Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the first of several hotels planned or under construction in Santa Monica, will welcome its first guests Friday.
Two blocks south of the Santa Monica Pier, the 350-room hotel at 1700 Ocean Ave. features a five-story atrium and is decorated in what hotel officials describe as "contemporary Victorian."
The luxury hotel has 17,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, and several small conference groups have already booked the hotel. Earlier this year, the American Film Market, the U.S. version of France's Cannes Film Festival, announced that it would move its event to the Loews Hotel in 1991.
The hotel is expected to compete for business travelers with such established hotels as the Century Plaza in Century City and the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Daily room rates at Loews range from $155 for a single to $1,500 for the presidential suite.