Travel

By Kelly Hushin

You’re a Big Apple girl; Off-Broadway enthusiast, Le Poisson Rouge wallflower, honorary happy hour-er, MoMA member, Stumptown Cafe regular, bona fide intellectual – the whole bit. Your anti-you city? L.A. Naturally. But when it’s five degrees Fahrenheit outside, suddenly the sunny, smoggy City of Angels sky doesn’t sound too shabby. Sure, there are more tropical locales (Bali, Maldives, Hawaii to start) that top your list – but let’s get real: a trip to L.A. is a tad bit easier, especially when you can only take one day off. This February, take you V-Day love, or your friends…or yourself…out of the cold, and don’t worry – we’ve got it all figured out.


As the saying goes, go big or go home, so start your L.A. stay on a Friday at the most exclusive and luxurious hotel the city offers these days: The Charlie – a far removed spot that’s more than you could dream for in a luxury hideaway. The Charlie, (http://www.thecharliehotel.com/) aptly named for the property’s former owner, Charlie Chaplin, is a tucked-away compound of 14 cottages; still West Hollywood’s most undiscovered gem. Its regulars are celebrities who can afford the digs, and love the seclusion.

You’d never expect to find it in your rental car – yes you’ll need one in L.A. – on its small side street between Melrose and Santa Monica, but once you do, you’ll never want to leave. Liv Tyler didn’t…for two years. Each cottage has been restored to look like new, but old – keeping the charm of Charlie Chaplin’s ’20s, but adopting the necessities of modern day travelers.

Top off your afternoon arrival by driving to a classic spot in the heart of Hollywood and enjoying a cocktail there. Sip poolside at the infamous Hollywood Roosevelt, (http://www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/la/hollywood-roosevelt), a Thompson Hotel, brought to you by the same hotel moguls that gave us 60 Thompson, Thompson LES and 6 Columbus in NYC. Sip and dip before heading back to the Charlie where you’ll want to soak up your own private cottage and eat in on your first night in town. Make use of your outdoor barbeque or your indoor full-sized kitchen and cook or order in with a bottle of wine…or two. If the wine hasn’t put you to sleep in your magical cottage, brave the club scene and visit The Premier Supper Club (http://premieresupperclub.com/) in Hollywood or Rolling Stone’s new restaurant and lounge, named and after and brought to you by the infamous music mag and set to open Feb. 1st. After a night of partying, sleep late at the Charlie and don’t forget to take in the gorgeous garden with a leisurely coffee before you check out.

After sleeping in on Saturday and enjoying the most of the Charlie, you’ll be ready to head to your second and last hotel of the trip, in the best zip code the city’s got – 90210. While typically hailed as a shopping Mecca more than a hotel hangout, the Hills (not to be confused with the Hollywood Hills) offers one of the city’s “it” overnighters with the Thompson Beverly Hills, where you’ll check in for your final night. Smartly and cleanly designed by Dodd-Mitchell, Thompson Beverly Hills (http://www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/la/thompson-beverly-hills) sits right near the entrance to the better part of Rodeo Drive. You’ll feel like you’re on Madison Avenue, minus the throngs of slow moving tourists that annoy you – instead bustling with throngs of slow moving tourists that don’t annoy you. You’re in L.A., remember? All smiles.

After spending your day rolling down Rodeo, take a trip a little deeper into the hood for dinner at Bazaar in the SLS Hotel. Dining here is an experience akin to no other. You’ll have tons of small plates, each one more delicious than the last, and you’ll drop a lot of dough, but it will all be worth it. Especially since the mojitos (best in town) will make you forget you care. After your belly’s been fed and your inhibitions loosened, head back to the Thompson Beverly Hills, but not to hit the sack – yet, for the city’s most happening rooftop sits atop your sleeping spot. Visit the rooftop for a nightcap and perhaps dancing or movie watching, depending on the party of choice at the venue. Eventually it’ll be bedtime, and if you have brought your V-Day love, take full advantage of the mirror panels that extend up the wall and onto the ceiling. If you haven’t had one too many cocktails, that is.


On your last day (presumably Sunday if you’ve taken a long weekend, as we suggest), take in more of your hotel by soaking up the sun at the rooftop pool, before heading out for some more nature with a quick hike in Franklin Canyon Park. Runyon and Griffith are more popular, but this one is a bit off the beaten path and offers lots of good walks. Lastly, if you have time, don’t forget to pack in a few hours at the Getty, where you’ll see fixed and rotating exhibits, all carefully curated and inspiring.

Sadly, you’ll eventually have to pack up and head back east. But at least you’ll have made the most of this year’s month of Valentines, whether you did it flying solo or with a partner. And perhaps the quick in and out will give you a new love for the city that, as a New Yorker, you’re supposed to hate.

The Charlie
819 North Sweetzer Ave.
West Hollywood, CA, 90069
(323) 988-9000

Thompson Beverly Hills
9360 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 273-1400

SLS Hotel
9360 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 273-1400

Hollywood Roosevelt
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-7000

The Getty
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1679
(310) 440-7300

Originally published February 2011
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