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WFI GUIDE TO LA- MALIBU- VENICE-SANTA MONICA- LAGUNA -BIG SUR- NAPA -SAN FRANCISCO

9.1.17

                                     

Hello fellow Wild Free Innocent followers ! As you all know I was in LA over the Christmas break and made it my mission to go and visit all the hot new places so I decided to write my own LA guide for you to use as a guide book next time you are in California . As always all the below recommendations have been tried and tested by me so no second hand information here. Enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to email me .


HOT AND TRENDY  DINNER RESTAURANTS:

  • Chateau Marmont - Still one of the best places to see and be seen , dinner at Chateau Marmont is a must . Although the staff are incredibly arrogant and obnoxious its worth it in the end !
  • Cecconi's  - Holding  a prime corner site in West Hollywood, Cecconi's in LA is a definitive social meeting point ... Dark and sexy, the food is delicious and the manager Vittorio will look after you !
  • Soho House WeHo - By far the coolest place in town, Soho House is the number one go to place for dinner in LA. The venue is incredible: entered only via a car park , a two storey wrap around roof top penthouse with the most incredible views of LA and lots of choices of where to eat and drink. I highly recommend to have dinner in The Garden (which is the roof top garden area) and drinks in the main bar ...NAVA(their Lebanese indoor restaurant) is also good but I would give the Garden a shot first.

  • Madeo- This old school authentic Italian restaurant located in Beverly Hills oozes charm and sophistication from the moment you arrive. The food is incredible (best pasta I EVER had ) and the owner Alfio is one of the most charming Italians I ever came across! A local for celebrities and affluent residents this place is a must if you are in town !

  • Sunset Tower Bar - Another great old school spot for dinner is the dark and sexy Tower Bar located in the famous Sunset Tower Hotel. This place has so much history it reminds me of Mario's Bar in the Palace Hotel in St Moritz. Ask to meet the crazy manager Dimitri and you wont be disappointed !
  • The Nice Guy-  This super cool art deco restaurant and late night bar has become one of LA's favourite celebrity hotspots and I can see why. The vibe is incredible and yet very intimate as the place is so tiny. Its lovely owner, Seth Miller, just recently opened another restaurant called Delilah which is also fantastic ! Lets just say Mr Miller definitely knows how to run a restaurant !

  • Craig's -  Super cool American diner style restaurant  loved by A list celebrities so much so that a fleet of Paparazzi's is constantly parked outside. The vibe inside is buzzy and easy going and the walls are filled with super cool pieces of contemporary art ...lets not forget the incredible Retna graffiti which sits outside Craigs entrance !

  • Catch - Although considered the new cool go to place, I didn't love it personally and don't think it is worth going. Shame because the space is incredible - a Soho House type roof top restaurant and bar in the heart of West Hollywood...but the crowd was very disappointing and the vibe in general was quite tacky and disappointing... too try hard!


BEST LUNCH SPOTS:


  • Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel - LA's most classic lunch spot is a must. Order the Mc Carthy salad and enjoy the iconic surroundings of The BHH including its world famous banana leaf  wallpaper. After lunch head to the pool to the Cabana café for a smoothie or a fresh juice.
  • The Ivy - One of the most iconic places in LA, lunch at The Ivy on Robertson is not to be missed. Ask for a table outside and enjoy one of their many yummy dishes in their garden surrounded by a great crowd !

  • Urth Café-  Very easy going healthy café serving breakfast and lunch which became super popular because of the tv show Entourage.. always packed !
  • Mels Diner - A classic American Diner on Sunset , Mel's is not to be missed ! When in Rome ...

WHERE TO STAY:

  • The London - super cool boutique hotel in the heart of west Hollywood with the biggest rooms and an incredible roof top pool

  • Sunset Tower-  Even if a bit shabby and old school I would definitely recommend you to stay here. We had an amazing experience where you really feel like a part of the Old Hollywood Glamorous scene ... great little pool area and great service ! And don't forget about the very cool Tower Bar as well ...
  • Beverly Hills Hotel - A classic

  • Chateau Marmont - Everyone has to experience to stay here at some point !

     

SHOPPING:

  • Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place - LA's most iconic shopping destination with a huge variety of great fashion shops such as Fred Segal , Rebecca Minkoff, Paul Smith awesome pink store etc etc
  • Robertson Boulevard - the fashionable Robertson blvd houses some of the trendiest shops such as Intermix, Chanel, Lauren Moshi and Lululemon.
  • The Grove - This outdoor shopping mall makes up for a great day out ! Not only have they got super cute shops such as J Crew, Illesteva and Barneys New York but you can also pop to the farmers Market next door for a traditional local meal like  yummy Reuben Sandwiches !
  • Beverly Hills - shop  Rodeo Drive for the biggest brands and the surrounding streets for cool more contemporary brands such as Alo Yoga the super hip new yoga clothing label. Also whilst in Beverly Hills pop into Saks and Barneys !

  • Sunset Plaza -  Although not very long, this strip on sunset has some super cute shops such as Wildfox and H Lorenzo.
  • Restoration Hardware-  Housed in one of the most breath taking buildings on Melrose Avenue this interior design/homeware furniture giant is a must visit when here ! And they have a great offering with their membership scheme which gets you 25% discount on everything.

BEST RESIDENTIAL AREAS:

  • The Birds - the hip and trendy west Hollywood hills just above sunset has some of the coolest and trendiest homes with great views perfect for a young couple !
  • West Hollywood - Also great especially around Melrose Place etc but no view ....
  • Beverly Hills - The famous 90210 zip code housing some of the most incredible homes
  • Bel- Air - Even more exclusive in my opinion than BH, Bel Air is made up of a collection of huge state of he art homes ... a bit far out but beautiful nonetheless!
  • Mulholland Drive - Quirky houses with an amazing view and right next to the famous Runyon Canyon


OTHER:

  • The Art District Downtown - Visit the trendy new art district in downtown LA and check out The Broad Museum ( remember to book in advance !! ), the huge Hauser and Wirth Gallery ( biggest gallery in America per square foot !) and the famous MOCA Contemporary Art Museum
  • LACMA - visit LA's most famous museum of contemporary art. Be aware take your time as it is huge ! The museum is spread over 6 buildings !!
  • Griffith Observatory - Watch the sunset from The Griffith Observatory and you wont be let down !
  • Runyon Canyon - Absolutely loved going for a hike in the famous Runyon Canyon... you literally feel on top of the world !!

MALIBU:

  • Nobu Malibu - Lunch at Nobu is a must ! Sit on the terrace directly on the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean enjoying some delicious Japanese food ! Also keep an eye out for the Nobu Hotel which is being build right next door as we speak !

  • Little Beach House Malibu - Located right next to Nobu is Soho House's latest club. Only for Malibu residents and not open to Soho House members, this is the ultimate go to place in Malibu. Cosy, chic and cool with breath-taking views ...breakfast, lunch or dinner is a MUST !! If you are a Soho House member like myself just email your main house and ask them to make an exception and book you in for lunch or dinner.

  • Malibu Mart - Probably some of the best shopping I did during my entire trip, this open air cute mall has some great shops
  • Malibu Pier - Take a walk on the world famous Malibu pier and stop at the Malibu Farm for a coffee or a juice and visit Alice Bamford's great shop called Ranch at the Pier
  • Aviator Nation -Located across from the pier is my absolute favourite brand of all times ! Aviator nation sells super cool vintage inspired tracksuit pants , tops and tees... very pricey but so cool and so soft you wont regret buying it !

  • Getty Villa - Part of the Getty Museum the Getty Villa in Malibu allows you to  immerse yourself in the ancient world of Greece and Rome.. admission is free !
  • Point Dume - Drive up to Point Dume for a hike and to see some incredible Malibu mansions !

SANTA MONICA:

  • Shutters on the beach - Great lunch spot in this super cute colonial style hotel right on the beach

  • Fairmont - Head down to the Bungalow at The Fairmont hotel for the best beach cocktail bar !
  • Third Street Promenade - Great for shopping
  • Boardwalk - Rent a beach cruiser and ride all the way from Santa Monica Pier up to Venice Beach
  • Ocean Blvd- Super cool beach front promenade and great place to live !

VENICE BEACH:

  • Abbott Kinney Rd - By far the trendiest street in Venice full of amazing shops and restaurants. amongst my favourites are : Gjelinas for lunch, Intelligentsia for a juice, The Butchers Daughter for a salad and all the cool shops such as Illesteva, Aviator Nation , James Pearse etc etc
  • Boardwalk -Great to stroll down Venice Beach boardwalk to really get a taste of the real Venice... walk all the way down to Muscle Beach passing bye amazing graffitis, skateboard shops and hippies lying around ...very picturesque !

LAGUNA BEACH:




Escape for one night to Laguna Beach - one of the most incredible sceneries I have ever visited !
Stay at The Laguna Beach House Hotel which is super cute, do a drive through the hills of Laguna to see some incredible homes with the most spectacular views (especially around Skyline Drive), take a stroll on the main beach, walk around town which has some super cute shops and has that very authentic feeling ... Have dinner at the super popular Nicks for some great food and bubbly atmosphere... Perfect if you want to have a little romantic escape ! on your way back stop at Crystal Cove State Park perfect spot for pictures !






BIG SUR:



Totally worth the 6 hour drive from LA.. wow is all I can say ! You will see the most spectacular landscapes with dramatic cliffs and stormy beaches .... stop at the famous Post Ranch Inn Hotel for the night for the most incredible views you have ever seen and in the morning drive to the nearby charming Carmel Village and Carmel By The Sea...very picturesque and charming !



NAPA VALLEY:

Napa Valley is a great experience in itself. Stay 2 nights at the beautiful Calistoga Ranch Inn Hotel or at the iconic Auberge Du Soleil ( although it is looking pretty tired these days !) or at the great Meadowood Hotel. Do your mandatory vineyard tour especially visiting the following vineyards : Groth Vineyards, Opus One, Castelo Di Amorosa and Robert Mondavi then head to St Helena town which has super cute shops. For dinner definitely head to Yountville where you can choose from so many restaurants such as the famous French Laundry, Redd Wood and many more. Drive also through Calistoga stopping at Johnny's for some Oysters at the bar and keep driving until you hit the beautiful Sonoma valley.




SAN FRANCISCO :

San Fran ...what a beautiful city ! If you have only 2 days to visit the city like I did I would recommend to do the following : walk around the cute area of Pacific Heights where you have some great shops and residential streets. Stop for lunch at Wood House Fish Co for a lobster roll and a glass of chardonnay ... continue down Fillmore Street to Union Street and enjoy the views from the hilly streets. For some shopping I would swing bye Union Square which has all the best shopping malls such as Saks, Macys, Barneys and Nordstroms plus your typical American brands such as Abercrombie and Victoria Secrets and finally have dinner at Roka Akor in the financial district for some great sushi ( ask to sit at the bar way cooler ) . The next day head to the MOMA museum which was absolutely incredible ! Housing most of the Fischer's family collection the pieces were jaw dropping ...what a greatly curated exhibition ! Then take the Ferry down to Sausalito Island so you can get great views of the San Fran bay and on the way back (make sure you book ) do the famous Alcatraz tour. On your last night I would suggest you go to one of the touristy piers like we did to enjoy a proper seafood meal like The Crabhouse on Pier 39. Unfortunately I don't have many hotel recommendations, all I know is do not stay at The Clift .. so tired, run down , smelly, dark and partied out !




     

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