Monday, February 20, 2012

A Weekend Getaway to L.A.


{The Rooftop at The Chamberlain Hotel in West Hollywood}

Last year, American Express generously gave me 150,000 Membership Rewards Points and the opportunity to craft my own, little weekend getaway using those points. The last six months have been crazy busy and after accepting my new job in August, I no longer have the freedom to take off at the drop of a hat. I originally posted about this fabulous opportunity from American Express in July and eight months later, the stars have finally aligned for me to take a fabulous little weekend jaunt to Los Angeles! I’ve been to the City of Angels many times, mostly for work and design events, but my husband has never been so I am very excited to show him around the city I have come to love so much.


{The Lobby at the Chamberlain}

Membership Rewards can be redeemed for so many things, the points never expire, and anyone with an American Express card is eligible for the program. The points can be applied towards airfare on 20 major airlines, hotel stays, cruise and rail tickets, vacation packages, and car rentals. I used my 150,000 Membership Rewards points for round trip airfare, an Executive King Suite at The Chamberlain, and a car rental. The points covered almost everything. We just had to pay for Fabian’s airfare—not bad! I’ve stayed at The Chamberlain before and loved it. The décor is gorgeous, it’s really well located in West Hollywood, and while it’s close to everything, the hotel itself is secluded, quiet, and has one of the friendliest staffs I’ve encountered.


{Stunning Tilework in a Guestroom at The Chamberlain}

We’ll be in L.A. for a long weekend, just after the Design Bloggers Conference, which I am sad to miss due to a very busy work schedule. Anyhow, my husband and I both work in the design industry and while he loves design and décor shops, I don’t want to make that the main focus of the trip. I could happily spend a few days at the shops along La Cienega, but I’m sure he’d rather we spend our time otherwise. I know my way around West Hollywood and Beverly Hills pretty well, so I’m sure I’ll take him around to some of my favorite places that I think he’d enjoy—we’ll definitely be stopping at Joan’s on Third for a little nosh!



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This is where you come in, my dears. Do you have any recommendations for fun things we can do in L.A. during a long weekend? We’d rather not do anything too touristy and as I said, I know my way around fairly well. I haven’t been to Malibu and I’ve always wanted to go up to the Griffith Observatory for the view. Would you recommend either? I have a list of restaurants that I’ve been to and loved, but welcome any recommendations for restaurants and especially for fun places for us to go for drinks.


Kim @ keller-creative said...

I love LA! La Cienga is amazing and Im so envious of your trip out there. I love the Santa Monica/Venice area as well.

Paula said...

Malibu is a quintessential SoCal experience not to be missed. I recommend that you start with the Malibu Country Mart (a shopping/dining/lounging about meca with many cool shops and casual eats). Then drive up the coast from there (you'll be on the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH the whole way. Stop at Zuma Beach, but take the road before the big parking lot -- it will take you around the bend to a quieter spot. I also recommend El Matador, which you'll see signs for off of the PCH. You go down the cliff/steps to this beach with huge rocks. Just a nice thing to see. Then I'd keep driving up to County Line and check out Neptune's Nest. It's a dive seafood joint and a big biker hangout. The food is fine, but the scene is better. And you get two scenes for the price of one because you can cross the street and watch the surfers surf.

I'd say yes on the Observatory too. I hadn't been there in years, but the hubby and I recently took my mother there when she was in town. The views are amazing and the observatory itself is pretty interesting in a science geek sort of way, but even if you don't care about that part (and I didn't really), it's so beautiful up there.

I love Joan's too! Some other restaurant suggestions are:

AOC, Suzanne Goins restaurant, also on third street. It's small plates and they are divine. Wear black or ivory -- something sleek and stylish but not fancy because it is LA.

Fig & Olive on Melrose Place

The Little Door, also on third. Super romantic, with rustic elegance in both food and decor.

Shutters on the Beach for Sunday Brunch. It's in Santa Monica and is a good place to start out before you head to Malibu. You can't make a reservation, but the wait isn't a huge deal. You can people watch while you wait as the Santa Monica Boardwalk is right behind the restaurant, not to mention a gorgeous expanse of beach.

Those are my initial thoughts. Have a blast in my beautiful city!

annie@mostlovelythings said...

We live in Orange County, but love to spend time in LA and must say I have never been to the Chamberlain Hotel. Looks like we need to stop in. Recently my daughter and I discovered a wonderful little cafe called "Little Next Door"...actually two restaurants side by side on West Third street close to LACMA. I would recommend it if you are in the area.

Amy said...

I only wish I read this posting earlier! LA is my home, and certainly my favorite place to live - after nearly a decade of being away. It's been such a fun adventure exploring this city again!

Here are my suggestions:

1. Cooks County - It's an incredible, rustic restaurant in W. Hollywood. Hands down the best oxtail hash in the city.

2. MEET - a very cute French brasserie in Culver City with an incredible selection of mussels. Yum!

3. BLD - a great, great place for brunch.

4. The Grove - why not travel around the world in food at their famous Farmer's Market? My pick is the Banana Leaf for excellent Indonesian/Malaysian cuisine. The family hails from the Asia and still cooks all the dishes! Plus, great mango juice.

5. Bottega Louie - this is one of my favorite places for dessert, although it's in downtown, always packed and doesn't take reservations. It's a "Sex and the City" kind of place, but their packaging is incredibly beautiful. Macaroons are a favorite here.

6. Madison - just in case you can manage a quick shopping trip!

7. Venice's Abbott Kinney - I think this little gem of an area is the perfect place to take an afternoon stroll. It's friendly, it's hip and it's nice to pedestrians. If you can handle the wait, I suggest gjelina for a quick bite!

Hope you had a fun trip to LA. Please come and visit again soon!

BrookeJ said...

Always love the Getty.

Diogenes said...

I live in LA as well, in West Hollywood.

for restaurants may I suggest:

Geoffrey's in Malibu, which hangs on the side of a hill looking out over the water:

El Coyote, a mexican restaurant which has been in business some 80 years:

try to eat on the patio or front room.

also great for eating are "The Red O" on Beverly Blvd., an upscale mexican restaurant, and "King's Road Cafe" on Beverly, which has the best coffe in LA and is wonderful for breakfast. These latter two restaurants are popular celebrity hangouts.

For museums, it's hard to beat "The Huntington" in Pasadena, which is one-part fabulaous cactus botanical gardens - have you ever seen a 50 foot tall yucca tree? - and part British art museum. The Blue Boy is there.

The Getty Malibu is also wonderful, a recreation of a Roman Villa, on a hill in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The contents are Greek and Roman antiquities. You have reserve a time on-line but it should be no problem.

victoria | vmac+cheese said...

I second the Abbott Kinney walk in Venice! You guys would have a great time. If you can swing it, you must at's the best!!!

Bettina said...

I agree Bottega Louie is a good stop. If he's never been before you should for sure take him up to the Observatory at Griffith Park for the amazing view of LA!

Anonymous said...

Bottega Louie! You will love it.

Lisa Mende Design said...

My hubby was just there and said Bottega and The Lazy Ox was great!

Anonymous said...

Definitely check out the Griffith Park Observatory, it is so beautiful and you will love the view. Also check out Nic's Beverly Hills for dinner and cocktails. Its a restaurant and martini lounge owned by a family friend. The Brentwood Country Mart also has cute little shops and restaurants for lunch. For a yummy dessert head to Diddy Riese cookies they have the best ice cream sandwiches and cookies, its right across the street from UCLA in Westwood. LA is my home, so I could give you an endless list of things to do/places to go but these are just a few highlights :) Enjoy!!!

Jax said...

I recommend a reservation (its free) at the Getty Villa in Malibu. Its the most beautiful museum in L.A. on par with the Getty Museum in N. L.A. Brunch at Dusty's in Silverlake is always a must and a quick stroll to Intelligentsia Coffee and the Silverlake Cheese Store always makes me happy. For some yummy dinner head to Masa in Echo Park for the best deep dish pizza this side of Chicago. For nightlife, catch Marty and Elaine at the Dresden Room in Los Feliz. Have fun!

Between The Boxwood said...

For drinks - the eveleigh, sunset tower and Cecconis are fun

I love the Malibu Country Mart and the new Malibu Lumber Yard section, eat lunch at cafe habana or malibu kitchen or drive up the PCH more to geoffreys

I also love Griffith Observatory and I love the Getty Museum and Getty Villa

Also, if you want romantic Italian, my favorite restaurant is Via Veneto in Santa monica - lobster ravioli and veal porcini mushroom ravioli will melt in your mouth!

Anonymous said...

Mercato di Vetro and Cleo are two newish restaurants that are really good with fun ambience/energy.

We like to grab brunch at Trails Cafe in Griffith Park, then hike up to the observatory. Such a fun afternoon, with views of LA and seriously delicious food.

The Getty Villa is nice on the way to Malibu.

LACMA has some great exhibits right now and Rays Cafe is great for lunch. You can also visit the food trucks across the street lining Wilshire.

jacobmontereal said...

Wow! LA is the one of the places I dreamed to travel. so many beautiful places to see there.

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