For a slice of history: Queen Mary
The lowdown: Once the ocean liner of choice for Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Elizabeth Taylor, the Queen Mary is now docked in Long Beach, operating as a heritage hotel. The wood panelled, art deco interiors are still a sight to behold, and the rooms are very reasonably priced.
Stay for: The views from the upper decks are to die for. Try ‘Sir Winston’s’ for award-winning fine dining and floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto Long Beach Harbor. Or pull up a pew at ‘Observation Bar’: the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of wine – and the golden, Californian sunset.
In the know… For another view of Long Beach, try a gondola ride through the canal-laced borough of Naples. From there, it’s a fifteen-minute walk to Belmont Shore: a cool, buzzy neighbourhood lined with bars, restaurants and boutiques.
Join your loved one for a tai chi yoga class on the lawn, cosy up for a movie screening by the pool, or chat the night away over handcrafted cocktails at the low-lit Lobby Bar.
For a spot of romance: The Garland
The lowdown: This seven-acre property was made for lovers. Kitted out with a sprawling pool deck, a dreamy outdoor restaurant, and stylish, mid-century-style guestrooms, it’s ideal for a long weekend away from it all.
Stay for: The hotel’s large, manicured gardens are a recipe for romance. Join your loved one for a tai chi yoga class on the lawn, cosy up for a movie screening by the pool, or chat the night away over handcrafted cocktails at the low-lit Lobby Bar.
In the know… The hotel is just a hop and a skip from Universal Studios. Book your ‘Early Park Admission’ tickets at reception, and experience ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ one hour before the park opens.
All within a twenty-minute drive of the hotel, you’ll find Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach – home to some of the West Coast’s best surfing spots. £571 ppBook a stay at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
Get in an LA workout at the hotel’s fitness center, where you can watch Netflix while you train. £721 ppBook a stay at Beverly Hills Marriott
Join in the fun with The Garland’s array of weekly activities, ranging from California Craft Beer Tastings to Sunset Dive-In Movies by the pool. £698 ppBook a stay at The Garland Hotel
For a taste of luxury: W Hollywood
The lowdown: With all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury hotel, and a prime location in the heart of Hollywood, this property still manages to offer guestrooms at under $250 a night.
Stay for: Soak up some rays at the rooftop pool, indulge in a full-body massage at Bliss Spa, or treat yourself to filet mignon or pan-roasted halibut at Delphine, the property’s swish, Californian Bistro. In the mood for a spot of culture? Step outside to Hollywood and Vine, and admire the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the know… Pop upstairs to the second floor for complimentary access to the hotel’s plush art gallery. The exhibition features legendary photographer, Timothy White’s portraits of Hollywood A-listers like Robert Mitchum, Naomi Watts, and Dustin Hoffman.
For sun and surf: Hyatt Newport Beach
The lowdown: This attractive seaside hotel is located next to some of Southern California’s most beautiful beaches – without the Malibu price tag. Swim, surf or ride the wide bike paths on Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, or the nearby coastal resort of Corona Del Mar.
Stay for: Drink in the majestic views of Newport Bay at SHOR Seafood Grill, limber up with a round of golf at the nine-hole course, or take a dip in one of the hotel’s three outdoor swimming pools.
In the know… The property doubles up as a world-class music venue, their Summer Live Jazz Concert Series has featured such artists as George Benson, Al Jareau, and Smokey Robinson.
Did you know:
Winston Churchill travelled on the Queen Mary three times during WWII, and even signed the D-Day Declaration onboard.£543 ppBook stay at The Queen Mary
For hitting the shops: Beverly Hills Marriott
The lowdown: Beverly Hills is famous for being one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Los Angeles, but this stylish, recently renovated hotel gives you access to all the local glamour, without the exorbitant rates.
Stay for: Guestrooms are large and comfortable, with wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, and panoramic city views. There’s an outdoor pool, a plush bar, and a well-equipped fitness centre. What’s more, the prime Beverly Hills location makes it an ideal base for indulging in some retail therapy. Rodeo Drive’s designer stores (think Gucci, Armani, and Coco Chanel) are just minutes from your door.
In the know… If you’re “doing Rodeo Drive”, don’t forget to pop into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, on the corner of Wilshire Drive. The hotel’s Pool Bar – featured in the Julia Roberts and Richard Gere rom-com, Pretty Woman – serves cold beers from $8 a glass.
For family fun: Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel
The lowdown: If the Disney crowds seem too much to bear, why not try the slower pace of nearby Knott’s Berry Farm? This onsite, family-friendly hotel is a stone’s throw from all the rides. And if you end up with a hankering for Mickey Mouse, Disneyland is just fifteen minutes’ drive away.
Stay for: Take a break from all the excitement with a well-earned break by the pool, unwind at the fitness centre, or relax with a ‘happy hour’ drink at Amber Waves Restaurant & Bar. And don’t forget to earn brownie points with your kids by booking a room in the Snoopy-themed wing of the hotel – Camp Snoopy Theatre is a major attraction at the park.
In the know… Knott’s Berry Farm’s Soak City water park is the perfect way to cool down after a long day on the rollercoasters – especially during the summer months. Fast Lane tickets ($60) give you priority boarding on select rides.