Men and women have been searching for an earthly paradise since before they invented the wheel or the written word. There have been countless names for it: Atlantis. The Garden of Eden. El Dorado. Today, we just call it Santa Monica.
With its spectacular beaches and an average of more than 300 days of sunshine each year, Santa Monica certainly fits the bill for heaven-on-earth. But beyond the city’s natural beauty, there are a number of landmarks, like the Pier or the Aero Theater—not to mention the Shore Hotel!—that have sealed SaMo’s status as a global destination. So whether you’re taking the legendary Route 66 to its Western endpoint in the heart of the city or flying into LA County’s oldest operating airfield, take a look at the best attractions Santa Monica has to offer!
No list of Santa Monica hotspots would be complete without the Pier. More than 100 years old, the Pier is a Southern California icon that sits atop the beach and hangs above the Pacific Ocean. When you visit, you can get your thrills at Pacific Park, an amusement park that includes a state-of-the-art solar-powered ferris wheel, or check out the fascinating aquarium operated by Heal the Bay, which Shore Hotel is a proud sponsor of. One of the most magical attractions is the Camera Obscura, which uses nothing but natural light to project a live view of the beach.
We couldn’t call ourselves the Shore Hotel without the help of Santa Monica State Beach, which is located right across the street from us. This stretch of sand and sea runs the entire length of the city, so there’s plenty of beach to enjoy. Plus, if you’re hoping to enjoy an oceanside workout on your vacation, Santa Monica is also home to the original Muscle Beach and is complete with parallel bars, ring swings, and more!
This theater, which dates back to the 1940s, is a cinephile’s dream. It regularly offers special screenings and shows classic movies as well as contemporary independent films. When you’re tired after a day in the sun, sit back and enjoy a movie, old-Hollywood style!
You’ll find Palisades Park along the city’s northern coastline. It sits atop gorgeous bluffs and offers stunning views of the ocean. Nature lovers will enjoy the wide variety of trees and other exotic plants on display in the park. There’s also a bevy of public art, from sculptures to Native American totem poles.
When a person decides to venture out into the wilderness for an extended adventure, one of the most important aspects of their travels will be finding the perfect place to set up camp. Here are just a handful of things a camper should look for to identify a great campsite.
Picking a great campsite requires a moderate amount of forethought. Although dusk is the most common time of day to begin settling down in an area, a camper must also consider the effects of the sunrise on their night’s sleep. In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, a camper should pitch their tent in an area that has plenty of natural covering to prevent the bright rays of sunrise from waking them up too early.
A camper should always maintain a healthy sense of self-preservation when choosing a spot for their campsite. Remain vigilant of any potential hazards in an area that would make the spot not ideal as a campsite. Some of the hazards they should look for and avoid are dead trees, dry river beds, large rocks or logs that could be home to venomous snakes, and steep hillsides or cliffs.
Before a camper begins unpacking their tent to set up a campsite, they should be sure to give the ground a thorough inspection. When it comes to choosing a great place to set up a campsite, a camper will want to ensure that the ground has minimal or no mounds that could make sleeping uncomfortable. A camper should also choose to make camp on a level surface for safety reasons.
Nature offers few conveniences the deeper into the wild you go, but a camper can make the experience easier for themselves if they opt to set up their campsite near a stream of water for bathing, a thick set of bushes for waste excretion, and trees to provide firewood. It is also better to follow in the footsteps of campers who came before by using well-worn campsites. This indicates that the site is ideal and popular.
As a camper is traversing through the wild outdoors, they should keep an eye out for a great spot in which to set up their camp so they’re not scrambling to find an area in the dark. It’ll be virtually impossible to choose an ideal campsite once the sun sets. A golden rule of thumb is to leave the camp area cleaner than how you found it.
Many aircraft fly over the U.S., but only a select few partake in the top shows. These airshows can be categorized by history, culture, and specialty.
Aviation has a wonderfully storied past, and as a result, attendees at air shows expect a bit of history. Enthusiasts prepare throughout the year to display their collections. The best historically themed shows include Planes of Fame Air Show in Chino, California; National Warplane Museum Airshow in Geneseo, New York; and the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania.
There was a time when pilots were looked upon as celebrities, and this celebration of aviators remains alive and well in many parts of the country. Among the best of culture-driven events in America are Wings Over Houston Airshow in Houston, Texas; Great Tennessee Airshow in Smyrna, Tennessee; and Cleveland National Air Show in Cleveland, Ohio.
The state of Florida hosts numerous airshows, as the weather allows spectators and pilots to enjoy themselves throughout the year. Two of the most highly regarded annual airshows are Fort Lauderdale Air Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Florida.
Some shows only come together when pilots’ schedules allow for it. Daytona Beach, Florida hosts one of these: It is not an annual spectator event, but instead the gathering of aviation enthusiasts. Expect such events to fly every other year or so.
There are airshows and then there are air races, and few people know about these races even though they are global events. Reno, Nevada hosts what is regarded as the very best in air racing—the National Championship Air Races. The race is a show unto itself, but the weekend long event also hosts demonstration teams.
Most airshows occur over a weekend. However, one known throughout the aviation community is a fly-in, week-long gathering. Often referred to as just “Oshkosh”, it popularized the town for which it is named. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is by far the most widely recognized airshow of all time. It’s actually less like a show and more like a vacation! Spectators are not there for the day. They come to spend time in the town of Oshkosh for this one week out of each year.
As technology advances, innovation follows. Throughout the modernization of aircraft, engineers have worked to make planes safer, quieter, and more convenient for passengers. Jet airliners have come a long way, but there will still be plenty of improvements to come. Take a look below at the basic framework of an airplane, including the interior windows and overhead bins as well as the exterior fuselage, wings, turbofans, and empennage.
When the first airliner entered service, it was constructed with square cabin windows. However, after two fatal accidents, investigators found that window corners contributed to cabin pressurization which deteriorated planes’ aluminum-alloy skin. Furthermore, they discovered rounded or oval windows prevent deterioration by improving the distribution of pressurization stressors.
As with most things, the overhead compartment has advanced since its first appearance. In the 1920s, passengers would hang lightweight items on overhead racks made of aluminum and netting, although these were only found about the rear seating. However, in 1969, the arrival of closing overhead storage bins became an industry standard.
The fuselage is the body of the plane. At the front of the fuselage is the cockpit, where pilots operate the aircraft, and it is also the part of the plane where the empennage and wings are attached.
Wings & Winglets
While all parts of a plane are equally important, the wings generate most of the lift to hold the plane in the air. As the plane is pushed through the air to create lift, the air resists this motion, and a drag, or an aerodynamic force, transpires; as a result, winglets are tips on the end of the wing that reduce drag.
In efforts to decrease the engine noise and increase its efficiency, engineers began looking to revamp the airplane’s engine. The solution: turbofans. First appearing in the early 1960s, turbofans exhale cold air rearward, eliminating the mixing of the combustion chamber’s hot exhaust.
The empennage is the vertical and horizontal stabilizer and the tail of the airplane. It consists of multiple parts: the rudder, elevators, stabilator, and trim tab. The rudder is a movable piece that allows the plane to turn left or right when activated, and it is connected to the foot pedals in the cockpit of the airplane. The elevator is like the rudder in that it moves the aircraft up or down to make the nose of the airplane move in the appropriate direction. The stabilator is a large piece of material that doubles as a trim tab. The trim tab is a rectangular shaped piece of equipment on the trailing edge of the horizontal stabilizer. The tabs are used to be moved gradually by the pilot to make the aircraft easier to handle.
Thousands of campgrounds are scattered across California and nestled among its 18 national forests. From bare-bones hideaways to luxurious glamping getaways, it’s hard to pick just one spot to visit. The landscape—from redwoods forests to deserts and mountaintops to coastal vistas—offers something for everyone. California’s campgrounds are truly a national treasure, so take a look at some of the top spots to go camping in paradise:
The redwoods of Northern California are ancient—some are over 2,000 years old—and are the tallest trees in the world. A section of the park is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site, so visitors can find campsites that allow them to enjoy nature in one of the most breathtaking spots on earth. With three campgrounds in the forest and one overlooking the Pacific Coast at Gold’s Bluff Beach, Redwood National & State Parks offer unforgettable views and attractions.
Spanning Northern to Central California, Big Sur is a must-see destination for any fan of the great outdoors. The home of three Native American tribes (The Ohlone, Esselen, and Salinan), much of the land here is undeveloped, so hikers have the perfect opportunity to enjoy sensational trails and views of the mountains and the coast. Big Sur draws close to three million visitors per year and provides an unparalleled camping experience from its sandy beaches to its rugged coastline.
Covering over 1,100 miles of terrain, Yosemite is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Featuring waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, and tons of wilderness, Yosemite should not be missed. The park is quite popular, with nearly four million visitors per year, and it has also been ranked as one of the top-five national parks for camping. Throughout the park, there are lakes, ponds, hiking trails, and 13 campgrounds that feature tents, RVs, and horse camping.
Further down the coast, you will find Santa Barbara County. Visitors can choose from five different beachfront camping sites, or, if they’d prefer, go glamping instead. The El Capitan Canyon Resort, for example, offers luxurious glamping tents and fully-equipped cabins that come with maid service. There are also unique campground features, such as the ability to rent an iconic airstream camper.
It’s harder to find a more exciting hobby than flying. Regardless of whether you’re taking your first flight or going up for the millionth time, nothing beats the rush of watching the world shrink beneath you as you climb into the clouds. Take it from me: For years, I’ve flown fixed-wing aircraft, and I wouldn’t trade my time in the skies for anything. But before you hop in the pilot’s seat, you’ll first need to earn your pilot’s license. This process isn’t too complicated, but it does require patience, focus, and dedication.
To qualify for a pilot’s license, you must be at least 17 years old, and you must also be able to speak, read, and write perfectly in English (English, interestingly, is the international language pilots and air traffic controllers around the world use to communicate with each other). There is also a medical component in order to be qualify for your pilot’s license that requires you to be in good health and pass a physical examination.
This is one of the easier items to check off the list. You can obtain this by either submitting an application to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office or to an FAA examiner. Conveniently, when you receive your aviation medical certificate, the document you receive at that time doubles as both a student pilot certificate as well as a confirmation of medical fitness, so you can handle two birds with one stone then.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) website includes a database of licensed flight schools if you need to find one. Make sure that you’re comfortable with both the school and the instructor before committing. This stage of the process is where you’ll actually fly; you’ll also need to pay for this time, however, and flight school can cost around $5,000 throughout the learning and licensing process depending on your location. I went to a very affordable flight school at Brown Field in San Diego, California.
Note that some flight schools will require you to take the FAA written exam before they let you into the cockpit, but either way, you’ll need to pass it to earn your pilot’s license. It consists of 60 multiple choice questions, and by the time the two-and-a-half hour test period is over, you need to answer at least 70% correctly in order to make the grade. The test comes with a $70 fee.
Administered by an FAA examiner, the checkride is the last obstacle standing between you and your pilot’s license. It typically lasts between one and two hours with the examiner joining you as a passenger and asking you to perform certain maneuvers and quizzing you on practical test standards (PTS). If you pass—congratulations! You’ll have to file some paperwork with the examiner, but you’ll have earned your pilot’s license.
Steve Farzam is the COO of Shore Hotel that’s based in Santa Monica. His success as a COO is evident in the fact that Shore Hotel currently enjoys one of the top spots when it comes to the hospitality industry in Santa Monica.
However, that doesn’t really comes off as a surprise, especially given Steve’s interest in the hospitality industry from a very young age and his experience in assisting his family in managing their family-owned business, Ocean View Hotel. These both factors have probably what made Steve reach where he is today.
And while that may define his career success, his success as an individual is believed to be far greater by some. Despite his family business and interest in the hospitality industry, Steve decided to go for a paramedic certification. This decision may have been inspired by his strong desire to give it back to the community, which he definitely did in more ways than one can imagine of someone at his level.
After becoming a paramedic, Steve decided that he wants to do something for the community. He ended up joining the Disaster Animal Response Team, a team that consisted of very trained professional tasked with rescuing animals from disaster-hit areas. He brought a lot of value to the team thanks to the professional services he could offer.
His experience working with the team was great, and it’s probably at this time that Steve realized that he doesn’t want to stop there.
This led to Steve joining another team of volunteers that believed in helping the community, after which he is believed to have worked on quite a few things that made the world a better place to live for some people. One of his most noteworthy contributions included spending a lot of time to travel to Louisiana to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina.
However, before joining the new team to help the community in another way, he donated a vehicle to spcaLA – the first community organization he had joined that worked to prevent cruelty against animals. It must have really been a great help to many poor animals whose lives would have been saved using the vehicle.
But then Steve did something that really helped him gain quite a bit of respect from the community as well as some local authorities. He saved a driver’s life stuck in a vehicle following a dangerous accident. And he did so by taking a great risk on his own life.
The driver was in a critical condition when Steve Farzam found him stuck in the vehicle when passing by in his own vehicle. There was probably no one around at that time, and Steve didn’t have much time or things could get worse. So he probably didn’t think much and ended up getting into some level of danger himself, especially given that the vehicle had already started catching fire at this point.
He later found someone luckily that helped made the job a lot easier, but it was Steve’s paramedic skills that came in really handy. He was able to deal with the situation in a professional manner and helped the man prevent succumbing to the critical injuries he faced till help arrived.
This brave effort of Steve was widely appreciated by the community, and even got him the attention of the Burn Institute. He was awarded the Medal of Valor by the Supervisors of San Diego County Board of the Burn Institute, perhaps an extremely rare achievement for a COO.
Then there have also been times when Steve would personally fly to places to feed the poor and hungry people. He has also made generous donations to community organizations in different places that distribute food packets among the less fortunate people.
And apparently, Steve doesn’t hesitate helping the community even if that comes at the cost of a part of his company’s profitability. Shore Hotel is apparently believed to have been the first in Santa Monica to make an effort to adapt and promote eco-friendly initiatives, which can obviously be a brave move to make for a company in a very competitive industry.
Finally, Steve Farzam apparently hasn’t failed to be a great employer as well. His employees are glad to be working for someone that really cares for them and their future.
Steve finds it an important objective of his company to invest in his employees’ education and provide them with regular training, something that would help them advance in their career.
Steve Farzam, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ocean View Hotel, has changed many people’s lives with his unique sense of generosity and his overall goodness.
Firstly, let’s start with where this all started—Farzam’s childhood.
Farzam grew up in Los Angeles, California, and enjoyed helping his family with the family-owned business, Ocean View Hotel, specifically with operating and decision-making. He knew early on that he wanted to give back to the community, and he decided to enter the hospitality industry.
This desire was probably inspired by his experience of assisting his family in their family business. Perhaps the reason he was able to advance at such a pace in his career is his passion for the hospitality industry, and giving back to the community.
After getting a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the California State University, Farzam went on to get a paramedic certification at Southwestern College. His education background—especially his Sociology degree, which may have served as inspiration for Farzam to help the community—seemed to enable him to leap into charity work.
Farzam started with offering his professional services while volunteering with spcaLA as an EMT with the Disaster Animal Response Team, which rescues animals in major disaster evacuations. Farzam, who cherishes his two dogs, strongly believes in the prevention of animal cruelty, and he hurried to help out spcaLA. Later, he generously donated a vehicle, the Ford Crown Victoria, to the spcaLA; the donation was strongly appreciated by the spcaLA.
Something that is very unique and noble of Farzam is that he immediately went into charity work. Rather than joining his family business or accepting a professional career, Farzam instead straightaway began to volunteer in places of need, like the spcaLA and Louisiana.
After Hurricane Katrina hit, Farzam rushed to Louisiana’s aid; he visited the site as a volunteer and put a lot of time and effort into helping the victims of the disaster.
However, though Farzam had a lot of experience with saving, protecting, and improving the lives of thousands of innocents, he soon went a step further; Farzam actually risked his life to save another man. The man had been involved in a freeway accident, and his car had caught on fire with him trapped inside, so Farzam bravely helped him escape at great personal risk. Farzam was later awarded the Medal of Valor from the Burn Institute by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. When awarded with his metal, Farzam talked to the wife of the victim, who expressed her deep gratitude for Farzam’s quick action and thanked Farzam for saving her husband’s life.
Steve making generous donations to organizations that work for the betterment of the community is nothing new, too. Many people who know Steve personally know that if there’s one thing Steve is probably sure to do with full enthusiasm and passion in the next few years, it’s giving back to the community in many different ways.
Besides for going out and doing lots of good things, Farzam is also able to help the world even from home; something unique about Farzam and his sense of morality is his eco-friendliness. He continually pushes for environment sustainability, and Shore Hotel still wins awards for his eco-friendly policies, years after its establishment.
Another way in which Farzam improves people’s lives in his job is the support he offers to his personnel. Farzam continues to invest in the education of his 115 employees at the only new LEED Gold certified Shore Hotel, Santa Monica.
You would probably also be able to find videos of Steve’s employees sharing their experience working at Shore Hotel, under his leadership. They talk about how they find their job to be a little unique and challenging in a healthy way, something that helps them grow as an employee.
They are also pleased with the fact that they are provided regular training, with the costs being taken care of the employer, which really helps them advance in their career. This is probably something no other employer does, which is likely the reason Steve’s employees really seem to enjoy working under him.
And this certainly also seems to be one of the key factors Shore Hotel enjoys the topmost position in the hospitality industry of Santa Monica. When they employees are happy with their job, they make sure the guests are happy too, and it creates a healthy win-win situation for everyone.
The hotel and hospitality industry is one of the few industries in the world that are seemingly outperforming the other ones, as well as the overall GDP as a whole. What we mean is, this particular industry has been showing a more impressive growth than the GDP in most countries, especially some of the developed ones.
How is the industry doing?
As far as the figures are concerned, the global hotel industry alone is expected to generate a staggering $550 billion in revenue in the coming year. This is saying something, given the economic slowdown heat most of the other industries are deal with.
However, the British company, InterContinental Hotels Group having hotel chains in different parts of the world, seems to be contributing the most to these huge revenue figures. In fact, in 2013, it achieved surprising revenue figures of around $21.6 billion, and had more than 4,600 hotels worldwide at that time.
Some of the other major industry giants include Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International, boasting of owning around 4,000 and 3,700 hotels respectively, which are spread throughout the world.
Measuring the performance
As far as measuring the performance of the industry is concerned, there are three major indicators. They are:
In last year, an analysis of the global hotel industry was done on the basis of these three indicators. The results revealed that the Asia Pacific region boasts of the highest occupancy rate of around 69 percent, while the Middle East and Africa top the charts when it comes to the ADR and RevPAR, respectively.
Hotel industry in the US
Coming to the US, despite having a surprisingly low occupancy rate of just around 50.5 percent in 2013, the hotel industry in the country posted impressive revenue figures of around $163 billion. It seemingly showed further improvement in the following year, when the ADR estimates were raised to a staggering $115.
Santa Monica being a major contributor
One of the major contributors to such surprising figures seem to be Santa Monica, which attracted around 7.3 million tourists in the last year, with the average daily spent of the hotel visitors being around $350 a day. Hotels in the city also generated a combined $45.5 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT), helping the city improve its General Fund status last year.
The city was also voted as one of the top ten beach cities of the world, thus attracting way more visitors than it used to. The hotel and hospitality industry in the city obviously turned out to one of the biggest gainers.
A final word
The industry overall has also been performing pretty well, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Currently, the global hotel industry posts revenue of around $400 to $500 billion every year, with one third of the figure coming only from the US.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—Shore Hotel was honored at the 1st annual Best of the Best Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) awards ceremony last month, winning the Los Angeles Best Green Hotel award for 2015. This award coincides with the hotel’s fourth anniversary and recent technology enhancement, reinforcing its commitment to the environment, guests, employees, and community.
“Despite being open for four years now, the Shore Hotel continues to garner awards and recognition commending our sustainability efforts,” says COO Steve Farzam. “We will not stop here and will continue to further our mission to create a better future by being responsible stewards of the environment and a positive contributor to our community.”
Last month the hotel installed an AquaRecycle Laundry Water Recycle System, which will reduce carbon emissions and its laundry water usage by 85 percent. The new system will allow the hotel to reclaim and reuse its laundry wastewater, conserving precious resources all while offering its guests premium eco-conscious accommodations.
“With our new AquaRecycle System, our water usage has been drastically reduced by reclaiming and treating 100 percent of the laundry wastewater,” says COO Steve Farzam. “We have saved over 34,000 gallons of water in less than seven days of operation, which equates to nearly four swimming pools. Not only will the AquaRecycle System save millions of gallons of water each year, we will also reduce the amount of natural gas we consume as the recycled water is already pre-heated.”
The oceanfront hotel is a leader in sustainability among Santa Monica’s luxury hotels and the only newly-built LEED Gold certified hotel in the city, which also received the City’s prestigious 2015 Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA) Grand Prize, which recognizes businesses that make significant achievements in the categories of sustainable economic development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the environment.