There's nothing in this world that makes me feel more alive than exploring somewhere I've never been. I love taking in the sights, sounds and smells that make a place what it is; getting lost and making new friends along the way. No matter how big or small, I believe every city has something unique to offer and I feel immensely privileged to have the opportunity to experience each and every one.
However, there comes a point in every traveller's journey when they wind up in a city that they just don't love. While they appreciate having been, they're left wondering what all of the fuss was about, and with no desire to return. For me, that place was LA. Don't get me wrong, its not that its a horrible place (I mean, can any city with beaches ever be truly terrible?) but people talk about LA as if its the greatest thing in America and I just don't understand why. It's expensive, it's difficult to navigate, and with the exception of theme parks, it doesn't offer anything that couldn't be found in every other metropolitan city in America for less money and half the commute time. I'd pick Dallas over LA any day of the week.
For these reasons, I avoid the city as much as possible. Given that I live 7,000 miles away, this is usually an easy task. But a few months ago, I was invited to attend a training by Patti Stanger and I couldn't resist the opportunity to learn from the Millionaire Matchmaker herself, even if it meant spending a week in my not so favorite city. Since I had to be there anyways, I decided to go into my visit with an open mind and really try to understand what makes people get so crazy for this city. Much to my surprise, it worked! So if you've never been to LA or, like me, ever felt that LA just wasn't for you, I've shared my itinerary below in the hopes that you enjoy it a little bit more on your next visit. :)
After 24 hours straight of travel I'm always desperate for a shower, a snack and a nap. I went through immigration, picked up my luggage, and hopped in a cab as quickly as I could. Forty-five minutes later we pulled through the ivy covered porte cochere of the London West Hollywood. The staff were friendly and efficient, I was checked in and up to my room in no time at all.
I immediately fell in love with the hotel's modern and luxurious decor as I'm a sucker for anything art deco. The lobby area even featured these Mithchell Gold + Bob Williams Ansel Brass Chairs I've been lusting after for years.
The entire property is beautiful but the standout of the hotel is truly the rooftop pool and dining area. It's the perfect place to have a glass of champagne and take in unparalleled views of the city. I felt as though I was living in a Slim Aaron's photo.
The next morning, I woke up and checked my Instagram only to realize I'd nearly forgotten one of our country's most important holidays-National Donut Day. Fortunately, I'd woken up ridiculously early (#jetlagproblems) which left plenty of time for researching the best donut shop in town so that we wouldn't miss out on the festivities. Crisis averted.
After consuming a delicious and balanced breakfast from SK Donuts, we headed to Rodeo Drive for an afternoon of shopping. It is a beautiful area and I enjoyed walking around but it's probably better for people watching than shopping, unless you're looking to drop some major $$$. However, I did end up making one purchase that day that I'm excited to share on here very soon!
After a full day of shopping, we met friends for dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Flagship restaurant, Spago . The ambience was good, the food was great, and the company couldn't be beat. We headed to Chateau Marmont for one last round of drinks then called it a night.
The next morning, we grabbed a cab to Santa Monica where we had brunch at True Food Kitchen (I would eat here every day if I could) and did a bit more shopping to stock up on things that are difficult to find in Hong Kong. Later, we dropped off our bags and rented bikes to ride along the beach, all the way to the Venice Boardwalk where we ended up going into the Venice Beach Freak Show. If you haven't heard of it before, it's a bit like a mini Circus where people with exceptional talents showcase their unique, and often very dangerous, skills. It's only about twenty minutes long and the routines change every week. I recommend going at least once but, I will warn you that it is not easy to watch. Those performers must have nerves of steel!
I didn't do any other sightseeing as the rest of my time was spent in training with Patti. Overall, it was a great trip and LA just might be growing on me...