Vintage Romance in Beautiful Los Angeles
Los Angeles city still offers opportunities for 1920s-esque romance and pampering and its dining, cocktail, and fashion scenes are stronger than ever.
Casa Del Mar
Photo by Jimmy Shaw Jr.
Although that Old Hollywood feel is elusive across the massive metropolis that is Los Angeles, with its seemingly endless traffic and urban sprawl, the city still offers opportunities for 1920s-esque romance and pampering—and its dining, cocktail, and fashion scenes are stronger than ever.
Luxury with a historic bent and notable nearby food and drink can be hard to find in LA, but the city does have excitingly walkable hotel hubs, which you can maximize by using rideshare apps. The dreamiest hotels are costly, but midweek and off-season (when the weather is still gorgeous) can yield discounted rates.
The higher floors of the Four Seasons’ Beverly Wilshire offer striking views of the city, surrounding mountains, and foothills. Built in 1928, this hotel stands grandly at the head of Rodeo Drive, prime for Beverly Hills window-shopping and people-watching.
It is hard to top the Wilshire’s service, from gracious staff that remembers you throughout your stay to the option of in-room vodka-cocktail service at dusk. In a whimsical turn, this year the Wilshire, through whose lobby movie stars casually pass, celebrates the 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman, which was filmed here.
Conveniently inside the Wilshire and featuring a superb wine list and eclectic dishes, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut is elegant, modern, and so much more than a steakhouse. Also in the hotel, THE Blvd serves afternoon high tea and artful, decadent desserts. A couple blocks away is Beverly Hills’ best coffee source, friendly, husband-and-wife-run Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co.
Head to West Hollywood for cocktail hour. Gracias Madre serves striking agave-spirits cocktails drawn from an extensive tequila and mezcal collection, while Now Boarding—serving playful cocktails and mid-century classics—feels like you’ve been transported to a 1960s airport lounge, all retro cool and laid-back on weeknights. (Go on weekends for the party.)
For equally luxurious romance right on the ocean and just a short stroll away from the pier, Muscle Beach, and the waves, Casa Del Mar has been the stately queen of Santa Monica since 1926. Watching those waves and sunsets from the stately lobby and restaurant—or better yet, poolside or from ocean-view units—is as soothing as the cool blue and white tones of Casa Del Mar’s décor.
Nearby, Santa Monica Yacht Club is the most fulfilling of the area’s new restaurants, with a refined nautical theme, dark woods, and impeccable cocktails from engaging bartenders. Silky crudo, lobster burrata toast, or even an unforgettable apple and white cheddar salad are just a few joys on the seafood-driven menu.
Belcampo Meat Co.’s Santa Monica outpost is quite different from its Marin location due to show-stopping cocktails such as the elevated Appletini with house sour-apple pucker and chlorophyll or Ramos Cereal Milk, a twist on a classic gin fizz with Fruity Pebbles. Even alcohol-free house phosphates such as tart-fresh raspberry are memorable, paired with dishes showcasing meats from Belcampo’s sustainable, humane, organic farms.
Spend a few dollars on Lyft to avoid driving, savor a creative cocktail hour and a decadent meal, watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from a historic hotel. That’s the relaxing way to do LA.
9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-5200, www.FourSeasons.com/BeverlyWilshire.
Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co.
9467 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-288-4048, www.AharonCoffee.com.
7746 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-848-8447, www.NowBoardingLA.com.
Casa Del Mar
1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, 310-581-5533, www.HotelCasaDelMar.com.