in , ,

An Insider’s Guide To The Hottest Places In California Right Now

Tips and Travel Guide To Enjoy Holidays In California

There are endless reasons to love California.

For one, it’s always summer. Also, you can order everything with a side of tacos. Finally (and my personal favourite), Insta-worthy views of a spectacular sunset are pretty much everywhere.

Thanks to Visit California and Air New Zealand, I was recently introduced to some of the hottest places to stay, eat and play in The Golden State right now. I travelled in the week leading up to and during Coachella, and there was an awesome vibe throughout the entire region.

Take note if you’re planning a trip – these places won’t let you down.

STAY

The Andaz, West Hollywood

With past guests and permanent lodgers including Led Zeppelin, Keith Richards and Paul Stanley, these hallways have seen their fair share of debauchery.

The Andaz was renovated and rebranded in 2009 to pay homage to its rock and roll history, making it a super interesting place to stay in West Hollywood if you’re a music lover.

The hotel really looks after its guests – expect complimentary wine tastings in the lobby of an afternoon, and tea, coffee and pastries in the morning. Upon throwing your luggage down and freshening up, you’ll want to head straight for the rooftop pool bar for a cheeky cocktail set to the highest view of the Hollywood Hills in town.

For one of the best views of the Hollywood Hills, head to the rooftop pool at The Andaz in West Hollywood.
For one of the best views of the Hollywood Hills, head to the rooftop pool at The Andaz in West Hollywood.

Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point

This AAA Five Diamond resort and spa is where the seriously cashed up stay when visiting Orange County. You’ll be enthralled as soon as you enter the lobby but don’t stop there – continue walking through for breathtaking views of the Pacific and the rest of the grounds of the stately resort.

With its own private beach, championship golf links, restorative spa experiences, a gym with a back-to-back timetable, and an array of bar and dining options, Monarch Beach Resort has something for all types of holiday-goers.

Pack a lunch if you want to walk the stately grounds of Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County.
Pack a lunch if you want to walk the stately grounds of Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County.

EAT

While the US in general isn’t revered for its food, California is one state that bucks that trend. I definitely ate some of the best food that I’ve had in my life on this trip.

Being a devout carnivore, I took up the opportunity to have a steak everywhere I went. Hand on my heart, the steak at Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood and The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point were To Die For.

The beauty of dining at Sunset Tower is the incidental star-spotting (I spied Robert Pattinson while there). If you need another reason to dine at The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, may I simply say just three words: those sunset views.

Dinner comes with a sunset backdrop at The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.
Dinner comes with a sunset backdrop at The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.

For a relatively clean, green brunch, stop into King’s Highway, a roadside diner attached to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. If fresh food is your thing (and it’s my thing) you’ll appreciate the emphasis on locally sourced produce. My tip: the date shake.

Now onto greasier fare. If you’re in San Diego, get yourself on down to the original Crack Shack in Little Italy. You might be wondering what the hell a fried chicken place is doing on a hottest list, but hear me out. Crack Shack was opened in 2015 by Top Chef All Star Richard Blais. The chickens have led a happy, pastured life and the menu is what I would call ‘dude food fancy’. While I didn’t get a chance to personally down a burger, the locals swear by it.

Stop into Kings Highway Diner at Ace Hotel Palm Springs for a cleaner, greener brunch made with fresh local produce.
Stop into Kings Highway Diner at Ace Hotel Palm Springs for a cleaner, greener brunch made with fresh local produce.

Speaking of food, I want to give a nod to Air New Zealand. Aeroplane food isn’t something travellers normally look forward to, but I made sure I was awake for each service after I had my first meal. If you’re only going to eat one thing, make it the cheese.

I travelled both Premium Economy and Business at various points. While nothing will ever beat the comfort of sprawling out flat in Business, the roominess provided by Premium Economy was nothing to complain about.

PLAY

California is an absolute playground when it comes to leisure and recreation.

If luxe is your thing, you’ll want to know that the TAO group have just opened Beauty & Essex in the Dream Hotel complex in Hollywood. The entry is inside a bric-a-brac shop, making the experience that much more fun. Inside you’ll find the staff have likely come straight to their shift from a shoot. Make no mistake though – Beauty & Essex is more than just a pretty face. The food is divine (try the tuna tacos), and the cocktails are perfection.

Don’t scrimp on a blow wave if you’re heading to the newly opened Beauty & Essex in Hollywood.
Don’t scrimp on a blow wave if you’re heading to the newly opened Beauty & Essex in Hollywood.

For an open air poolside party featuring big name DJs and views, head to SkyBar in West Hollywood. Opened by Rande Gerber in 1996, SkyBar has somehow managed to retain its sleek reputation in this fickle town. If you’re there after sun down, be sure to take a jacket.

For some non-alcoholic fun in Palm Springs, consider the San Andreas Jeep Tour. You’ll barely notice three hours going by as your guide takes you through the history of the California desert. My only word of warning is to avoid this in the height of summer if you’re bothered by the heat, and be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen. Although plenty of water, snacks and cool towels are provided, that desert sun is a force to be reckoned with.

The San Andreas Jeep Tour is an action-packed way to get a lesson in geography.
The San Andreas Jeep Tour is an action-packed way to get a lesson in geography.

And of course, if you’re planning a trip to California in April, there is that tiny little phenomenon of a music festival in Palm Springs called Coachella. The festival’s residual effect can be felt through the entire state: surprise side shows, pop-up pool parties, and endless conversation about whether you are or aren’t going to Coachella this year mean that you can still soak up the vibe without putting on a wristband.

If you are attending the festival and you’re not a celebrity, here’s my quick Coachella survival guide.

Written by Ilona Marchetta

Ilona Marchetta is a freelance writer and publicist who founded A Wholefood Lover’s Guide to Sydney in 2014.

Ilona’s wholefoods journey began in 2010 when she sought help from a macrobiotic counselor for lifelong digestive issues. Finding herself in better health than she had ever been, Ilona began a quest to learn more about the connection between diet and health, and the idea of food as medicine. It led her to the wonderful world of wholefoods.

When she’s not eating her way around Sydney, Ilona teaches women entrepreneurs how to write media releases and do their own PR.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Loading…

Loading…

0

Comments

International Athlete Pip Taylor on Nutritional and running tips

Why Mindful Eating Can Help You Run Faster

boho beauty tips

Boho Beauty: Byron Bay Designer Shares Her Secrets To A Stress-Free Glow