So much retail ground to cover, I have grouped my faves by neighborhood:
MELROSE PLACE, WEST HOLLYWOOD
A fab strip with amazing stores, first stop being the Isabel Marant store with its lush front garden. You will also find Chloe, The Line Apartment, Frame Denim, Equipment, Violet Grey, L’Agence, The Row and Zimmermann. Sydney skin magician Melanie Grant has opened up shop there as has Golden Goose and Veronica Beard. You’ll cover a tonne of bases in this one strip. Head around the corner to Melrose Ave to hit homeware stores including the super luxe Kelly Wearstler showroom. Interior Inspo heaven.
This outdoor mall is like Disneyland for grown-ups with an outpost of Barney’s, J Crew, Zara, Topshop, Nordstrom department store, Nike and Madewell. Head to the adjacent original LA Farmers Market when you get hungry. Wander further down W 3rd to Anine Bing’s flagship LA store, you won’t leave emptyhanded
Robertson Blvd for Intermix; Wilshire Blvd for Barney’s, Saks and Neiman Marcus; Rodeo Drive for the usual luxury brand line up including Saint Laurent, Celine, Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford. The Beverly Centre has all the big names plus Uniqlo, H&M and Bloomingdales and has just finished an extensive renovation so lots of upscale eating options here now too.
ABBOTT KINNEY, VENICE
Home to two of my favourite multi label boutiques, Heist and Steven Allen in addition to a bunch of interesting local designers and stores.
BRENTWOOD COUNTRY MART
A super cute mix of fashion and food in a country market setting. Dedicate half a day to explore Space NK, Intermix, Diesel books, Christian Louboutin, Pippa Small and Sugar Paper stationary. Helmet Lang and Theory are just across the car park also.
TO STAY – So many options, but here’s a good round up in good locations:
Sunset Tower Hotel –Old world Hollywood glamour everywhere you turn, the custom gold wallpaper in the bathrooms is reason enough to check in, let alone the sweeping views back over LA. If only these walls could talk. 8358 Sunset Boulevard Hollywood.
The London, 1020 N San Vicente, West Hollywood
The Standard Hollywood, 8300 Sunset Blvd
The Standard Downtown, 550 S Flower Street
SLS Beverly Hills, 465 La Cienega Blvd
The Palihouse Holloway, 8465 Holloway Drive, West Hollywood
SIXTY Beverly Hills, 9360 Wilshire Blvd
The Line Hotel Koreatown, 3515 Wilshire Blvd
The Montage – Beverly Hills haven in the centre of all the action, small and super luxe you’ll recognize it from the Entourage movie plus others. 225 N Canon Drive Beverly Hills
Viceroy L’Herimtage Beverly Hills – This property wins for its generous sized rooms (hard to get in LA) and fab position that sits at the Hollywood end of Beverly Hills.
HEAD TO THE BEACH & UP THE COAST
Santa Monica is really an extended suburb of LA and a great option if you want a beach vacay whilst still being in the thick of it.
The Palihouse – Very cool converted old Spanish Mansion, it’s great for a longer stay. 1001 3rd Street Santa Monica
The Viceroy – shiny and scene-y. 1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows – big name hotel with all the trimmings. 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica.
Third Avenue Promenade – has all the retail you will find elsewhere
Abbott Kinney Blvd – in the neighbouring suburb of Venice
Montana Blvd – great local stores and eating options including one of my faves Blue Plate.
Grab a bike and ride along the beach front promenade from Santa Monica down to Venice beach.
Head north up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu for the quintessential Californian driving experience. Great shopping and eating to be done at the Malibu Country Mart and Malibu Farm Shop.
AND KEEP DRIVING NORTH UP THE PCH TO MALIBU
Malibu is everything you’ve read about plus some. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica mountains, this enclave is home to both surfers and billionaires and with a handful of new accommodation options, Malibu is now a stay over option.
The Malibu Surfrider
This original 1950’s motel has been reimagined with expanses of bleached timber, scandi furnishings and a next level (literally) roof top deck and bar with fire pit that is for the exclusive use of guests only. It’s the ultimate California Beach house you wish you had. With only 20 rooms it’s an intimate get away destination with the best view in town.
Malibu Beach Inn
Beachfront on Carbon Beach (also known as Billionaires Beach for the owners of the nearby houses) this boutique hotel is true waterfront with a front row view of the Pacific Ocean and Malibu Pier.
A change of tempo, staying in these beachfront zen like suites ensures priority reservations at Nobu Malibu as well as a clear view of the ocean.
Nobu – a destination and reason to head to Malibu alone for the food and view, it’s the best table in town. Book early.
Malibu Farm – You will be rewarded for waiting in line to get a table (no reservations) with the most delicious, largely organic, paddock to plate eating. I am still dreaming about my tacos and have had their cook book on high rotation at my house.
Make some time to drop into One Gun Ranch at the end of Malibu pier for products and gifts from the famed biodynamic farming ranch owned by Alice Bamford that is located up the hill.
Malibu Country Mart – LA in the mountains you ‘ll find all your retail favourites including Intermix, Theory, Ralph Lauren.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO
Head up into the Hills. Get in a car and drive up – it’s a totally different perspective on the city. Visit Casa Perfect, a curated gallery set within a home in the Trousdale Estate, an area famous for its mid-century houses, where everything is for sale. This was a trip highlight, not only for the mind blowing edit of special pieces and furnishings but Elvis Presley owned the house and lived in it with Priscilla and Lisa Marie in the early 70’s (his original wardrobe/dressing room is still there). It’s a destination excursion worth doing – the view from the pool back over the city is spectacular. By appointment only www.casaperfect.com
Downtown LA – the new epicenter of arts and culture, you will find the Broad museum (221 S Grande Ave) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S Grand Ave), both architectural masterpieces. Factor in extra time up for a brunch stop at Eggslut too, you will find the line snaking out the door at this famed diner located at Grand Central Market (317 S Broadway, LA)
LACMAA – The biggest art museum in the US, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
The Getty Museum – worth the trip up into the hills, both the view and art collections are next level. 1200 Getty Centre Drive.
Walk or run Griffith Park and Runyon Canyons, you never know what celeb might be walking their dog next to you…..also make time for the Griffith Observatory, another LA insta setting the view is worth the climb.
SILVERLAKE AND LOS FELIX
Head East to the neighbourhoods of Los Feliz and Silverlake for a completely different take on LA that feels a million miles away from the razzle dazzle of Hollywood. Yes there are hipsters a plenty, and with them good coffee, but it still feels gritty and indie.
Tackle Silverlake from Sunset Boulevard N Vermont and order your double ristretto at Intelligentsia (3922 Sunset Blvd) There is SO MUCH good eating and (coffee) drinking to be had including Alfred’s Coffee, Roo’s, La Colombe, Botanica, Scout, L&E Oyster Bar, Night + Market Song and Kettle Black. Retailers have followed the foodies and you’ll find APC, Aesop, Mollusk surf shop and Mohawk General Store which has an artfully curated line up of labels including Ulla Johnson, Comme des Garcons, Ganni, Jill Sander and Isabel Marant. (Conveniently located near Intelligentsia).
Finish off your Carlifornia Dreaming with a wander through Los Feliz, a local village with a mix of indie stores and eateries including Little Dom’s and Home. You will feel like a local.