A Dreamy L.A. Escape Entails Opulence, Intrigue — and Even Some Walking

A Dreamy L.A. Escape Entails Opulence, Intrigue — and Even Some Walking

Life’s a beach in Santa Monica

DOGS WITH PONYTAILS. Someone dressed like Jimmy Buffet on psychedelics blaring music from a speaker hanging from his neck. Another gent taking a conference call on a ’90s-era headset at the skate park. These are all scenes from a leisurely hour in Venice Beach, where eclecticism and luxury intersect in true Los Angeles fashion.


Between the good vibes and the whole weather-not-being-a-thing thing, it’s not hard to understand why people from all walks of life gravitate to the City of Angels. But above all, L.A. remains a place where the rich and famous, along with those who like to cosplay being rich and famous, thrive.

Take the Fairmont Century Plaza, for instance. The iconic hotel recently underwent a post-Covid renovation to the tune of $2.5 billion (yes, with a “b”), preserving its mid-century nostalgia while nodding to Los Angeles’ laidback luxury of the 2020s. In addition to 400 guest rooms (including 49 suites), the 16-floor property, situated on more than six Beverly-Hills-adjacent acres, has dozens of privately owned residences, a beautiful art collection — as well as Fairmont Gold, the brand’s 70-room hotel-within-a-hotel for uber-VIP guests.

The hotel’s brasserie, Lumiere, has what might be the best baguette ever, delightfully salty and served with extra-creamy butter. Stop in for bread and a cocktail, or stay and enjoy a plate of squid-ink pasta with spicy crabmeat and an unexpected hit of cilantro.

The Fairmont’s bottom-floor spa is a must, boasting its share of L.A. intrigue: chlorophyll water, experiential rain showers, bio-hacking treatments, a hammam room.

But for the true celeb experience, make a day trip to the Hotel Bel-Air, where a tucked-away spa sits among acres of lush gardens and instantly whisks visitors away to the privacy-laden land of Hollywood Glam.

Those who want to make more of a splash will find themselves in Brentwood, dining at hip, new restaurants like the Barcelona-inspired Teleferic. Or perhaps back in Venice, shopping along Abbott Kinney — Made in Earth jewelry; sustainable cashmere by Naadam; health-centric items a la green juice and essential oils — before hitting the vintage shops and the beach.

Meanwhile, Downtown L.A. may be a little more subdued, but isn’t without its charm. The Hotel Per La, occupying a former bank building that was previously the NoMad Hotel until 2022, is in the heart of one of the most walkable districts in the city. Nearby, the dual-property Moxy and AC Hotel just opened Level 8, an immersive-nightlife destination with eight different restaurants and lounges on the eighth floor.

That’s convenient, seeing as there’s something Houstonians might be reluctant to admit about L.A.: The traffic is, indeed, measurably worse.

The verdant lobby of Hotel Per la

Pasta at Per L’Ora inside Hotel Per la

The Fairmont

The bakery at The Fairmont

The spa at The Fairmont

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