Road Trippin' California
It's our first day...
...and we arrive at Lowes Hollywood Hotel to be immediately upgraded to a corner suite... ah, #TravelAgentPerks! The room is amazing with floor to ceiling panoramic glass walls and loads of space including a lounge area. Plus those views of West Hollywood at Sunrise, what a treat! We quickly got changed and it was off to Magic Castle Hollywood. Never heard of it? That’s probably because it’s a pretty elite private club with some of the best Magicians in the world. We had a connection to get us in and let me tell you this - it was pretty amazing! You're not allowed to take any photos or you'll be kicked out, so you'll have to use your imagination here but you'll get that feeling inside of you, the one that makes you feel pretty special to discover something that's unique.
We were lucky enough to be hosted for dinner and then have a private magic show - so there we are, only 5 of us, with one of the best magicians in the world performing magic tricks less than a meter from our faces!! I've got a sneaky secret though... I know the key to getting into this elite magic club...maybe I'll tell you in a future post!Day 2: Did someone say rooftop yoga?
This morning we got up at sunrise to do yoga on the helipad of Lowes Hollywood Hotel! This is a pretty unique experience that anyone can do... it's just that not many people know about it. All you need to do is contact @ellayogahollywood on Instagram and they'll be able to organise it for you! The views from the rooftop are just amazing and the yoga was designed for beginners but can vary depending on the group request.
So, where do you go when you're hungry and want to dine with the celebs? Gracias Madre West Hollywood. This plant based, Vegan, Mexican restaurant is renowned for having celebs hang out here in their downtime and the food is sublime! #TopTip- Try the Pumpkin Casadella.
After lunch, we drove along the coast to beautiful Santa Barbara and I just fell in love straight away! You know that feeling like you're home.... well, that’s the vibe I got from this place. A very chilled, beach town with beautiful Spanish and Mexican Architecture that gives it a very different feel. We stayed at the 4* Harbour View Inn right on the beach - a great location! My room was very large, with an extra comfy bed and cute balcony with view of the pool. Dinner tonight was at Loquita, a Spanish tapas restaurant with food to die for! #TopTip - it can be hard to get in, so make sure to book in advance.Day 3 - Breakfast at the Belmont Hotel, some wine tasting on the urban wine trail and then time to hit the road to San Luis Obispo.
Today was all about Adventure with a Capital A! Although Sand Buggy Duneing is not something I would choose to usually do, I can say it was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time! The buggies are very easy to drive and the thrill of powering over the huge sand dunes & not knowing what the gradient is on the other side totally screams of adventure and excitement!!
Warning: You may come out with some bruises from this activity although we were assured the buggies are impossible to roll.
Day 5: Monterey fun in the sun
Today we hit the road again in our flash SUV, music blaring and sun shining. On arrival, it was time for some sea kayaking, probably one of my favourite activities and great for photos. Be prepared to get up close & personal with jellyfish (they're everywhere!), sea otters and sea lions in their natural habitat. We kayaked for a little over an hour, which was the perfect amount of time, and then it was off down the road to the Monterey Aquarium. Although I'm not a huge Aquarium fan, this is one of the best in the world and you could easily spend a full day here.Day 6: The road trip continues to San Francisco...
... and what better to spend a sunny day than hit the AT&T stadium and watch the San Francisco Giants play - a 'must-do' at least once in your lifetime!! The atmosphere, the view and the excitement all add to this incredible sporting event.
After the game, we headed across the road to hotel VIA, a brand new 4* hotel that's perfect for attending a sporting event or concert at the stadium. It was straight to the rooftop bar for us where we hired out a few cabanas to sit in & enjoy the sun with drink of the day - Moscow Mules.
Next we headed to a Brazilian restaurant called Fogo De Chao, which you simply must try! You 're given a circle placemat with green on the front and red on the back... first off, fill your plate with fresh salads, cheeses and breads from the buffet. Then it’s go time with 17 different meats on offer that waiters bring around and serve straight onto your plate. Fill ya boots with as much as you can eat, as it’s one set price! Then, when you're too full to move, simply turn the placemat to red and they stop coming around to serve you. Just make sure you leave enough room for desert because the cheesecake is super yummy!! Keep an eye out for Miley, the restaurant host - she's a beautiful Brazilian lady with a wealth of knowledge!
If luxury or history is your thing, you definitely need to stay at Cavello Point, a gorgeous property on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but it's one of the nicest places I've ever stayed in. We were lucky enough to have a historian take us on a tour of the property before we settled into our rooms for the night, and as an added bonus, there are some amazing hiking tracks nearby too.
Day 7: Let's do a boat tour from Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39
Today we did the Bay Voyager Tour, currently rated as the best tour in San Francisco on Trip Advisor, and I can totally see why. You start off slowly, sailing past Alcatraz and stopping underneath the Golden Gate Bridge for the perfect selfie snaps. Then Captain Charles speeds up the boat to turn it into a thrill ride as he powers over waves, while doing an excellent job of explaining the history of the area. We spot porpoises & dolphins and get up close with some sea lions. Charles takes plenty of snaps of your group as you cruise along and then uploads them for free to his Facebook page so you can find and share them at the end of the tour.All that fresh sea air had made us hungry, and the obvious choice was to do a food tour of the Mission District. We chose to go with Avital Tours due to their fantastic reviews. Our host, Margarita, guided us on a 3 hour eating and drinking journey, while filling us in on the history of the area and discussing each food and drink and how they became famous. San Francisco has a “Top 10” eats list and three of the foods we tried on our tour is on that list. We also got to visit a local produce market and wrap up with some salted caramel gelato. What a day!
Our tour was nearly coming to an end as we headed back to Fisherman's Wharf for some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. We really had packed so much into a week, but what a week it was!! I'd made many friends along the way and even more memories that I'll cherish forever.
Story first appeared on Kristen's personal travel blog here.