ElleBeinLA has really been very informative in replies to questions on Santa Monica. I am bringing my 4 year old granddaughter to Santa Monica area for weekend of 18th -21st July and am seeking some local suggestions on where to stay with her. A pool would be really nice,and building sandcastles on the beach is also essential, have a car so whilst am looking for somewhere really nice my budget doesn't stretch to the fancy prices the larger SM hotels are asking and was wondering if anyone could suggest places that would 'fit the bill' ? As a side, I do have an early flight out of LAX on the Monday morning so needs to be reasonably close for not too long a drive in. A little local knowledge goes a long way we say here in the UK !