We are only a few weeks in to March and my travel itinerary for the first three months of the year looks like this...
1 week in Mijas, 1 week in Nerja, 1 week in Morzine, 3 Nights in LA, 1 week in Mojácar and 3 Nights in Morzine.
So I’ve spent a fair bit of time away from home, but for half of it I’ve been accompanied by my children which I always love.
For my 3 night trip to LA, I flew solo. It wouldn’t have been fair to put my children through the jet lag for such a short trip. To be honest, I found it a bit of a struggle myself! My days were jam packed with work meetings and I had just an hour each morning to make the most of the warm weather - a very pleasant 24 degrees!
I never thought at 5’3 I would say this but I have turned in to a long haul flight snob! Since first meeting Alex almost 10 years ago, he told me that at 6’4 he was too uncomfortable to fly any other way long haul than in business class. I understood his reasons, but vowed it wasn’t necessary for me. How wrong was I?
Of course flying at the front of the plane is a complete luxury but I’ve managed to accumulate a fair few air miles over the years and I get ‘points’ through using my American Express credit card. I never pay full price for an airline ticket because, when I can I book with British Airways, and use my points to make my upgrade more affordable. If you are clever and have time to look for deals, flying business class doesn’t always have to cost thousands.
On this occasion I just couldn’t find a good deal with BA, but with the help of Belgrave Travel, I managed to find an extremely competitive deal flying United Airlines. I made sure I got a loyalty card so I could benefit from getting the points. I will be flying regularly to LA for some new work projects over the next few months so it made sense.
With my flight sorted I asked my Management in America to help find me a great hotel. Located on the Sunset Strip, The Jeremy (funny name for a hotel I thought), its the new, trendy, modern place to stay. With a lovely rooftop pool, some fantastic views of the city and a coffee shop on the lower ground offering some unusual healthy options for breakfast (I enjoyed the avocado, and poached eggs with spinach and sprouts!!), it was totally ideal for me.
I arrived in LA the night of the Oscars but since it was 3am to me (with an 8 hour time difference), I enjoyed some cocktails in the bar at the hotel and went to bed.
It might have only been a whistle stop tour of LA (and I did spend a lot of time in taxi’s zig zagging across the city and battling the traffic to and from meetings), but I managed to test out a couple of restaurants and bars. I also hit the shops - there’s always time for that!
Shopping around The Grove is really nice. With Zara and Topshop, you will find a few recognisable names from the U.K. here as well as a few independents stores. If you have time to stop for lunch, ‘Marmalade’ is an inexpensive place to try with enormous portions!
For the best selection of independent shops, a visit to Abbot Kinney is an absolute must. Around 15 minutes from the airport (if the traffic is being kind) there are tons of interesting looking restaurants too. I had lunch one day at a popular vegan hangout (that serves eggs?!?) called ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’. Even though I happen to own a vegan friendly restaurant in Surrey with my husband, I’m not vegan. However, I could quite easily follow a vegan diet in LA. The choice of places to eat in is fantastic and their vegan dishes seem to be really inventive.
Abbott Kinney is also reasonably close to Santa Monica and Venice Beach and a fantastic way to explore is by hiring ‘A Bird’. These are fab little scooters, whereby you download the app on your phone, register your card payment details and literally pick up and drop off as you wish. Think ‘Boris Bikes’ - these are the LA Scooter equivalent - so cool!
On the way out of one of my meetings I got chatting to a really nice English girl who had recently relocated to LA with her husband. It was one of those moments that you meet someone and think ‘this girl is wicked’! Needless to say we met up for cocktails one evening and I had a few too many Raspberry Mojitas in a bar/restaurant called PUMP. Owed by another Brit and Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump, the cocktails were a little on the strong side but the atmosphere was nice.
I learned from new Pal, it’s easy to head to a bar on your own and meet new people. Everyone seems so welcoming but I guess that’s because a lot of the people you chat to are all wanting to make friends as they don’t originate from LA.
Another place I would recommend visiting for some drinks or an evening meal is Chateau Marmont. On Sunset Strip, around a 5 minute taxi ride from The Jeremy Hotel, this place has more of a traditional style and the scented candles smell unreal. Chateau Marmott feels incredibly classy and I was interested to hear its sister restaurant in London is the upmarket Chiltern Firehouse.
There is an unbelievable amount to do in and around LA and I’m counting the days to my next trip there. I’ll be sure to blog about it again when I next visit but hopefully I've given you a few tips of things to do and places to visit if you are heading out there any time soon.