I was always one of those people, that east coaster friend who upon arriving to Los Angeles, had an immediate love of the city, only to hate it 24 hours after arriving. “How do you get anywhere here?” I would say to friends, followed by a prompt, “Taxis don’t take credit cards, and they have zero clue where they are going. Why is that?”
I was living in Manhattan at the time, and this was before Google Maps, Waze, and, of course, Uber and Lyft. Los Angeles seemed behind the times, and everyone ate dinner at 7pm. I just couldn’t get my head around it. Downtown didn’t exist even close to its present state and it seemed that every party I attended ended up with someone YouTube’ing their favorite scene from a film (a film—much to their total disbelief and dismay—that I’d never seen).
I was out of the LA scene for quite some time, spending the majority of the past 10 years in and out of Southeast Asia, a lot of Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico.
A couple years ago, a few long layovers at LAX while traveling to Fiji yielded lively lunches with my best friend and genius photographer Peter Wesley Brown who lives in West Hollywood. Peter was a fashion photographer in London in the eighties and had lived in LA about 25 years now. We have traversed the globe together shooting hotels, hanging out of helicopters pre-drone, punctuated by too-many-to-count mad dashes in airports in strange lands. He had recently semi-retired so we didn’t see each other as often. We talked about LA’s renaissance. I used Uber. Media friends from New York started moving here, and recently, I spent much more than a lunch while shooting Wanderlista’s Transparency collection with Peter up in Corral Canyon.
Photo credit Peter Wesley Brown for Wanderlista
Landing at 11am on American Airlines from Boston, I went directly to the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and was met by a forest of white lilies in the hotel lobby by famed floral designer Jeff Leatham. After a few inhales (and the obligatory Instagram post), I made my way down to the spa. Organic skincare line, Tata Harper, had started featuring their treatments here, and I thought what better thing to do after a transcontinental flight than a facial and a pool day. Sunday, sorted.
Photo credit Don Riddle for Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
I arrived to a forest of white lilies in the hotel lobby by famed floral designer Jeff Leatham
There are various spots to dine on property, and the menu at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Culina, is primarily Italian, yet Director of PR Kim Kessler is a lifetime vegan and insisted I try some of the new dishes. One of my favorites was the Pera Vegana which was divine with Bosc pears, almond "ricotta," grapefruit, pepitas, and Saba. They also have a great make-your-own-juice menu, which I made ample use of during my stay.
To remain ‘of the moment’ in LA seems like an impossibility but the hotel keeps expanding its offerings and this September, Vinoteca, the Italian-inspired concept opened, featuring small plates from Chef Denis Dello Stritto and regional varietals from Wine Director Luca Bruno, opened. Coffee bar by day and wine bar by night, it’s a great spot for meetings and I’m looking forward to using when I need a base in Beverly Hills.
I emerged after my six-hour flight, sun-kissed, hydrated, healthily fueled and ready to take on my new Los Angeles. So I called an Uber and began the journey.
Thanks, City of Angels. I’ll be back.