When my friend David last called me, he sounded miserable.
A critical work deadline came up and he could no longer leave L.A. with his wife for their tropical holiday. He could reschedule, but there would be hell to pay. He was in need of a surefire way to get out of the doghouse before ever getting in.
David is not alone. Whether it’s forgetting to take out the trash (again) or canceling a date because of an avalanche of work, every significant other ends up in the doghouse at some point. The perfect solution: a quick “staycation” to bring the romance and joy of travel without the need to hop on a plane.
Try one of these top romantic activities in Los Angeles to get you out of the doghouse and into the mood.
FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL & BUNGALOWS
In Santa Monica, head to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. The property is right near the ocean, so you can smell the salty breeze from the Pacific. Make sure to stroll by the 137-year-old Australian Morton Bay Fig Tree on your way to the Santa Monica Pier, which is less than one mile from the hotel. (Even if you’re feeling romantic, don’t carve a heart into this old guy.)See more on trivago
After check-in, drive less than five miles along the Pacific Coast Highway to The Getty Villa, or about eight miles to The Getty Center, and soak up some culture before or after your time in the sand. It will remind your significant other that you’re able to appreciate a medium other than Netflix.
When you return to the hotel, lounge by the pool and enjoy the food from FIG, a phenomenal on-site restaurant. Chef Yousef Ghalaini’s creations include locally-sourced farm fresh ingredients, often from the nearby Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
Try the Kale Tabbouli with Bulgur Wheat, Castelvetrano Olives, Radishes, Mint and Sumac as well as the local fish wrap. I also love the organic quinoa and California brown rice bowl with Avocado Mousse – add some coffee-rubbed, all-natural hanger steak or charmoula-seasoned shrimp for a super satisfying lunch. The seasonally-inspired Mediterranean dishes cooked on the wood-burning oven and grill will give your partner a happy belly. For an even happier wallet, stop by FIG from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. daily for their incredible happy hour promotion, where everything on the menu is 50 percent off.
INTERCONTINENTAL LOS ANGELES CENTURY CITY
If you’re really in trouble with your lover, the typical dinner and movie probably won’t cut it, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea altogether. Take your sweetheart to the iPic theatre in Westwood and learn about the “Your Night, Your Way” philosophy. Relax in giant, plush extra-cushioned seats that recline, and “premium plus” that includes a personal blanket and popcorn. Come early and taste farm-to-glass cocktails in the lobby bar, or choose to dine and drink in your seat. Order on a tablet and a ninja-like waiter will deliver food and drinks directly to you before or during the film.
After the movie, head to the Intercontinental Century City on the Avenue of the Stars close to Century City, Westwood and Beverly Hills. Its central location will make it easy to travel to any tourist attraction you desire all weekend. Sign up for a spa treatment, relax by the outdoor pool, or pick a suite with a balcony so you can watch that famous orange Cali sunset from your room.See more on trivago
Heart to Heart in Hollywood
Turn over a new leaf with a new hotel. At the newly-opened Kimpton Everly, you can enjoy the best of Hollywood without the craziness. The quiet rooms fit with triple pane glass are right alongside the Hollywood Sign, so the view and location can’t be beaten.See more on trivago
The lobby is designed to feel like you are walking into a chic living room with furniture and paintings personally collected by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ Global Senior Vice President of Design, Ave Bradley. This Beachwood canyon location has a view of Capitol Records, a rooftop pool, and live music on Thursday nights. Stay here and enjoy wine hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. nightly and then dine at JaneQ. Chef Jason T. Hall’s creations are fresh, inventive, and filling. If pizza and a grilled cheese sandwich had a baby — it would be the black truffle calzone. And trust me, the dessert will leave you both weak in the knees, so go for the Chocolate Pot Au Crème.
After dinner, amble 1,000 feet to the Hollywood Pantages for a night of theatre. (Any fight will be forgiven if you’re able to score tickets to Hamilton.)
In the morning, enjoy yoga on the Everly sun deck, have a mimosa by the pool or borrow a bike to ride to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, LOS ANGELES
If the love of your life likes sports, L.A. LIVE is the place to be. This year I went to my very first professional hockey game and promptly fell in love with the L.A. Kings. A fast-paced hockey game will get both of your heart rates up.
In Los Angeles, we are lucky enough to also have two formidable basketball franchises, so the Staples Center is almost continuously filled with sports. If watching a game doesn’t float your boat, then there’s always a marquee concert coming around the corner.
Stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles which is a five-minute walk from the Staples Center. Sign up for a “Romance of Hollywood” experience at the spa and your unique couples experience will include a synchronized side-by-side massage for two with a bubbling spa bath and champagne. (Pro tip: there are local specials for Los Angeles County residents, so you can enjoy special pricing on your staycation.)
Keep the romance going with a table for two at NEST at WP24. The views there at sunset will make any heart melt, and, of course, the food by Chef John Lechleidner for Wolfgang Puck on the 24th floor (WP24) is as remarkable as the design. Make sure to sample the seasonal specialty cocktails — many of the herbs come from the chef’s garden just one floor away.
Hopefully one of these quick trips puts you back in your (rightful) place as king of romance. Remember, sometimes all you need is a change of scenery.