Let’s be frank: these days, malls are not necessarily where the most exciting shopping is found. So it’s unusual to get excited about one reopening. Especially Santa Monica Place, which is hard to remember ever being haute.
But the relic at the south end of Third Street Promenade has been radically reimagined as a new, multi-level modchic shopping and social experience, open air and open-minded. Still a manageable size, this is not a category-killer retail behemoth, but now provides an intriguing selection of mainstream stores and less common boutiques, as well as what may be it’s most appealing aspect, the rooftop Dining Deck.
Celebrating its grand opening this weekend, SMP’s new stores include a Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, CB2 furniture, a whimsical two-floor Kitson, Nike, Fluxus, Burberry, 7 for all Mankind, AllSaints Spitalfields, Louis Vuitton, Pandora, Michael Kors, Joe’s Jeans, Tory Burch, just for a few examples.
Last night, I got to take a sneak preview stroll through, as I attending opening night parties at some of the Dining Deck’s intriguing eateries, including Ozumo Japanese, which celebrated with a Kaiten Kigan Sai Opening Wish Ceremony by Shinto Priest Nobuharu Uzuone. Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Much sake and pretty pettifour-sized sushi was enjoyed by a sexy, hip crowd.
Also testing out their kitchens last night were Starchef Richard Sandoval’s La Sandia Mexican, Xino Chinese, Zengo fusion, Pizza Antica and perhaps most seductive, the plein-air Sonoma Wine Garden, build like a terraced beach deck, with fantastic views of the shoreline. Expect this to be a must-meet spot (Champagne popsicles? Did I hear that right?). Coming soon, the Market at Santa Monica Place looks to evoke a classic city produce market, offering a butcher, fine cheeses, farmer produce and more.
Excited about going to a mall? I feel like a teenager again!
Santa Monica Place is located at 1453 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, 310.394.5451