I’ve had a few girls DM me lately asking for suggestions for their upcoming trips to Los Angeles, so I thought I’d put together a quick 2018 guide for where to eat, drink, stay and shop in LA.
While thinking of this list I tried to balance the staple spots that anyone new to LA would want to hit with some newer hangouts that haven’t quite made the rounds yet. I figure when you spend a weekend in LA, you want part classic, and part cool, where the locals frequent – that’s what I look for in cities, at least!
NoMad – Everyone is buzzing over this newest hotel addition to the city. It’s downtown in a historic building with some major New York charm. The Mezzanine, its evening restaurant, has already made best of the year eatery lists. If you’re into a city vibe and want access to the best of DTLA, I’d check out this new spot.
Surfrider Malibu – On the other side of the spectrum is this beachy, casual-cool Malibu hotel. I haven’t been here yet but can’t wait to check it out. If you like chic beach house decor (palm trees, white linen, ikat prints, roof deck – very Instagrammable) and an ocean view this is a good bet. Staying in Malibu might hinder you from access to the majority of LA, because distance and… traffic, but if you’re coming to relax it’s no problem.
Viceroy Santa Monica – I’m really into the Viceroy for its art deco decor and location in the heart of Santa Monica. You’ll have easy access to Malibu but also to West Hollywood (and further). The pool area is sophisticated with black and white stripe cabanas and palm trees.
Nobu Ryokan – I’d love to do a staycation here. This hotel is by the owners of Nobu restaurant, and known for its gorgeous simplistic architecture right on the beach.
Note – None of the above are in West Hollywood; not by design but because I think these places are more interesting! If you stay elsewhere in LA, West Hollywood is still an easy Uber drive away. However, if you’re looking to stay in West Hollywood specifically, I like the London Hotel, and the Jeremy which just opened and is swanky and fun. Chateau Marmont courtyard is pretty for drinks but the actual hotel rooms are a bit run down and overpriced (in my humble opinion).
As I mentioned in the intro of this post, there are a few spots an LA newbie has to hit before getting adventurous:
Polo Lounge at Beverly Hills Hotel – Just a classic place. Sure, your meal will be a little overpriced and you’ll have to valet, but this hotel is feminine and fun. The pink buildings, palm tree wallpaper and poolside cabanas make it the ideal brunch spot if you’re traveling with girlfriends. A lot of LA locals host their business lunches, bridal showers and events here.
The Ivy – Another traditional LA eatery. Known for their colorful plates, florals and take-home cookie boxes (so good). You can typically find paparazzi outside the Robertson location scouting out any reality TV stars. It’s not the type of place I’d go as a local each week – but I love taking out of towners here and it’s a good choice for a birthday.
Gjelina – Amazing food plus a pretty courtyard with twinkling lights. Absolutely must make a reservation here as walk-ins rarely get a table.
Nobu – If you like sushi, you’ll have to hit Nobu at sunset. I’d give it an 9 for the excellent sushi alone, but the ocean view puts it well over 10. As you can imagine, it’s expensive but easy to order a couple shared plates.
Neighbor – On to the lesser known, more local spots. This just opened on Abbott Kinney and I went with my boyfriend recently had the best dinner! We loved the courtyard ambiance, lowkey but buzzing vibe and every plate was delicious.
Commissary – This restaurant is inside a glass greenhouse at the Line Hotel, full of greenery and florals. The hotel is in a bit of a random area (Koreatown, technically) but I’d come here just for lunch without planning to walk around the area much. Brunch is great but the greenhouse vibe really makes it – check out the photos.
Cassia – Southeast Asian menu in Santa Monica. They have this appetizer called “Kaya Bread” that I drool thinking about. Super high ceilings and ideal for drinks too.
There aren’t nearly enough rooftops in LA, but the following offer views of their respective areas:
Hotel Erwin – Watch the sunset over Venice Beach on the roof of Hotel Erin. Evening weeknights bring a cool scene that’s a nice reprieve from your typical West Hollywood bar. Bring a denim jacket for chilly oceanside evenings.
Perch – Take the elevator to the 15th floor for the best DTLA skyline view. They often have live music too.
E.P. & L.P. – While I must admit I’m not a huge fan of the food, this place is best for drinks anyway. It’s one of the few rooftops in West Hollywood with a lot of real estate – the wooden deck offers spacious room for larger groups and the cocktail list is creative. I’d go for happy hour and eat in the area after.
Beauty & Essex – Set in the new Dream Hotel in Hollywood, at Selma and Cahuenga, this restaurant and bar is glamorous. Annie had her Lawless launch here and we mingled in the upstairs courtyard before eating inside. I didn’t include the Dream Hotel on my “Stay” list because it’s a little too loud and sceney for me as far as hotels go (due to Tao, the club, being downstairs) – I like to stay in hotels that have a nice vibe until midnight before getting quiet!
Principessa – A Venice boutique that carries all your staple contemporary designers like For Love of Lemons and Stone Cold Fox, but they also stock smaller, beachy lines I haven’t heard of yet and a bevy of accessories like fedoras and jewelry. Check the glass counter by the register for some unique jewelry finds from Jacquie Aiche to vintage.
Elyse Walker – This boutique is designer heaven. Ideal for some window shopping – I can’t go in here without wanting everything! Their buyers do a perfect job of mixing classic designers with newer, cooler lines. If you’ve heard of FWRD, the online destination, this is it’s actual brick and mortar location.
Reservoir – The coolest boutique, full of contemporary pieces and accessories.
Peri.A – A new boutique on Robertson offering up an eclectic mix of designers.
Melrose Place – I’m grouping the following into one, because they’re easily walkable when you park on Melrose Place: Veronica Beard, Mansur Gavriel, Zimmermann. These are all single-brand stores, but the store windows are always perfect and Alfred Coffee is right at the end for a latte after browsing. I found my Cannes Film Festival dress at Fabiana Milazzo‘s showroom on Melrose Place.
Any questions? Leave them in the comments below, and find my outfit details in the Shop bar.