With great weather, a dynamic culinary scene, and a host of eclectic neighbourhoods to explore, Los Angeles is a city that always offers something new and exciting, discovers Nick Walton.
Arrive on American Airline’s new direct flight between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Ideally timed to miss LA’s notorious rush hour and also for connection onto American Airlines’ extensive US and South America network, the airline operates the flight with a three-class 777-300ER aircraft featuring AA’s new-look business product, complete with enhanced meal service, cutting-edge in-flight technology, and the acclaimed Cirrus business class suite. Economy from US$515, business class from US$3,350.
Check into the city’s coolest new urban hideaway – Dream Hollywood. An ultraluxury retreat in the heart of Tinseltown, the 179-room hotel boasts a double-height lobby, captivating rooftop dining, and the city’s first “alleyway” concept, linking high-end artisanal shopping with five innovative F&B concepts. Guest rooms follow one of two themes – sea and sky, and sunset; while the lavish presidential suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a private dining room and wet bar, and a landscaped terrace. Be sure to leave time to explore the hotel’s 11,000sqft rooftop, which features one of the largest cabana-wreathed pools in town, as well as chic restaurants and bars.
Get your concierge to book you in at Mardi, a new culinary sensation in West Hollywood. The latest project by acclaimed chef Kris Tominaga, Mardi serves up sizable sharing plates of contemporary comfort food – think halibut ceviche; razor clams with tarragon butter; whole roasted chicken; and rabbit ragout – paired with delectable cocktails and presented in a picturesque courtyard setting.
Capture the beauty of LA from the Hollywood Hills, with cocktails at L.P. Rooftop Bar. There’s a list of playful cocktails, including a selection titled ‘bubble tea mouth party’, a chic clientele (especially at Frankie’s, a private bar within the bar), and a New Australian menu that has touches of Asia and Fiji from chef Louis Tikaram.
This morning your first stop should be Los Angeles’ newest home of cool, Silver Lake, a savvy spot sometimes referred to as the “Williamsburg of LA”. Decidedly foot-friendly and centred around Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake has already made a name for itself thanks to barista-driven coffee joints, chic local boutiques and some of the city’s most innovative restaurants. Kickoff at Intelligentsia, home to pricey but well-made coffee and some great people watching, or at Naturewell, a juicer down the road famed for its coconut-kale smoothies, before walking Sunset in search of everything from rare whiskies and collectable comics to hand-made leather goods and tribal art.
Escape the Cali sun with lunch in the sexy dining room of Blossom, a Chinatown and Downtown eatery that has opened in Silver Lake. With exposed brick, leather in dark chocolate, and some of the best Vietnamese cuisine in the city expect plenty of beef-laced dishes, including fantastically popular pho, though there are also vegetarian options available – this is LA after all.
From Silver Lake make for the Downtown Arts District, a once-industrial precinct that’s now home to great restaurants, galleries, artist’s studios, theatres, and bars. Another pedestrian-friendly spot in a city dominated by highways, the District has a welcoming vibe that makes it ideal for a lazy afternoon of exploration. Make for Hauser & Wirth, an international art gallery housed in the former Globe Mils complex. Acclaimed for its collection of contemporary and modern art pieces, the gallery also hosts regular live music events as well as lectures and public workshops.
For something far less intellectual, make for EightyTwo, the city’s first arcade bar. Boasting more than 40 classic consoles, this homage to the golden age of arcade gaming comes complete with thematic cocktails – think Princess Peach, The Dude, and Power Up – a fun tree-lined courtyard, and a resident DJ. Order EightyTwo’s take on the old fashioned, laced with lavender, and set about breaking your own high score.
Be sure to book ahead for your table at Gwen, a new butcher shop and fine dining restaurant from brothers Curtis and Luke Stone. With designs by Brooklyn’s Home Studios, the restaurant, housed in a 1920s building on Sunset Boulevard, specializes in age-old fire-centric cooking, using the best imported and US beef, which is hand-cut and dry-aged in-house. While the tasting menu is beef-heavy, there’s also delectable house-made charcuterie and seasonal game highlights, complemented by a 2,000-bottle wine cellar and one of the city’s highest guest to staff ratios.
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