Los Angeles is one of my all time favorite cities to visit in the U.S. Located in a state that won the lottery on weather and boasting one of the most diverse and open minded populations south of the border, this warm blooded Canadian can’t get enough of the City of Angels. And since West Hollywood is one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore whenever I go, I figured I’d document my latest explorations for all of you. I mean, somebody’s got to do it, right?
The Grafton on Sunset
I’ve stayed in multiple properties in Los Angeles, and the Grafton was by far one of my favorites. The property recently underwent an extensive $8 million renovation, leaving the hotel transformed in all facets. The Grafton boasts a Hollywood chic décor, accented with contemporary touches, striking the perfect balance of retro and modern.
The Grafton’s location is primer than prime, right in the heart of the famous Sunset Strip. It’s actually walking distance from some amazing destinations, a rarity in a city like LA. Whether you’re in the mood for shopping at the best boutiques, getting pampered at a splendid spa, enjoying a gourmet meal or sipping cocktails while rubbing elbows with rockstars past, present, and future, you can find it all right around the Grafton.
The boutique style of the Grafton makes it intimate and quiet while still affording the luxury one would expect of a top rated LA hotel. The hotel only has 108 guestrooms, making it the perfect escape from the Hollywood hustle. It’s also one of the most photogenic hotels I’ve ever stayed at. From the picturesque pool (salt water – perfect for a bottle blonde like me) to the selfie specific lighting in the rooms, it was impossible to take a bad picture at the Grafton. The restaurant, Oliver’s Prime, and Bar 20 are just as stunning as the rest of the hotel, a visual representation of the spiritt of the Sunset Strip indoors.
Find your zen at….
What better way to feel like a native Angelino than to take some time out of your trip for yoga? Out of the millions of yoga studios in L.A., I discovered that Playlist.Yoga and found my ultimate, music lover zen. That’s because Playlist.Yoga isn’t your ordinary yoga studio.
The first thing you notice about Play.List Yoga is all the music inspired touches in the studio, including pop singer’s names on the lockers and Drake quotes on the wall. Music is the prime inspiration for every aspect of Play.list Yoga, especially the classes. With a soundtrack that most nightclubs would envy, a Playlist.Yoga class is upbeat, energetic, and challenging. But most of all, it’s FUN.
Moving with the beat of a killer playlist with a yoga teacher who could double as a supermodel keeping the class motivated to move, I worked up more of a sweat than I have doing cardio. Trust me, If I lived in West Hollywood, you can bet I’d be a regular at Play.List yoga.
Where to begin! Los Angeles boasts some of the best shopping in the world, with world class designers displaying their wares among up and coming industry starlets. With such an eclectic population, vintage shopping is always a goldmine; you never know what treasures you’ll find. No matter what the taste and budget, there’s a little retail therapy for everyone in West Hollywood.
My personal favorite WEHO shopping destination has to be Melrose Avenue. If you take the time to walk Melrose from La Cienega to La Brea, you’ll find everything from Alexander McQueen to American Vintage, and everything in between. I got the chance to shop at the original Nasty Gal, and picked up some great finds at the best consignment shop in town (in my humble opinion), Cross Roads Trading Company. And with a walk that long, you won’t need to worry about your daily LA workout.
Shopping really is my cardio.
The Guild Hollywood
The modern atmosphere of the Guild almost belies its past history as the former Screen Actors Guild headquarters. But the spirit of the iconic building remains, adding a warm mystique to the restaurant’s cool Sunset Strip vibe.
My friend and I took advantage of the warm Los Angeles night to sit on the patio, taking in the traffic on the Strip as we sipped red wine and contemplated the eclectic menu. The contemporary American inspired menu boasts a variety of deliciously described dishes, making the decision making process quite the challenge. Lucky for us, owner and chef Diego Leporini swung by our table with his recommendations, and considering he’s the man who curates the menu, we thought it wise to follow his advice.
He did not steer us wrong.
Using the best and freshest ingredients, sourced locally, everything was beautifully plated, and tasted as good as it looked. With an ever changing selection as well, no two meals at the Guild will ever be quite alike, making it as unique of an experience as West Hollywood itself.
Celeb spot at…
Zinque Wine Bar
I don’t know what it is about L.A. but everywhere I turn, I feel like I’ve spotted a celebrity. So when I want to feel less crazy and more certain about my celeb spotting abilities, Zinque is the place I go.
Located on more business side of Melrose Avenue, across from the slick Pacific Design Center building, Zinque boasts a great patio, a chic interior and a great wine and cocktail list. Its unassuming exterior may be what makes it more attractive to the celebrity clientele; the average tourist probably wouldn’t stumble into it, allowing for an intimate sipping or dining experience. And as a patron, you just can’t help feeling that little bit cooler wondering who once sat in the very seat you’re occupying.
Have a cute night out at…
My favorite night out during this West Hollywood experience had to be Sunday night at Estrella.
California hippy charm meets Sunset Strip style at Estrella. The cocktail and casual eats destination takes its name from the circus girl in Joni Mitchell’s song “Ladies of the Canyon”. With décor inspired by Mitchell and “Mama” Cass Elliot’s Laurel Canyon homes, Estrella provided the perfect setting for a chill Sunday evening on the strip.
Canadians in LA will always take advantage of LA’s permanent patio weather, and Estrella’s provided the perfect setting for an outdoor dining fix. It felt like being in an upscale artist community, and at any moment music would fill the air and someone would start painting our portraits as we sat under a canopy of colored glass, leaves, and lights.
Estrella’s menu was characterized by craft cocktails, a fantastic wine selection and globally inspired cuisine. We sampled multiple sharing plates as we sipped well-made and unique drinks. But that wasn’t all we did that night.
On Sunday nights, Estrella partners with the MA Theatre next door for movie screenings. The swankier of us can rent the theatre out for private occasions. But those in the know check the movie schedule and plan their nights out around cult classic film screenings. We were lucky to catch quintessential LA movie Clueless, and were even allowed to bring cocktails from Estrella in with us to go with the gourmet popcorn the theatre offered.
Leave it to West Hollywood to turn dinner and movie into an unforgettable night out experience.
Have your own West Hollywood recommendations? Share them with us at @weraddicted. Want to plan your own trip? Head over to Visit West Hollywood for more tips and to reserve your stay!