From S.A.B., San Francisco
Where I went: Los Angeles, California
Why I went: Friend’s 40th Birthday Party
Who was on the trip: Myself and my wife
When: Mid October (weather is beautiful that time of year in Los Angeles)
Where we stayed: Sunset Tower Hotel
What I liked: The Sunset Tower Hotel has 74 suites and rooms, and most of them have spectacular views of the surrounding area (i/e Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills and downtown Los Angeles). Our room, a Towhouse Suite, was absolutely stunning and I suspect one of the nicest rooms at any Los Angeles hotel. The Townhouse Suite is split-level apartment and has a living and dining area downstairs, complete with a fireplace and walls lined in bookshelves. The terrace has sweeping views of Los Angeles. I have stayed in lots of unique hotel rooms over the years but this was truly one of the best. The hotel has a wonderful pool with incredible views and there’s a casual-dress poolside café called the Terrace with unique indoor/outdoor setting. The Terrace serves the menu of the Tower Bar (the hotel’s main restaurant, which is fantastic), in addition to a selection of small plate appetizers and is perfect for a casual meal.
What I’d go back for: The fantastic hotel experience, which set the tone for the entire trip. From the moment we arrived, everything felt easy, luxurious and welcoming. The hotel was a good mix between contemporary and old-world (it reminded me of the understated elegance of the Carlyle in New York combined with the coolness of LA). We looked at several other hotel in the area but found most to be striving too hard to be LA hip (complete with a “scene” to go along with it). The Sunset Tower Hotel is very discerning and the staff is incredibly attentive, starting with Heather Hill (the front office manager who caters to guests every need with the utmost discerning charm) down to the valets.
Where We Ate: We drove to LA from San Francisco and stopped in at the Getty Center to wonder around and have lunch. The restaurant is located in a Richard Meier–designed space that has incredible views of the Santa Monica Mountains. Chef Anthony Jacquet presides over the Mediterranean-California–inspired menu, which changes seasonally (I had the seared Albacore tuna Niçoise, and my wife had the prosciutto and dill/caper egg salad sandwich).
We also had dinner at Koi (730 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-659-9449), one of Los Angeles’ hippest sushi spots filled with Hollywood celebrities (David Spade and Dave Navaro were both dinning there the night we went). The menu, under the watchful eye of chef Tim Horrock and sushi chef Toshiaki Horiai, is long and inventive combining the traditional sushi and hot dish offerings along with a plethora of Californian cuisine inspired dishes.
What to See & Do: There is an infinite amount to do in Los Angeles but we were limited because our time was so short. We chose to visit the Getty Center, which is truly amazing and arguably the one destination to visit if you are pressed for time. They had a wonderful Irving Penn photography exhibit, as well as a wide array of other permanent and traveling exhibits. There are also beautiful gardens, which one can wonder around in/get lost in thought for hours. In terms of spas, the Argyle Salon & Spa offers the full array of services from facials, manicures, pedicures and tanning to massages/body treatments and a variety of “baths” services (including a Turkish bath experience known as a Hammam).
What I wish I knew in advance: That we should have come for a longer visit (which is always the case).
What to skip: The LA traffic.
What not to miss: Sunset Tower Hotel and the Getty Center.
Read Indagare’s destination report on Los Angeles
Read designer Kelly Wearstler’s tips on what to see with kids in LA
Read about new restaurants in Just Back from LA