23 Sep 2014

California Dreamin’

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Bernie Grace was chosen to go on a Travel Agents Fam trip to California to see the resorts and visit hotels in the area and below is her report, so please ring here if you would like any further holiday information on this lovely area. We have great contacts with the tourist boards to give you a really special experience.

On the 3rd of September 14 myself and 10 other agents  flew to Los Angeles. Flying Business class from Dublin with the Fast Pass and straight up to the Lounge at Dublin Airport on arrival in London Heathrow we transferred to Terminal 5 the trip was so straight forward and took approximately 30 minutes and T1-T5 from End of October this year BA will fly into T5 from Dublin making this connection much easier, and in London Heathrow we were brought to the business class lounge before boarding the A380 Aircraft..upstairs in Business class, Club World  with the Flat Bed seats..The flight was 11hrs 15mins and literally flew as we had total pampering all the way Champers on boarding and the food was chosen from the menu featuring dishes inspired by the Langham Hotel in London..and if you are peckish between the meals just ask for some delights from the Club Kitchen and lots of entertainment.  I can highly recommend this as affordable and a real treat .

On arrival in La the queues were extremely long and it took literally 2 hours to get through with great patience.. so bear this in mind as direct flights from Dublin mean you have done your immigration paperwork before arrival. The tourist board had arranged a shuttle for us and buzzed them when we got out into arrivals and they literally came straight around, the journey to Santa Monica took about 30 minutes and I was staying in the Loews Santa Monica Beach…

The next morning we went to Le Meridien for Breakfast, where we done the hotel inspection. From there we walked to the Santa Monica centre through the various parks downtown Santa Monica and we done the Sweet Spots Bike Tour which was 11 miles through premier shopping districts and very luxurious neighbourhoods to the little tasty cafes and ice cream parlours see the listed tours. (www.smbikecentre.com)

We then proceed to have a well deserved lunch at the Pizza Antica a local restaurant located on the top level of the Santa Monica Place with open air shopping with luxury stores. (santamonicaplace@macerich.com)

And for the shoppers the downtown third street promenade has every shop under the sun, a pedestrian shopping street and walking distance to both hotels.

Early evening refreshment was in the Fairmont. We had a look at the bungalows and the standard rooms all of which were lovely and 4 star plus (santamonica@fairmont.com).
Explore Santa Monica’s nightlife, the Penthouse at the Huntley Suite 700 rooftop bar or the Bungalow beside the Fairmont. Be prepared to queue for the bungalow. (www.thehuntley.com or the www.thebungalowsm.com)

The next morning breakfast at the Loews with site inspection, followed by surfing (info@aquasurf.com). Lunch on the beach served by a private waiter from Perrys on the Beach (www.PerrysCafe.com). We then took the Star Line Los Angeles Tour which had a stop at Santa Monica Pier and we went on the tour taking in Brentwood, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Melrose, Farmers Market. The tour was hop on hop off, we got off the tour around Beverly hills and then just got the local bus back to Santa Monica for $1.90.

On the last morning it was free time, so I had a further look around the walk on the beach is amazing with every type of bike exercise machine..private yoga and meditation instructors. Six miles one way and you are in Malibu and other side to Venice beach but it continues on to La if you feel fit.

If anyone has any addiction issues cannabis is freely available at Venice beach at the drop in clinics the only restriction is you have to have a California Address!!

Venice Beach is definitely worth a visit, quite a mixture of most interesting zany people, (it’s all there!) and then back to the Santa Monica Pier to go to Pacific Park at the Pier La s only admission free amusement park, the Ferris Wheel at the pier is the worlds first Solar powered Ferris Wheel.

I priced a foot massage in my hotel $135. I got it done in a small hut at Venice beach for $15, also four bottles of water Santa Monica $20, in Hollywood $4. We then used the facilities in the spa area of the Loews to shower in before heading back to the airport for another luxurious flight back.

With the general overview of Santa Monica it is just amazing it is set along 3.5 mile stretch of the coastline, where city meets the sea and National Geographic ranked it in the top ten beach cities of the world, along the oceanfront you will find world class hotels and you can hire a bike for hours, shop, dine Wine as Santa Monica is ranked as one of Americas top dining destinations or even surf. You could easily organise Santa Monica as a couples, Singles holiday honeymoon destination without a car. Highly recommended.

If you are organising any tours and need any advise about hotels or what to do for the holiday or need to set up something unusual for someone you can email: havol@santamonica.com or acantle@santamonica.com