My husband and I had an event in L.A. and decided to steal away for a long weekend. The trip was a whirlwind but I would feel remiss if I did not share a few highlights with anyone headed that way and looking for some tips. Read on for details and see my older, more complete post under “LA” for a fuller itinerary, reachable from my home page.
Flight – Delta from JFK to LAX.
Car – Rented from Hertz. Pre-arranged a car drop-off at our terminal. Great convenience since car rental area is a busride away from the terminals.
Hotel – SLS Beverly Hills. Hip, trendy, luxury hotel. Not recommended for kids. Great rooftop pool. Centrally located.
Restaurants – Gjelina (see the mouth-watering pizza below), Ink, Bazaar (at the SLS), Urth Caffe (casual, local lunch spot), Croft Alley, Katsuya LA Live location
Shopping – Melrose, 3rd Street near Robertson and Abbott-Kinney in Venice are great spots.
Other – If you are not going to be on the coast, you can get your fill of nature in central LA with a hike at Runyon Canyon Park or Griffith Park!
We went directly to Venice from the airport for laid back shopping and a delicious lunch on Abbott-Kinney. We pre-arranged with Hertz to deliver our rental car to the terminal – a huge timesaver given that the car rental area of LAX is a bus ride from the terminals. Of course, Uber is a good and widely used alternative in L.A. if you don’t feel like navigating your way around the city on your own. The drive to Venice is only about 15 minutes from the airport so the instant gratification of immersing ourselves in the L.A. state of mind so quickly was a welcome relief after a six hour flight. Don’t miss Gjelina for lunch, brunch or any meal for that matter (gjelina.com).
We eventually made our way to the SLS Beverly Hills (http://slshotels.com/beverlyhills/?ES=Thayer_SLS_BEVERLYHILLS_3171_cpc_google_brand_us_booktoday&gclid=CIWW2rue98QCFerm7AodLEAA3Q). The SLS is a centrally located, trendy, upscale hotel. No detail was spared in the decor, which we loved, although we would not have minded a bit more light throughout the dimly lit common areas and our chic and spacious room….but then I guess the lighting (or lack thereof) is part of what gives the SLS its sexy vibe. I don’t think we spotted even a single child here and I would not recommend this hotel for families-the rooms, restaurants and amenities don’t appear to be set up for the youngest generation.
We were impressed by the friendly service throughout the hotel as well as the rooftop pool area. While the rooftop becomes a party on Friday-Sunday afternoons, with a DJ and full bar, it is quiet and incredibly dreamy early in the day. Breakfast on a lounge chair under the morning sun was sublime.
After an extended winter in NY, we were eager to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Luckily, the SLS is just a short (15 minute) drive from Runyon Canyon Park, where my husband and I enjoyed a terrific hike one morning.
Griffith Park is a bit further but I understand it too offers a plethora of trails, including one that goes right past the HOLLYWOOD sign. The popular shopping areas of Melrose, 3rd Street, Robertson, the Beverly Center and the Grove are all very close to the hotel if you feel like making a fashion acquisition.
LA has no shortage of good food. By dinnertime on our first evening, we were pretty beat so we ate in the SLS at Bazaar (http://sbe.com/restaurants/brands/thebazaar/). We were pleasantly surprised by a feast of inventive tapas dishes. The happening vibe and open kitchen are a draw as well. We were blown away by our dinner at Ink, on Melrose Avenue (http://mvink.com/).
Since we had to be at LA Live for an event one evening, we reserved right next door at Katsuya (http://katsuyarestaurant.com/lalive/) for dinner afterward. The famed restaurant lived up to its reputation for Japanese fare, even if it lacked the intimacy and authenticity we typically gravitate toward. Speaking of which, Croft Alley (http://croftalley.com/) is a shoebox size restaurant on Melrose Avenue with an equally tiny menu of delectable-looking farm-to-table options. It’s on our list to try out next time. Urth Caffe is also a local and casual favorite lunch spot with several locations around town (http://www.urthcaffe.com/) (gorgeous coffee and breakfast, below). Thanks for a great weekend, LA. Totally worth the cross country flight!