Living in paradise doesn’t mean you don’t need a break every once in a while. Whether it’s to sand, sun, and a mojito or the strip (and a mojito), we lucky Angelenos have a number of covetable getaways just a stone’s throw away. Between lazing on a beach, gambling, discovering new wines, relaxing at the spa, and testing out some classic California cuisine, how does anyone find time to travel elsewhere?
The classic LA getaway is inarguably Palm Springs. Back in the golden days of Hollywood, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Kirk Douglas all built homes in Palm Springs to escape from the tedious obligations of Hollywood. It was only too bad that Hollywood followed them to the desert. Now a hotbed of throwback 70s architecture and culture, Palm Springs is known for some very posh attributes from golf courses to spas and from understated glamour to oversized pools. Stay at the Viceroy Palm Springs for an ulta-luxe weekend or the new Hotel Zoso. In your bag? Oversized sunglasses, colorful bikinis, and a Trina Turk tunic or two.
For a very different weekend getaway, head in the opposite direction for Santa Barbara. Along the coast, you’ll get that salty air through every part of your trip, whether its wine tasting at some of the local wineries, antique shopping, or just walking around the quaint main drag of town. This area of Southern California is home to many of our most esteemed and spoiled denizens, making it the perfect getaway for those lusting for some luxury. Stay at the Four Seasons or the positively charming Canary Hotel (owned by the same people behind Shutters in Santa Monica) before heading off to Stella Mare’s for French food or East for sushi. In your bag? Chic walking shoes, a sun dress, and a light jacket for the chilly evenings.
Everyone does Vegas very differently. Families go for the food and the shows, serious gamblers go for those hidden high-stakes rooms, and early-twenties and young professionals go for weekends fueled by alcohol and vivid imaginations. Whatever your reasoning, let your hair down a bit. Steve Wynn knows how to take care of you, so booking a room at either of his hotels on the strip, the Wynn or Encore, is a good place to start. From there, book a ticket to see LOVE or Jersey Boys and make sure to put your name in at one of Las Vegas’ haute eateries. Among our favorites are Bartolotta in the Wynn, Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, and Bouchon in the Venetian. In your bag? Something flashy for a night out and something to wear in case you wake up next to a new friend.
The quiet wine region to the north plays host to plenty of Angelenos throughout the year. About an hour’s plane ride away, it’s a sanctuary of unparalleled cuisine, rolling hills, and smashed grape juice. You simply can’t be harried or hurried in a place like Sonoma. Let the amateurs and tourists take Napa, while you book yourself into a room at the Fairmont Sonoma, Hotel Healdsburg, or the Les Mars Hotel. For an unforgettable dining experience, dinner reservations must be made at Cyrus, in Healdsburg while lunch is best at The Girl and The Fig. If wineries are what you’re after, try Ravens Wood and Chateau St. Jean. In your bag? Soft and light fabrics like linen and cotton, espadrilles, and a little black dress with your favorite heels for that dinner at Cyrus.
The charming, slow-moving marina south of LA, Newport Beach isn’t as widely lauded as Palm Springs or Santa Barbara for its status as a weekend getaway. That’s only because its underrated and not really that far – it’s just south of Huntington Beach. Try the Fairmont Newport Beach, the Resort at Pelican Hill or the Balboa Bay Club and Resort for your leisurely stay. Listen to the lapping water, take a run around the marina, or order up another margarita. Your mission is to figure out why you hadn’t been here before. In your bag? Some strappy sandals, denim shorts, and a loose tunic top.