SPLURGE-WORTHY GETAWAYS IN CALIFORNIA
USA’s Golden State offers a plethora of holiday options, making Visit California a plan for all seasons
Holidays can be about the children, about family, about taking advantage of a work trip. But sometimes, it’s nice for them to be just about you. These pamper-perfect destinations make sure that you have that dream getaway you deserve, with choices ranging from kasbah like desert retreats to endless ocean views from your private balcony. Toss in top golf and amazing spas – and you may never leave!
Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the hard ground, but the swaying palms; cool, tile walkways and spring-fed pool at Death Valley’s Inn in Furnace Creek don’t exactly scream “rough it.” More like, “Find your sun lounger and relax!” And so it goes at California’s desert resorts that dot the dramatic landscape from the northern parklands in the Palm Springs region to manicured landscapes in Coachella Valley.
LAND OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS: BEVERLY HILLS
Opulent estates. Palm-lined Rodeo Drive. Lavish hotels and stretch limousines. Look around Beverly Hills, and it’s no wonder this city gets its reputation as an international symbol of the ultimate in luxury.
From the galleries and cafes of downtown’s Golden Triangle to some of the world’s priciest real estate in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills lives up to its glistening reputation. Get a look at its art, architecture and history on a narrated Beverly Hills Trolley Tour. Or just stroll around – there’s great window-shopping and people-watching not only on the poshest-ofthe-posh Rodeo Drive but also along Beverly Drive, at Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen that is the legendary hangout of the stars. Finally, take an ‘old world’ promenade down the historic Beverly Gardens Park – that stretches along Santa Monica Boulevard – with its fragrant roses, a cactus garden, and vintage fountains.
LIVE LIKE A STAR IN ORANGE COUNTY
The good life might have been invented in “The O.C.” – especially when it comes to resort destinations. With spas, elegant dining, posh lodgings, and impeccable service – plus endless ocean views – these lodgings set the bar for coastal luxury.
Relax on your own private ocean-front balcony at the Mediterranean-inspired Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Or relax in contemporary suites nearby. Play golf on the Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course, or cool off in the enormous, main ocean pool at Monarch Beach Resort. (There’s a private beach too, where you can sign up for a surf lesson). The Montage Laguna Beach is set on an oceanfront bluff with craftsman-style design, and celebrates the town’s rich artistic history by displaying plein air works by notable California artists in the lobby and reception area (non-guests are welcome to visit the lobby to see a sampling).
SANTA BARBARA’S RESORTS AND SPAS
In the mood for some perfect pampering in a breathtaking setting? Santa Barbara has plenty of ways to make sure you’re happily spoiled. Lodgings here specialise in laidback luxury, with settings ranging from hilltop areas, to secret bungalows, to edge-of-the-sea dazzlers.
Consider Belmond El Encanto, with its terraced gardens and sweeping views of the Pacific. Perched on the hills above town, it feels like a private enclave that doesn’t draw attention or flash – just pure relaxation and sigh-worthy settings. Pull on a fluffy robe from the closet of your classic bungalow before you dip into the pool or get a treatment at the onsite spa.
CATALINA’S OCEANFRONT ELEGANCE
What’s an island getaway without a swanky place to sleep? Choices on Catalina include the Avalon Hotel, the carefully restored California craftsman-style building that combines rich mahogany wood with Catalina’s signature tile artwork. And the hotel’s rooftop deck might just be the perfect place to relax with a glass of bubbly. Rooms at the ocean-front Snug Harbor Inn come with jetted tubs and fireplaces. Hotel Metropole, named for the island’s original grand hotel (which burned down in 1915), was rebuilt in sumptuous, coastal style – for an unforgettable splurge, book the two-bedroom, two-bath Beach House, where you can wrap yourself in soft robes and take in the panoramic ocean views from your private deck.