The Ambrose Hotel Santa Monica

The Ambrose Hotel – an inclusive experience in Santa Monica

Between the highrises of Downtown LA and the serene Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica is one of California’s most sought after locales. Located in a discreet residential neighbourhood, The Ambrose Hotel is the perfect place to drop your bags on a trip to sunny Santa Monica. Mr Hudson speaks to Erik Kreft, General Manager, about the Ambrose brand and some of his favourite places.

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Tell us about yourself

I’m a California native who has lived across the US and internationally. Service trained by Disney, Apple and The Ritz-Carlton, certified as a practitioner in Neuro-linguistic Programming, I’m a passionate hotelier who use to be a drummer in an LA-based Rock band. In fact, I still perform throughout LA and Orange County with my singer. What I love about playing music is the connection with the other musicians on stage. Always looking out to complement each other, not trying to be centre stage at every moment but by playing dynamically and with a higher sense of self, to create something as a group and give that experience to the audience. Similar to the way I like to create experiences for the guests in the hospitality industry. Health and fitness is a priority of mine but will definitely indulge in a Sidecar doughnut or Salt and Straw ice cream occasionally. So good!

What does the Ambrose brand stand for?

The Ambrose Hotel stands for community and environmental stewardship. We love to provide an inclusive experience where we show off the best of what Santa Monica has to offer while providing a relaxing retreat to re-energize from the hustle and bustle of the beach town.

Erik Kreft

Erik Kreft

Santa Monica

Photo: Daniel Schludi

What makes The Ambrose Hotel special?

We are a small, independent hotel that focuses on you, and we truly create a SoCal experience where nature can intertwine with our interiors — offering a courtyard that flows through to our living room, an outdoor fireplace providing an environment of comfort, to use as a home to begin your adventures exploring Santa Monica for the day. Then, come home to, relax and unwind.

How do you keep up with changing customer expectations?

Health and wellness are inherent to who we are; we are located in Santa Monica, after all. We attract guests who care about their wellbeing, and we are always listening to the guest’s feedback through both surveys and day-to-day conversations. We switched up our breakfast options to accommodate a wide variety of nutritional preferences from Paleo, to vegetarian, gluten-free etcetera. We know our guests are biking enthusiasts, and we chose to partner with Peloton Bikes and opted for a fleet of beach cruisers to explore Malibu and Venice. We even recently upgraded our house car to a Tesla Model 3 because our guests are both style and sustainability conscious.

“We switched up our breakfast options to accommodate a wide variety of nutritional preferences from Paleo, to vegetarian and gluten-free”

What makes a great hotel?

It boils down to cleanliness, service, and a brand’s mission. What’s great about The Ambrose is that beyond being spotless and service focused, we are intimate, secluded and everything you might need to enjoy a quick trip to Santa Monica or a week stay. We are a fantastic location to get to anywhere you want to go in Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Plus, we really do care about health, wellness and the environment, and those values are intentionally infused in everything we do.

The Ambrose Hotel Santa Monica

How has hospitality evolved over the last decade?

Just like music and TV, the consumer wants what they want when they want it. We are not looking to tell the customers what “hospitality” should look like; we want them to enjoy the type of service that is important specifically to them — tailored to the individual. If someone wants to sit and chat about local restaurants, we do that. If someone prefers to rest and relax with their thoughts while sipping on a glass of California wine in the Library or out by the fireplace, we have that space. What’s important to the guest is important to us. That creates comfort; that’s what hospitality is.

How important is design as part of the hotel experience?

Design is fantastic the first time you go and experience a new hotel. How that design impacts the guest stay would depend on the functionality of the design, how it makes the guest feel, and the ability for the staff to provide the service around it. Our guests appreciate our residential California Craftsman design that’s accented by access to nature via our terraces, patios, fireplace, and botanically lavish courtyard. However, for most of our guests, they come back because of the personal connections we aim to foster during their stay. We live in a time when everything around us is becoming transitional, from social media to dating apps, and I believe humans are craving real connection. We are investing in a relationship with each guest that walks through our doors, and as a 77-room boutique hotel, our intimate size is a benefit.

What makes Los Angeles such a great destination?

Los Angeles is the city of big dreams, nature, glitz and perpetual sunshine. We offer an incredible location to experience anything and everything one could want in a city destination. If its beach life, restaurants, clubs, shopping, fitness classes, sightseeing, hiking, sports and entertainment or diving up the coast there is something for everyone. There are places to see and be seen as well as retreated to enjoy your privacy and seclusion. Will Rogers State Beach is one of the top LGBTQ friendly beaches and hangouts of all of California, and it’s literally 4 miles away. With surfing, volleyball courts, restrooms and gymnastic-style equipment available it’s an extremely popular local place for the LGBTQ community.

The Ambrose Hotel Santa Monica

What are some of your favourite places in LA that people need to know about?

New restaurants and bars are opening up all the time. You could spend years here and never visit the same place twice. I personally enjoy walking the Third Street Promenade and Pier as well as biking Venice boardwalk just to people watch. There is so much to see and experience the history and culture of it all. Fia is a fantastic new restaurant a couple of blocks from the hotel with a beautiful southern-style patio that feels hidden, energized and romantic. The Getty Villa is stunning for art and definitely not something you would want to miss. Reservations are required, which is helpful as it keeps it a private experience.

Why is The Ambrose Hotel so popular with the gay community?

It’s our mission to make all feel included, and this shows with our award-winning diverse team at the hotel. We feel this is why the gay community loves us. The Ambrose is also not an ‘over the top’ hotel. We’re not flamboyant, or that party hotel one may seek. We are that space to have your space. The Ambrose is a lifestyle, luxury hotel with a style all its own. We want our travellers to feel included in the hotel community but not make one feel they are being singled out. I think our guests can feel we are welcoming to all. The Ambrose… it’s your hotel.

Any recommendations for our readers?

Explore, explore, explore. Be open to trying new things. One of my favourite quotes from the late Anthony Bourdain, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.

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