Like London, Los Angeles comprises several districts, each with its own unique character and hotspots to discover. Whilst it would be impossible to cover them all in 48 hours, DOSE writer Rosie‘s two-day itinerary will allow you to tick off a few famous sights, sample some irresistible food, work up a sweat, and perhaps spot a celebrity or two…
I’m under no illusions: the closest I’ll come to Marilyn Monroe was my maxi skirt getting caught in the breeze and exposing my knickers to my fellow passengers as I stepped off the plane at LAX airport. But for one night only, I got to live out my ritzy Hollywood dreams by staying at downtown LA’s Millennium Hotel Biltmore, where the Oscars were held during the 1930s. At night, the walkway behind the opulent lobby is awash with ballgown-clad guests heading to gala dinners: put your glad rags on and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the buzz of all the glitz and glamour the art deco-era building oozes.
Upstairs, the beautiful Club Lounge is a suitably lavish setting for dressed-up cocktails: set the tone with a margarita or two during cocktail hour, from 6-8pm nightly, before hailing a cab to take you out to West Hollywood for dinner at The Nice Guy, a popular celeb hangout – and if you don’t get lucky there, wander around to one of the district’s many bars favoured by the elite for another shot.
Photo: Millennium Hotel Biltmore
Breakfast in the Club Lounge is fit for Hollywood starlets, comprising trays of fresh berries, homemade granola, and fresh bagels and pastries. During the rest of the day there’s jars of sweets, chocolate-coated pretzels and peanut butter bites to snack on, to satiate even the strongest of American candy cravings.
Walk off the sugar rush by heading out to The Broad, whose compact collection of recognisable pieces from artists including Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein makes for the ideal cultural morning. If you’re not feeling too star-struck already, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms will certainly sort you out. And if that’s not enough, head out to the Getty Museum for a more extensive collection – and a location like no other.
Head back to the hotel via Grand Central Market, whose jam-packed food stalls serve everything from authentic tacos and sourdough pizzas to craft coffee and gourmet macarons. It’s hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, and buzzes with a down-to-earth vibe: you won’t find any size-zero portions here.
If all that food has given you an energy kick, channel it into an afternoon hike to the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory, both offering spectacular views of LA – and of course plenty of photo opportunities for the ‘gram.
Photo: Bar, Millennium Hotel Biltmore
For dinner, sample a true LA institution at In-N-Out Burger, or keep it healthy with plant-based Mexican cuisine in beautiful surroundings at Gracias Madre. Swing by Ace Hotel’s pool bar for a sundowner on your way back to the Biltmore Hotel – it’s housed in an equally historic building built in 1927 for the maverick United Artists film studio.
The following morning, discover part of the secret behind the glow of LA’s superstars with a class at SoulCycle Santa Monica, whose regulars include David Beckham and Demi Lovato. Refuel at Flower Child, one of the many all-organic, healthy restaurants for which Santa Monica is well-known.
Stroll around the many shops and boutiques in the well-heeled pedestrianised streets of Downtown Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Place mall, making sure you pay a visit to Alo Yoga for gorgeous yoga wear to bring home.
Top off your trip with a visit to Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park, home to the most-Instagrammed spot in LA: that ferris wheel. End your trip on a high by climbing aboard to catch a final fantastic view of the Golden State.
Photo: Santa Monica Harbor
Rooms at Millennium Biltmore Hotel start at $183 per night.
Visit Santa Monica’s website for more information about hotels, restaurants and things to do.