Whether you fall in love with San Diego’s laid-back style, the wanderlust-inducing Coachella Valley, or the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, California is definitely a dream destination with a lot more to offer than the potential celebrity sighting. Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies takes the trip of a lifetime as she Revs up, Rocks Out, and Revives in California just in time to catch Coachella in true #TeamCoco style.
Rev up in San Diego@visitsandiego
As we leave dreary London behind, we begin our California adventure by indulging in the extra leg-room and champagne offered in Air-New Zealand’s Premium Economy Class. Extra spacious reclining seats, three course meals, fluffy pillows, and silver cutlery make Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy Class a cut above the rest, making our 10 and a half hour journey to San Diego fly by. Beyond being a family friendly city, with the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park attracting hundreds of sun-burnt sight-seers, San Diego boasts a buzzing music scene; and some of the best Vegan restaurants in the country.
To Stay: The Lafayette Hotel @thelafayette
Located on the main thoroughfare of El Cajon Boulevard in North Park, the Lafayette Hotel has been a beloved San Diego icon since opening its doors in 1946. Each one of the rooms displays a different Hollywood icon on its door, paying homage to the hotel’s fascinating history; while recent refurbishments mean that the hotel has a complete set of modern luxury amenities. The Lafayette Hotel the perfect base for exploring sunny San Diego and all it has to offer.
To Eat: Donut bar @donutbar
We kick off our first day with a sugary breakfast at the Donut Bar in downtown San Diego. Hailed as the best donuts in the world — these gigantic donuts have gained Chef Santiago appearances on Ellen DeGeneres and Ryan Seacrest. The Homer is a sensational glazed pink cake batter donut paying tribute to, you guessed it, television’s most famous donut lover – Homer Simpson.
A Heavy Metal themed Restaurant serving Vegan Cuisine? Count us in. This local restaurant in the South Park neighbourhood is what makes San Diego such a unique culinary destination.. Keep an eye out for the heavy metal kittens rocking out all over the restaurant as well — they’re an absolute blast.
To Do: Balboa Park @balboapark
Home to sixteen museums and the world-famous San Diego Zoo; Balboa Park is spread across 1,200 beautifully planted acres. Climb the California Tower for the best views of San Diego, and explore the Museum of Man.
Native Poppy @native_poppy
Located in the super cool North Park district, amidst boutique coffee shops and quaint second hand bookstores, Native Poppy specialises in wild garden style arrangements, as well as relaxed and intimate flower crown making workshops, perfect for a chilled-out pre-Coachella bonding session with the girls.
Catch a gig at the Observatory@ObservatorySD
Located on the bustling University Avenue, the Observatory is one of the coolest music venues that San Diego has to offer. Opened in 1929, the Observatory has hosted countless memorable acts throughout the decades; including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. On our San Diego adventure — we got to catch HAIM on their Sister Sister Sistertour right before their headline gig at Coachella.
Rock Out in Palm Springs at Coachella @visitgreaterps
Greater Palm Springs is a beautiful desert oasis that seems to appear out of thin air, amidst the vast landscapes of the Colorado Desert. The undeniable jewel of this Oasis is the Coachella Valley, which come Festival Season, becomes the hottest ticket in town. With almost year-round sunshine, Palm Springs is a hot-spot for sun-seekers and music lovers the world over.
To Sleep : Safari Tents
If it is your first time doing the festival, we highly recommend foregoing walking to your car that’s parked miles away, and camping on site in the luxury Safari Tents. There is honestly no better way to experience Coachella, than with the many on-site luxuries the Safari Tents have to offer. Besides the obvious convenience of getting a luxury air-conditioned tent on site, you also get on-call Golf Carts that take you anywhere you wanna go, generous buffet breakfasts, as well as a dedicated concierge.
To Do: Coachella Music Festival @coachella
Coachella is surely on top of everyone’s festival bucket list and with good reason! Only Coachella can bring together acts like Beyonce, The Weeknd, Post Malone, Odesza, Chic, Haim, Jamiroquai, Kygo, and David Byrne – and in truly spectacular fashion. Beyond the music, Coachella also offers a delightfully surreal festival experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Mod Squad Architecture Tour
We took a quick break from the revelries of Coachella, to discover this little known fact about Greater Palm Springs – that it is one of the biggest Mid-Century Modern Architecture hubs in America. Kicking off at the very Instagrammable Saguaro Hotel, we took the Mod Squad Architecture Tour with the charismatic Kurt Cyr, to explore some noteworthy buildings around Palm Springs.
Joshua Tree National Park @joshuatreenps
Located in between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, Joshua Tree National Park looks more alien terrain than it does California landscape.“Fluffy” rocks and the twisted branches of the Joshua Trees fill your sightline for miles around, making it a desert vision that you won’t soon forget.
3. Revive in Los Angeles @visit_losangeles
After rocking out in Coachella, we head to Los Angeles to recover from all that high octane festival fun. Land of A-list celebs, the best shopping on the West Coast, and the good old Hollywood Sign, – Los Angeles is exactly as advertised and more. There’s loads on offer for those searching for inspiration, or maybe even just the right poolside to spend a sunny afternoon.
To Stay: H Hotel Los Angeles @hhotellosangeles
Part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the H Hotel Los Angeles is just a stone’s throw away from LAX, and is probably the best airport hotel in the country. Emulating the sleek design of LAX’s many runways, the H Hotel Los Angeles offers an elevated LA experience and boasts all the modern conveniences of a five star hotel.
To Eat: Love & Salt @loveandsaltla
Located on the buzzy Manhattan Beach, Love & Salt’s philosophy is that food only needs two ingredients to be great — love & salt. Their cozy atmosphere, approachable wine-list, and fresh take on simple but modern fusion cuisine, make Love & Salt one of LA’s undiscovered culinary gems
Cafe Gratitude Venice @cafegratitude
The shabby-chic walls, sustainable menu, and self-esteem boosting cold-pressed juices of Cafe Gratitude have made it one of the leaders in health-based flavour driven cuisine. Chef Dreux Ellis has taken their 100% organic and plant based menu to new heights, with favourites like the Young Coconut Ceviche, and their Asian Kale & Wakame Salad.
To Do: Grammy Museum@grammymuseum
Music has played such a big role throughout our California adventure, and so for one of our last stops, we just had visit the Grammy Museum. Do check out their latest exhibit “Chasing Trane: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey Transcended” which is a revelatory look into the life of grammy winning saxophone artist Johnny Coltrane.
YOGAqua combines two of our favourite things — yoga and the sea. Located in the beautiful Marina del Rey, YOGAqua adds a wellness twist to traditional paddle boarding — transforming these boards into aquatic yoga mats.
Today, the Getty Villa has an impressive antiquities collection that spans 7,000 years. Do check out their latest exhibition, Plato in LA: Contemporary Artists’ Visions, where renowned contemporary artists take Plato’stime-honoured philosophies and reinterpret them for the modern world. Keep an eye out for Jeff Koons’ gargantuan “Play-doh” piece, a definite highlight for any art buffs out there.
Ace Hotel DTLA@acedtla
Originally built in 1927 as the historic United Artists Building, the Ace Hotel and its ornate Spanish inspired theatre was home to an iconic group of seminal American artists, including Mary Pickford herself. A mix of eclectic and mid-century industrial influences give the hotel a unique aesthetic, that combines creativity with reverence. Have a power lunch at Best Girl, or some truly yummy cocktails at their rooftop bar, for the best view of Down Town LA.
Further information on California can be found on www.visitcalifornia.co.uk
Discover a better way to fly to Los Angeles – Air New Zealand flies daily from London Heathrow to LA. Return flights start from £380 in Economy, £823 in Premium Economy and £2,843 in Business Premier. www.airnewzealand.co.uk
San Diego www.thelafayettehotelsd.com
Los Angeles http://www.hhotellosangeles.com/