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Santa Monica Hotel Rates Second Highest in California

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By Lookout Staff

July 5, 2023 -- Santa Monica was the second priciest summer destination in California for hotel stays this year, according to a survey by

The average room rate in the popular beach city was $287 per night, topped only by Carmel-by-the-Sea's $305 nightly room rate, the survey of 30 popular California destinations found.

Only hotels located close to a beach or in a city or town center with 3 or more stars were considered for the survey, according to the site.

Calistoga in Napa Valley was the only non-coastal city among the top ten priciest destinations, while Santa Monica was the only city in Los Angeles County.

Carmel-by-the-Sea shot to the top of the list after posting a 30 percent increase in room rates since the the survey was last conducted in 2019, before the coronavirus shutdown crippled the travel industry.

La Jolla, a hilly, seaside village within San Diego, had a similar increase, claiming the fourth spot with a room rate of $278 per night.

San Francisco, which has been overtaken by a highly visible homeless crisis, saw nightly rates drop by 30 percent to $115 per night, landing it in last place.

The survey considered 30 popular destinations in California with at least 20 hotels or inns, according to the hotel booking website.

For each destination, the average price for the cheapest available double room was established for the period spanning July 1 to August 31, 2023.

Only hotels rated at least three stars and located close to the beach or city center were considered for the survey. Rates were established in late June based on prices shown on leading hotel booking sites.

The ten priciest summer destinations in the state were:

1. Carmel-by-the-Sea $305
2. Santa Monica $287
3. Pismo Beach $280
4. La Jolla $278
5. Santa Barbara $257
6. Laguna Beach $238
7. Monterey $235
8. Calistoga $232
9. Palo Alto $231
10. Carlsbad $230

More than three years after the coronavirus shutdown, Santa Monica's tourism industry is on a steady road to recovery, with both the number of visitors and the money they spent rising significantly last year ("Santa Monica Travel Market Continues to Recover," May 19, 2023).

Some 5.3 million visitors came to the city in 2022, a 52 percent increase from 3.5 million in 2021 and a 165 percent jump from the 2 million who visited in 2020.

Last year, visitors spent a total of $492,522,274 on lodging, up from $350,094,364, resulting in a 41 percent increase in "bed taxes" -- from $42 million in 2021 to $59 million last year.

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