Welcome to Hollywood! LA was an odd one for me, I really wasn’t fussed about going, at all. You need a car to get anywhere so the traffic is awful and I figured that every one in tinsel town was waiting for their big break so would whacking out a song and dance at any opportunity. Stereotype much? Me? Never…
In fact, had it not been that we were quite literally passing to get to Palm Springs, I don’t think I would have bothered to stop in town at all but as we were I thought we would spend our time baking in the California sun and not much else. My, my, was I mistaken.
Too early to check in to our hotel down on the beach in Santa Monica, we palmed our luggage off to concierge, dropped the top down and rolled around LA like wannabe film stars and dare I say it, it was way more enjoyable than I had imagined! OK, the traffic really is a thing though, so either plan the time you want to get on the road properly (and even then be warned) or else get ready to tan in the car (pro of renting a convertible). We rode around town ticking off some sights, Rodeo Drive (must not get out and spend money I don’t have), the Four Seasons (Richard Gere, where are you? I’m ready for my pretty woman moment) and the Beverly Hills Hotel to name a few (all pictures were taking in a moving car and therefore awful and hence not included...). We hit the Hollywood walk of Fame without stopping, it is essentially just a grubby street with packed sidewalks and people continuously stopping to take pictures of the floor. Deciding I could live without said pictures, on we rode up in to the hills. I mean, I’m such a natural blogger...right?
Now the plan was to spot the Hollywood sign as close as possible without having to do any hiking. This is a holiday people, I am not up for wearing gym gear and hiking hills in the baking sun. Maybe next time...although probably not. We hopped out at the Griffith Observatory, took some snaps, peered through fog/smog at LA below and jumped back in to the car.
I would love to share those kinds of details that people usually include in blogs, like facts about the observatory or the Hollywood sign and LA etc, but that would mean I would have had to research said facts or know them myself. Neither of which I did/do but I can tell you, the sign looks (really) small unless you are super close (again, no thanks to the hiking), the observatory is cool, you get a good view of the city and it’s a cute drive up there. All good? OK, moving on.
All that driving around pretending to be in a movie stuff is extremely tiring you know, so we thought it best to head back to the hotel and locate the pool. We stayed at Loews which was in a super handy location down on the beach so meant getting around even in a grid locked LA was manageable. But before dipping in to the pool there were of course more important things to think about…lunch. Right in front of the hotel is the beach and Santa Monica pier (think Brighton pier but on speed and in the eternal sunshine) and although I didn’t envisage spending my time in LA on the pier, what did call out to me was Pier Burger (can you tell I am a lover of a good old cheeseburger? I’m a classy gal you know). In need of a quick fix lunch to avoid eating in to tanning time and hearing that this could be even better than In-n-Out, what did we have to lose? So we popped ourselves down to the burger stall, tucked in and trust me, it is well worth a trip to the overcrowded pier for one of these babies.
If you’re in town and burgers are your thing, don’t be put off by the location and get yourself down there.
Full from our (ever so fancy) lunch, the afternoon disappeared in a strawberry daiquiri haze around the pool.
I’m a lover of the notion that with sunshine comes the excuse for all day drinking (I’m not an alcoholic, I promise), which was just as well because the couple next to us were reading affirmations to each other all afternoon and explaining that they were dolphins in their previous lives (err welcome to LA), safe to say…cocktails were required.
As the sun set we grabbed an Uber and headed back up the coast to Malibu to grab dinner at Nobu. Unlike our quick lunch, dinner was somewhat of a more leisurely affair (if you’re paying that much for dinner, let’s not be rushing it now) and we grabbed a seat at the bar after for a bit more ocean air and chattering.
The setting is pretty spectacular, let alone the food. If its within budget then go, the food is pretty tasty and plus you’re more than likely to spot some celebs.
If not then don't fret, there are loads of cool places in town to visit. If I'd have had more time I would have also tried Catch LA, (we did actually have a table booked there for the next night but it got cancelled last minute for a private function), Jon and Vinny's, Craig's, Felix etc (the list could go on...). If you do go, book a table outside before sunset and enjoy your dinner whilst the sun goes down (oh and unless you are someone special, I would suggest calling as early as you can to actually have a chance of getting a table). I should add that people in LA eat really early, which for a Londoner is a little different and they aren’t the biggest of partiers, its mostly a dinner and drinks affair. However, if it’s a party in Malibu that you are after, head next door to Little Beach House which is run by Soho House (so you either need to be a member or know one), and pumps music out across the beach all evening.
The next morning, deciding to stretch our legs a little (and work off the burgers and sushi), we jumped on rental bikes down to Abbot Kinney for breakfast (a girls still gotta eat you know). I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the child in me, but I loved the cycle along the beach and trust me, I usually hate riding a bike (I tried a spin class once, never again). Clearly in my LA stride, with the wind in my hair and all that jazz, we breezed down the beach, darting between dogs and roller-skaters before peeling off and arriving at Abbot Kinney. Heading for Gjelina (it’s a tad hard to spot what with its subtle signage) we hopped off and darted in before a queue formed. I went for the pancakes and even though they were super healthy grain pancakes (OK there was still bacon and maple syrup involved but as healthy as you can get in that situation), they were light as a feather and fluffy to boot.
Post breakfast, we strolled up and down peering through store windows until I found the home shop of my dreams, if I could have fitted it all in my suitcase I would have. I got myself lost wandering around inside until I was eventually dragged out.
Still interiors lusting, we jumped back on the bikes and took the long route back (ahem, I wasn’t in charge of directions and the long route became the really really long route…) via Venice, stopped to watch some street performers (it’s an open hustle but they were so funny) before round 2 of lazy pool afternoons. Thankfully, this time no one thought they were a sea creature in a former life.
Feeling the need to see a little more of LA (who woulda thought), we headed to Chateau Marmont for a pre dinner drink(s) and sat out in the Gothic inspired courtyard as people came and went. The food looked and smelt amazing but we decided to venture to Korea Town for what turned out to be a thoroughly bizarre dinner. I’ve never seen so much food for 2 people or had dinner with Korean techno music on the go. I probably wouldn’t repeat the dinner but you’ve got to love the experience none the less.
And that was it, in a blink of an eye, LA was (pretty much done) and I’m a complete convert and would definitely head back to LaLaLand again.