Category Archives: los angeles hotels

The Sunset Marquis’ New Cavatina Restaurant

Crunchy Egg with Mushrooms, Sweetbreads, and Crushed Cashews... WHAT? Yes!
Crunchy Egg with Mushrooms, Sweetbreads, and Crushed Cashews… WHAT? Yes!

Between Beverly Hills and the beaches, and mere steps from the world famous Sunset Strip, The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood, CA has been an institution since before I happened upon their scene. With over 150 luxe suites and villas intertwined within a 3.5-acre oasis of gardens and private retreats, since opening its doors in 1963, the hotel has served as a home-away-from-home to rock legends, filmmakers, writers, actors and discerning guests from around the world. The 2008 expansion introduced several new amenities too, and now features indoor and al fresco dining in its world-class restaurant, two heated outdoor pools, the iconic BAR 1200, and a full-service spa that’s open to local and out of town guests. Additional guest amenities include Nightbird Recording Studios, home to many Grammy winning artists, and Morrison Hotel Gallery, featuring a collection of some of the most renowned celebrity photography, of which more than $1 million worth lines the walls and corridors of Sunset Marquis.

Yellowtail Crudo with Uni and Caviar
Yellowtail Crudo with Uni and Caviar

Now they have Cavatina, which officially opened about two weeks ago and features interesting, yet uncomplicated dishes prepared by renowned Chef/Restauranteur Michael Schlow. As a huge fan of the Sunset Marquis, Schlow was enlisted to create the restaurant’s vision. “It is one of my favorite hotels in the world and… getting to cook with all of the beautiful products California has to offer, is a dream come true. We want to cook the foods and products that are local, then present them with a fresh and full flavored approach. Mother Nature has done most of the work, all we need to do is add a little acid, salt, and chiles, to make the food sing.”

Duck and Green Chile Hash with Poached Eggs and Chipotle Hollandaise
Duck and Green Chile Hash with Poached Eggs and Chipotle Hollandaise

PS. Schlow, a decorated chef and restauranteur whose accolades include The James Beard Award of Excellence For Best Chef, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in America, and Sante Magazine’s Best Chef in America, is considered to be one of the most respected culinary professionals in the U.S.

Michael Schlow
Michael Schlow

Dinner will set the bar high with a menu that is broken into four categories, offering guests snacks, a crudo section, small-plates, and entrees. Highlights include Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Lobster and CaviarBeef Tongue with Lentils, Rosemary, and Salsa VerdeCrunchy Olives with Cabrales and Speck Powder; and Simply Prepared Mediterranean Sea Bass with Shaved Vegetables.

For lunch, Schlow and his team will prepare fresh, delicious salads, fantastic sandwiches, simple fish dishes, and Schlow’s award-winning burger. Cavatina will offer breakfast seven days a week, and will continue the hotel’s tradition of a fabulous brunch on Sundays as well as provide room service to the hotel and poolside dining.

So book your room, bring your geetar, and have some yellowtail crudo, will ya?

Surfs Up in the Maldives

How's this for an over-water bungalow?
How’s this for an over water bungalow?

Surfs up, fellas! Hankering for a jaunt to the Maldives for respite from the muggy city summer? Here are some great ideas for what’s happening throughout the year, compliments of the always chic, Six Senses Laamu:

  • Surfing Season is from April through October, and with Six Senses Laamu being the only resort in this southern atoll, our surfers have the break to themselves most of the time. Daily morning and afternoon boat trips are organized to Yin Yang, an eight-foot right hander which breaks on the outer reef of the local island, Hithadhoo from the resort from April to October, with single surf passes available for US$69 per person, plus taxes.
  • Turtle Nesting and Hatching Season. From May to October, Olhuveli Island is a nesting ground for both Green and Hawksbill turtles. The female turtles return to the same beach on which they were born to lay their own eggs. The whole nesting and hatching procedure is carefully monitored to protect the females and the new youngsters.
Six Senses Laamu at Night
Six Senses Laamu at Night
  • Jaafai Experience: The cooking style of Maldives is highly influenced by both India and Sri Lanka. Gradually, rice and curries became an integral part of Maldivian food. Today, one can virtually find all kinds of food in the country. Maldivian cuisine gives you an opportunity to taste the different mouth-watering dishes with exotic flavors ranging from mild, spicy and hot to sweet. This summer, from June to October, they’re inviting guests to Hithadhoo to join a Maldivian family at their home for a few hours. Discover their lifestyle and cuisine. Listen to local stories about the past as well as learn about ingredients the Maldivians use in their kitchen. During your visit to the local island, you will also be accompanied by the sounds of Boduberu, the local drums and music. The all-inclusive price is US$220 per person, plus taxes, and departure from the resort is at 7pm.
  • Maldivian by the Sea: In July, Chef Nicholas Loubser and his brigade bring Maldivian flavors to the menu of Longitude, their overwater restaurant where you can tantalize your palate with the freshest and most delicious dishes. Maldivian by the Sea is yet another way to discover the cuisine of the Maldives, right at Six Senses Laamu. Dinners are limited to six tables so reservations are suggested, and dinner commences at 7pm. The price is US$125 per person, plus taxes.
Surfing the Maldives
Surfing the Maldives
  • Other Activities and Benefits: During May to October, many Aqua Season activities are complimentary or have significant savings
  • No Rush Hours are each evening between 6-7pm and 9:30-10:30pm at Chill bar, with resident DJ Garry Tee, our Sydney and Kuala Lumpur DJ who has created unique musical experience for events, clubs and restaurant audiences. The upcoming performances at Chill are focused on the gentler beats and sound that is complementing the overwhelming presence of beauty in both nature and design. The creative process of Garry Tee’s performances is made of personally selected tunes from the collection that spans almost 30 years.
  • Ice Cream: Enjoy delicious homemade ice cream from the Ice and Chocolate Studio, with the resort’s compliments. Savor more than forty flavors of ice cream and sorbets with a variety of toppings and sauces. 
And now for a little 'me time' at the spa
And now for a little ‘me time’ at the spa
  • Six Senses Spa: Creating awareness and enlightening guests, The Six Senses Spa at Laamu introduces additional wellness activities this summer. Six Senses Spa launches a variety of weekly workshops from Detox to De-Stress, Acupressure to Ashtanga as guests are guided through a variety to techniques and basic principles that they can implement during their stay or once they return home. Book a Six Senses Spa massage within 48-hours after arrival at the resort and enjoy an introductory 50% savings for a second person’s treatment; a perfect treat for your partner. 
  • Beach Cinema: A dream or reality? Should you like a little action or a classic movie, enjoy an unusual open-air cinema experience that takes place beneath a canopy of stars on the white sandy beach. The cinema bar is open during the film for those wishing to treat themselves with a glass of Champagne.

Click on the link for some of the best over water bungalows around!

Rates start at $788-$900 *but hey, it’s the Maldives and you’re going luxe so why mess around?

Romance & Luxury: A Four Seasons Los Angeles Steal

The Four Seasons Los Angeles Entrance (Sigh)

One of my favorite all time LA classics is The Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. Oh sure, I could tell you why it’s one of my personal favorites (random run-ins with Sean Penn and Liam Neeson over drinks, the time I sat at a table with Kevin Spacey to watch the Golden Globes, or when Janet Dickinson cracked jokes and munched on an apple in her black monokini by the pool). Hell, there’s no shortage of stories or a scene, but it’s not one of those typical LA obnoxious attitude laden places. Here, business really does get done and the staff always treats you with respect. In short, it’s a classic staple for the Hollywood working crowd (even if you don’t drive a Bentley). You really can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons no matter where you are in the world. They just know service. It’s their ‘thing.’

They also don’t hand out specials willy nilly so, when they do, I’m there (and they’re worth it). To that end, they’ve just launched a new summer ultimate romance package called “Just the Two of Us,” which includes (read it and weep): four hours of spa treatments, dinner at Culina with wine, a poolside cabana, cocktails at Windows Lounge, unlimited mini bar snacks, pajamas, and more!  As Kim Kessler, their Director of PR says, “It’s unlike any package they’ve created in the past and represents a 40% savings!”

The Pool (and where the magic happens)

Their award-winning restaurant Culina, Modern Italian also comes with the Maitre D’s choice of wine, daily breakfast or Sunday brunch for two, a Tory Burch gift set, valet parking, in-room movies and all local and domestic calls.  Wait. Did they say Tory Burch gift set? OMG. Spa treatment selections include massage, facial, manicure, pedicure or personal training session.

The other best part? “Just the Two of Us” is tailored for each couple.  Prior to arrival, the guest relations team creates an itinerary based on specific preferences.  Upon arrival, guests may enjoy aromatherapy candles, pillow spray, pajamas and optional romance kit and couples books complimentary.  The team can also arrange excursions to top Los Angeles attractions such as museums, concerts, restaurants, night clubs and shopping.  

“This is an exceptional package for couples to reconnect and enjoy all that Four Seasons Los Angeles has to offer,” General Manager Mehdi Eftekari purrs. We agree, Mehdi. Couples, take note, because it doesn’t last long. And Angelenos… talk about a great Stay-cation!

Starting at $995/nt it’s valid through August 28, 2011with a two-night minimum stay.

So, it may not be peanuts, but it is super savings in a super swank place (where you’re bound to make super sweet memories).

Santa Monica, CA: Hotel Shangri-La

Hotel Shangri-La: Santa Monica, CA

It’s a hotel that speaks to LA’s heydey.  Reminiscent of  art deco beauty and style, that’s why this week we’re highlighting the iconic Hotel Shangri-La overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Having just undergone a large renovation, owner Tamie Adaya, single handedly re-designed the Streamline Moderne structure, but still maintained its  1930’s charm that makes this hotel so distinctive. It’s just one reason why we love the place so much.

The 71 room boutique hotel offers a portfolio of rooms and suites to choose from; each enhanced by (here’s our favorite) luxurious, deep soaking tubs.  Suites feature two bedrooms and two lavish baths highlighted by an on suite pedestal tub that sits in front of French windows overlooking a kickass Pacific ocean view.  The hotel also boasts 35 suites with deluxe kitchens, high-end appliances, Carrera marble countertops and streamlined stainless steel cabinetry to compliment the deco room décor.   All rooms and suits are also outfitted with Frette plush robes, Molten Brown toiletries and Matteo bed linens rounding out the many high-end, sleek accommodations.

With the renovation, Adaya also added a sparkling pool outfitted with cabanas, a 10,000 square foot pool deck, a premiere restaurant, The Dining Room, and a chic roof top lounge, Suite 700 (where you just might be able to spy some young Hollywood starlets  stealing some rays).

“When my family purchased the Hotel Shangri-La 30 years ago,” Adaya explains, “I had a vision of it becoming what it is today: a space that continually inspires and soothes the soul. I can’t think of a better way than soaking in a tub while soaking in the view.”

Did we also mention why we really love the Hotel Shangri-La? That would be… the hotelier at the helm, Tamie Adaya.

Tamie Adaya, Hotel Shangri-La Proprietor

A passionate student of global pop-culture, art, and politics, she’s revitalizing the principles of what it means to be a Renaissance woman, hotelier, and mother in the 21st century. Tamie not only runs the Hotel Shangri-la, but also owns and operates the Santa Monica based artist collective Crown Jewels while simultaneously updating her popular blog and posting her travel blog for  the Huffington Post.

Prices start at $295/night so we say, go Deco and get decked at the Hotel Shangri-La. It’s LA’s secret sweet spot.