Tag Archives: Southern California

Westlake Staycation

27 Aug

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Sometimes a girl needs a little staycation. Something with a spa. Somewhere not too-too far. Relaxing. Indulgent.

I had the perfect staycation this month at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. A gorgeous property that truthfully seems a little out of sorts in this particular location… but with a golf course could easily become a destination spot.

Less than an hour from West Hollywood, I highly recommend making the drive for a quick overnight. The deep marble 2-person tub alone is worth the trip. Just BYO bubble bath. Or request their intoxicating what-I-can-only-guess-is lemongrass-scented bath cubes.

Make sure to visit the pool, too. Once you make your way through the spa maze, it’s well worth reserving a cabana if you can swing it. Lovely spacious patios surround the pool, fully equipped with daybed, chaise lounges, television, ceiling fan & storage space. You can easily make a day of it out there.

I however had a spa and salon to visit. If you book a treatment, make sure to leave time to experience the spa amenities. Especially the sauna. It’s huge. Two rooms! I actually wasn’t counting the minutes ‘til I could bolt for the steam room. If you’re concerned about losing tone or firmness in your face, treat yourself to the Swift Lift Firming Facial. It’s as effective as it is relaxing—and they’ll do extractions if you want. Yes please.

The hotel is also home to the award-winning California Health & Longevity Institute — a facility with onsite doctors and specialists to help guests achieve individual wellness and total body rejuvenation.  

Recently taken over by the Four Seasons, the new Rhythm & Hair salon is modern beauty convenience at its best. Grab a cut, blowout, manicure… it’s all at your fingertips. Heh heh, punny. The stylists use some of my favorite Oribe products, and there’s even a special barber-esque area just for men.

Before I knew it, it was time to return to the real world. Perhaps the time I plan a staycation, I’ll plan to stay a little longer.

For more info, go to https://www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage/

xo

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O-jai, you’re back!

2 Jul

IMG_9369If you’ve followed my travels for a while, you know I love a good weekend trip to Ojai. There’s always less traffic than driving south–from LA. It’s a prettier drive, and you can stop for some outlet or antique shopping along the way.

I’ve been visiting Ojai for over 20 years now. The Ojai Valley Inn has always been my go-to. A quick escape away from home. I’ve loved it since my first rose petal treatment… which I believe they’ve stopped offering. I will always savor my stays there. But it’s changed over the years. The pools and shops for better; the customer service for worse.

I should clarify actually – the onsite service and staff still remain as lovely as ever. It’s the Reservations team and pre-arrival customer experience that has felt cold and unaccommodating the past few years. But, as I’m admittedly picky about hotels and not a huge B&B lover, the resort has always been my first choice in Ojai.

I hadn’t been back to the area since before the 2017 fires, and actually didn’t even know what was still standing. So when I got an invite from the town’s PR team to come visit for a summer solstice shopping event, I was all about it.

Turns out there are plenty of other lodging accommodations in Ojai – camp sites, lodges, B&Bs, and intimate hotels.

I stayed at the Lavender Inn—an historic B&B that my sister told me was charming. And it was! Late afternoon wine and cheese offering. Complimentary wifi. Morning breakfast buffet. Multiple outdoor and indoor spaces to sit and chill. Or work in my case. Lots of little touches to make you feel at home.

I’ll always prefer a luxe hotel stay, but it’s easy to be charmed by the pride of a well-maintained landmark B&B. Built in 1874. It was originally Ojai’s first schoolhouse! Like the Inn keeper at Lavender Inn, the local shop owners we came across all upheld an attitude of gratitude. It’s a town that’s endured disaster and has come out the other side.

I even spotted groups of chairs set up randomly along Ojai Avenue. When I asked what they were for, I was told that the older locals secure their spots weeks in advance for the annual 4th of July parade… and it’s well-known not to mess with these chairs. Amazing! Such small-town spirit is completely foreign to a city girl. I laugh thinking what would happen if people set chairs out prior to a Laker parade, or the like. If LA ever gets another Championship parade, I’m going to set up chairs the night before and see what happens.

If you visit Ojai (and you should!), I recommend stopping in at these charming shops:

#shopojai  #ojailove  #ojai

xo

 

 

Girl Heads North: Carmel Road trip

17 Jul
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Hyatt Regency Monterey

This one’s kind of a two-parter, as I made two stops on a recent road trip up north.

First I met a fellow group of writers up at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. I’ve never stayed in this area before. It’s inland a bit so there aren’t any immediate ocean views, but the hotel golf course provides a peaceful backdrop. And the course is beautiful. To me, most are – but the trees here give it an extra oomph of serenity. Truly the best part of this hotel is the staff. From the front desk to the wait staff, everyone goes above and beyond to ensure your satisfaction.

They made sure we took a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A treat for any sea life lover – and just minutes away. Honestly, I could sit and mediate on the jelly fish tanks all day long. They’re mesmerizing.

We were also introduced to a local artist – Patricia Qualls. We had lunch at her airy studio in Carmel Valley and learned about the inspiration behind her work. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. Her pieces are exquisite, and she is about as warm and lovely as a human gets.

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Back at the Hyatt, the food is surprisingly good. I enjoyed every bite during my stay. And I took a lot of them! Especially dinner. Everything, down to the salads is prepared with taste and aesthetic in mind. Like most restaurants in the area, it’s a farm-to-table feast. Very family friendly. Even the honey is locally sourced. Originally created by a 10-yr old boy for a school project, Carmel Honey Company is now a burgeoning business.

The hotel rooms could use some updating. And some style. They’re average at best. I’ll leave it at that.

It’s a big property so there’s parking available in front of each building. Very convenient. As much as I adore valet, there’s something to be said for being able to come and go without having to call for your car or wait in line.

 

My next stop took me back toward the coast to another Hyatt property. It’s a spot I’d been once before, and will always look forward to returning.

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Hyatt Carmel Highlands view

 

As I sit here overlooking the great Pacific, silently reveling in my Rosé and Brussels sprouts appetizer, I am filled with an awestruck appreciation for this 100-year-old hotel. It’s perfection. The Hyatt Carmel Highlands is like so many beautiful women we know – aged, elegant, resilient, and always evolving… if you pay close enough attention.

Celebrating her centennial birthday this year, she is still as relevant and adored as ever. Her vaulted ceilings, stone columns, and windowed walls are truly timeless. But the deck has been updated since my last visit – and it’s been acquired by the Hyatt. There’s new sparkling glass with modern tables to take in the sunset. And I hear other dining room upgrades are in the works. Something to look forward to for my next trip.

Some of The Highlands’ rooms are mid-renovation. But I’m in a townhouse-style room and it couldn’t be more comfortable. All the kitchen necessities of home, but with a modern fireplace and out-of-this-world tub.

Perched atop these cliffs and cypress trees with the waves crashing and foaming below, it’s easy to forget about everything else. But somewhere in between all the letting go-ness, unexpected new perspectives and realizations are woven.

Life makes sense. We are where we should be. And wherever that is, we have ourselves to thank.

This week I did good.

xo

 

Coastal Cleanup Day 2015

17 Sep

logoThis Saturday, September 19th is Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Day! Over 10,000 volunteers will come from all over the west coast to help clean up our So Cal beaches, rivers, creeks and parks.

Grab your friends, take your kids, and get out there to help pretty up our coast. There will be over 50 cleanup sites from Malibu to Pasadena. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome.

Sign up and find out more by clicking HERE.

Let’s take part and protect our gorgeous environment, Angelenos. The beaches won’t clean themselves.

xx