Heading to Los Angeles for a few days and want to hit the usual landmarks as well as the stylish restaurants and shops off the beaten track? Here’s your ultimate LA City guide…
Where to stay in LA
Where? Dream Hollywood
Best for: Affordable luxury in a trendy setting. A new addition to the Dreams Hotels family, Dream Hollywood has subtle nods to the mid-century modern aesthetic that is so iconic to Los Angeles (we’re really into the hanging plants and white marble of the bar). Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer gorgeous views of the city, as well as sleek bathrooms and uber-comfy beds. In the morning, grab a (delicious) complimentary pastry and coffee on the go, or take your time and head up to the rooftop grill for a healthy breakfast overlooking the pool and the city.
For dinner, there are plenty of options, from TAO for opulent Asian food, Beauty & Essex, or The Highlight Room. Booking rates start at around $260 per night (around £200). Book here.
Where? The Montage Beverly Hills
Best for: Living your best life. The Montage Beverly Hills couldn’t be better located, just 5 minutes away from Rodeo Drive (baby). It also nails that vintage Hollywood vibe, but still feels modern, which you notice straight away when you enter the lavish marble lobby. Every room here is lavish, though the suites are on another level. Think mosaic-tiled bathrooms, king-sized beds and a separate living area with L-shaped sofa and massive TV, all leading onto a balcony with a pretty view. You know, in case you run out of space.
Once you’ve finished your tasty breakfast on the rooftop grill (try the buttermilk pancakes if you want to indulge, or the Italian frittata for something a tad healthier), head to the spa for some much-needed R&R. At the heart of the Spa Montage Beverly Hills, you’ll find the mineral wellness pool, located in a lavish atrium. Its unique properties are especially great if you want to fight jet lag.
Speaking of jet lag, there’s nothing like a long haul flight to play havoc with your skin, which is why you’ll need to book yourself the L.RAPHAEL 60 Minute Proactive Radiance Facial With Pure Vitamin C. It includes a refinishing peel and correcting mask to even skin tone, fade sun and age spots and restore skin’s natural radiance, and thanks to its antioxidant properties, leaves your skin looking much nicer than when you arrived.
Rooms from $695 per night (around £530), book here.
Where to eat in LA
Where? The Butcher’s Daughter
Best for: The best plant-based brunch you’ll ever have, in the most Cali-perfect setting. Everything is sourced locally and organically, and they even make their own coconut yogurt. The machas (they do a lavender one) are a must, as are the fresh juices. Try their signature shakshuka, the classic avocado on toast, or for something sweeter, the aforementioned yogurt with homemade granola and berries, or the acai bowl.
Best for: Tasty thin-crust pizza, imaginative vegetable small plates and fresh fish dishes. Try the grilled broccolini, charred cauliflower with chili, the baby artichoke pizza with garlic and the braised pork belly.
Where? Gracias Madre
Best for: Plant-based Mexican food that’s out of this world. The tasting menu is a must, as it’ll let you sample the best dishes on the menu, from the quesadillas de Calabasas (butternut squash, caramelized onion, cashew nacho cheese, pumpkin seed salsa) to the Coliflor Frito (cauliflower, cashew nacho cheese, lemon) and the mind-blowing Mexican Wedding Cookies (chocolate sauce, pecans, chocolate coconut ice cream). We love the stunning outdoor setting too.
Best for: Fine dining at its best. Chef Monica Olaes puts her own modern spin on American cuisine and it works. Try the spicy lobster on crispy rice, the smoked cheese & potato croquette, the spaghetti arrabbiata, ribeye steak, three cheese mac ‘n’ cheese and roasted heirloom carrots. If you have room for desert, you won’t regret ordering the chocolate soufflé.
Best for: First off, there is the iconic pink and green setting, which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Tinsel Town’s most iconic era. Secondly, the menu, featuring American classics as well as dishes from around the world, is pretty damn good. We’re fans of the fish tacos, bluefin tuna crudo and the lobster nicoise.
What to do in LA
LA is a big city, and thanks to its proximity to the sea and nature, there really is something for everyone to do there, whether you’re into shopping, outdoor activities or entertainment (you are in the movie capital of the world after all). First off, be prepared to drive or get an Uber everywhere. The city is very spread out, so getting from one part of it to the other will take you a while, especially with the infamous LA traffic. So do factor some times in for this when planning your itinerary.
Best beaches in LA: There are loads of beaches in and around LA. If you’re staying in Hollywood or somewhere central and don’t want to travel too far, then Venice Beach is a great place to start. Skate or walk down the winding boardwalk, check out the sports-fanatics at Muscle Beach or watch the surfers to their thing. A short stroll away, you’ll find the Venice Canals, which are worth it for the gorgeous houses and cute little bridges.
Further up from Venice Beach, you’ll find Santa Monica. Although it has a pretty sandy beach too, the main attraction is the Pier, which not only features the end of Route 66, but also offers funfair rides, food stalls and more.
If you’re in LA for a few more days, then it’s worth driving further up and down the coast so see other gorgeous beaches such as Malibu and Manhattan Beach.
Outdoor activities in LA: If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’re in luck. LA is the place to be when it comes to hikes. Walk up to the Hollywood sign or the Griffiths Observatory for some stunning views of the city. You can also head to the Will Rogers State Historic Park north of the city for more hikes, and visit the stunning Getty Villa while you’re in the area.
Where to shop in LA: You can’t beat an American Mall for shopping, especially if it’s outdoors like The Grove. For the wow factor, you’ve got the iconic Rodeo Drive too. However, if you’re more interested in independent stores and cool boutiques, then you have to walk up and down Abbott Kinney boulevard (a short stroll from Venice Beach), but be warned: you’ll want to buy everything. Also head to Melrose Avenue for the best vintage stores.
Indoor activities in LA: There are tonnes of museums in LA (including a soon to be opening Oscars museum) if you’re not so lucky with the weather. And it would be rude not to learn more about the magic that goes into making movies when you’re in La La Land. We loved the WB Studio Tours, which is a walking your where you get to visit films sets like the Big Bang Theory and Gilmore Girls, as well as see props from films like the Batmobile.
Best spa treatments in LA: All this sightseeing calls for some relaxing downtime. For radiant looking skin, try the L.RAPHAEL 60 Minute Proactive Radiance Facial With Pure Vitamin C at the Spa at the Montage Beverly Hills.
Make sure you also check out the spa at the Hotel Bel Air, best described as an oasis within an oasis, as you have to walk through the hotel’s gorgeous gardens and waterfalls to get there. The Bel-Air signature massage is where it’s at, an hour of pure bliss. You can choose between Swedish, deep tissue or a mix of techniques, but either way it will be totally unique to your needs, which is why it’s so good. Bye bye sore muscles.
How to get to LA
Norwegian operates a daily year-round service non-stop from London Gatwick to LAX (they use the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which is faster, greener and helps reduce the effects of jet lag). All flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with two cabins: Premium and economy. In economy passengers will be able to enjoy comfy seats with a 31 – 32inch seat pitch, in-flight entertainment system and touch screen technology to order food and drinks straight to their seat.
Passengers travelling in the Premium cabin can enjoy spacious seating with extra legroom – over a metre, Premium meal service, two pieces of 20kg luggage, fast track security and access to select airport lounges. At London Gatwick this is No1 Lounge which provides complimentary food and drink, along with spectacular views of the runway. Fares start from £170 one-way in LowFare economy and £599 one-way in Premium including all taxes and charges and subject to availability. To book visit www.norwegian.com/uk or call 0330 828 0854