A starting point for many people when discussing luxury travel and choosing a hotel is the dining experience. That comes down not just to the ambience of the restaurants on the hotel site, but the quality of the menu, right down to where the products are sourced.

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, in the heart Santa Monica, CA, north of the famous pier, offers up all the must-haves of an urban resort experience. The hotel is nestled in the bluffs, with elegant suites, guestrooms and bungalows, and views of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony that will stop the most animated conversation in its tracks. Guests are mere steps away from one of the world’s great beaches, a truly serene poolside experience, beautiful, green lush grounds and exemplary service, the fully outfitted indoor/outdoor fitness area overlooking the pool, plus many other amenities. Then there is the magnificent, statement-making fig tree near the hotel’s front entrance. Santa Monica is its own small city, surrounded by greater Los Angeles, so you get that small-town vibe, a real sense of community.

THE FAMOUS FIG TREE OUTSIDE THE FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL & BUNGALOWS IN SANTA MONICA (AND THE NEW BMW M850I XDRIVE)

You can’t beat the California weather – sunny and warm, 80-90 per cent of the year. The draw of the state, the energy, the soulfulness, the rugged beauty of the coast, and the variations in the climate (a four or five hour drive from here and you are in the snow) are just some of the factors that draw people here.

After a day walking down by storied Venice Beach, or a stroll through Santa Monica’s farmers’ market and the luxury shopping on the Third Street Promenade, or perhaps just an afternoon lounging by the pool, the dining experience needs to be an extension of the luxury lifestyle experience. After all, a few hours sitting in the famous LA traffic and you are ready to get your chill on.

FIG restaurant has become somewhat of a go-to place for locals, and it’s not difficult to see why. An indoor/outdoor garden lounge, thoroughly charming, exposed to the ocean breezes, FIG checks off all the boxes when it comes to setting. Although housed in the hotel, FIG is a true neighbourhood restaurant, in large because of the quality of the food, sourced from local farmers, ranchers and fisheries.

That’s something that executive chef Jason Prendergast takes very seriously. He actually does the shopping, going to three to four local farmer’s markets every week. He actually brings food to the farmers at the market, as well. That’s how close the relationships are. Prendergast is big on sustainability – using every part of the ingredient. For Prendergast, the objective is to focus on flavour and quality.

“For me, knowing where the food comes from has always been part of my heritage,” he tells us. “We grew our vegetables during the spring, summer and fall at home in Chicago, then used what we preserved during this time in the winter. Sharing a story over a meal that you know the farmer, fisherman or rancher it came from, to me, makes it that much more enjoyable.”

Prendergast originally came to the Fairmont in 2009 to partner up with chef Ray Garcia in the newly opened FIG, and came back in 2018, “because FIG has always held a special place in my heart after the five years I spent working alongside Ray.

“My hopes are to solidify FIG as serious restaurant in the dining scene with the food, service and beverage program, not only locally, but nationally as well.”

To start your Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows experience, including a visit to FIG, head here.

The drive to California from Vancouver was in the brand new BMW M850i xDrive Coupe. Start your journey with the M850i here.

CHEF JASON PRENDERGAST

FIG RESTAURANT

SQUASH BLOSSOM PIZZA

BURGER EXPERIENCE

COMBO EXPERIENCE

LOBSTER COBB