out to explore the rest of the property and see if I could discover how this vision had become a reality. Did I mention that even the parking was free? This is almost unheard of in Los Angeles. No wonder Los Angeles was voted as one of the worst places to vacation in the U.S. I quietly reflected on how The Ambrose Hotel could certainly change that perception.

To read this entire feature FREE with photos cut and paste this link:
http://jetsettersmagazine.com/archive/jetezine/hotels/calif/ambrose/ambrose.html

Janice Wilson, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent – Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com To book travel visit Jetstreams.com at www.jetstreams.com and for Beach Resorts visit Beach Booker at www.beachbooker.com


About the Author

Janice Wilson, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com"

I love staying at hotels that are designed using Feng Shui principals (as someone who rents an apartment and is limited by that). It really gets me back to basics when I need it most!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

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