The beginning of the year means different things to different people. For most of us, it’s a quiet time as we come down from the high of the holidays and settle back into our routines. It’s cold (for those of us in northern climes) and despite all those holiday-induced credit card bills, many of us are eager for an escape to someplace warm and exciting. How does Los Angeles sound? Pretty good, right?
If winter is your least favourite season of all, ditch it for Awards Season, one of the biggest and glitziest times of the year in Los Angeles. There’s a frisson of excitement that floats through the air around this time as the stars gear up for the red carpets of the Golden Globes, The People’s Choice Awards, the Grammys and the Oscars. It’s a great time to explore Los Angeles … and while you’re there, why not live it up just like a celebrity? You may not be strutting down a red carpet but you can enjoy the hotels, restaurants and spas that the stars love, and who knows … you may even spot one while you’re there!
Got 48 hours to spend exploring Los Angeles? Here are 10 things to do:
Andaz West Hollywood
Check yourself into the Andaz West Hollywood for an authentic LA experience. The hotel has a storied past. Think: rock and roll parties hosted by The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin! This boutique property on Sunset Boulevard welcomes guests in an open-concept space that’s more lounge than lobby. The modern rooms are sizeable and comfortable and you’re sure to enjoy the complimentary mini bar and WiFi. Guests are also invited to enjoy complimentary tea and coffee service in the lobby in the mornings and wine in the evenings. While the Andaz is a Hyatt hotel, it feels less like a large chain property and more like an independent boutique hotel.
You can’t visit Los Angeles without doing some shopping and what better place to start than a known celebrity hotspot? Kitson on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood is the place to find everything from high-end fashions to kitschy thingamabobs. With its finger on the pulse of everything that’s hip, hot and happening, shoppers will delight in the carefully curated clothing collection from brands like Sol Angeles, Boy London and Homies as well as the sometimes irreverent and always cheeky novelty items.
Does anything make you more ravenous than shopping? Take a break to refuel at the newly opened Tortilla Republic, a modern Mexican grill in West Hollywood. It’s got every mouthwatering Mexican meal you can dream up and you definitely won’t leave hungry. In fact, you won’t have room for dessert if you fill up on the tortilla chips and guacamole that’s brought to the table when you’re seated. (I dare you not to ask for more.) My chicken quesadillas were delicioso but the wet burritos looked even better!
If you think that gorgeous glow that celebrities flaunt is good genes, think again. In LA, they go to Skin Laundry for a laser skin treatment that leaves skin looking instantly refreshed and rejuvenated. Using their signature light and laser technology, Skin Laundry’s process is designed to instantly clean out pores, remove dirt and makeup residue, minimize acne breakouts and reveal the more radiant skin underneath … in just 10 minutes! A single session costs $75 but packages are also available so you can experience the ongoing benefits of the treatments by having them done regularly.
Spa at the Four Seasons Los Angeles
No celebrity is ever fully dressed without a manicure. Drop yourself into the lap of luxury at the spa at the Four Seasons Los Angeles for a Hollywood-style manicure … you may as well get a pedicure too, while you’re at it. On a gorgeous day, get your nails done in one of the spa’s outdoor cabanas where you can relax in the warm air and enjoy the pretty city views just beyond the pool. When you’re done, grab a drink and a snack at the Cabana Bar. Can’t decide between a plate of fresh fruit or French fries? Get both! Hey, you’re not the one who has to squeeze into a custom-made couture gown for a red carpet paparazzi fest. Just don’t fill up too much because up next, it’s dinner!
Dinner at Cleo Restaurant at The Redbury
The exterior of Cleo Restaurant, situated inside The Redbury Hotel at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, belies what unsuspecting guests will find inside. It’s all bohemian chic and captures the essence of both Hollywood glamour and the more subdued but equally charming appeal of a decidedly Mediterranean atmosphere. The menu boasts tantalizing flavours: meatball tagine, moussakah, kebabs and couscous but the star is undoubtedly the Brussels sprouts, tossed with capers, parsley and almonds in a red wine vinaigrette. The mezze-style small plates are perfect for sharing and you’ll definitely want to share since you won’t be able to decide on just one or two things to order.
Shopping at Stylehaus
If you’ve ever envied the stars their access to stylists, you might be surprised to know that the experience isn’t so far out of your grasp. Stylehaus, started by fashion maven Marina Monroe, is a members-only experience that grants customers access to a carefully curated collection of high fashion as well as the fashion expertise of professional stylists. Membership, which costs $1,000 per year, includes private clothing consultations, access to the Stylehaus store (which customers can peruse while enjoying a drink from the fully-stocked bar), at-home closet consultations and access to other exclusive member events and services. Nothing will make you feel more like a star than this elite experience!
Their tagline: ‘No cuts. No colour. Just blowouts.’ So if you’re looking for a Hollywood-worthy makeover, DryBar is the place to go to get those enviable locks the stars sport on red carpets. And no matter what kind of hair you have, the blowout will cost just $40 – and that includes a wash, too!
Drinks at the JW Marriott at LA LIVE
So, your hair is done (and looking fabulous, of course!) and you’re ready to paint the town red. Start with drinks at gLAnce Wine Bar, situated in the lobby of the JW Marriott at LA Live. Always happening, it’s a great place to see and be seen … and in downtown Los Angeles, you really never know just who you’ll see so keep your eyes peeled.
Dinner at Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles
Speaking of star gazing … Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles is definitely a place to spot A-list celebrities, though of course, that’s not the only reason to go. Culina (from the Latin word for ‘kitchen’) is all glamour. The stunning glass chandeliers and intimate banquette seating combine to make the perfect setting for dinner with friends or with someone special. Charcuterie platters, pasta and pizza all get a gourmet twist at this modern Italian restaurant; it’s no surprise that Culina was recently named one of the best new restaurants in America by Esquire magazine.