Shade Hotel, Los Angeles
What is it? If you're on a long-haul layover, or you just want to dip your toe into the southern Californian beach lifestyle before jetting home, you may be interested in Shade Hotel, the hottest of LA spots. A mere 10-minute, US$20 cab ride from Los Angeles International Airport and just three blocks from Manhattan Beach, being in transit has never felt sexier. Set in a piazza on the old site of the Metlox Pottery factory, it reflects the relaxed, sophisticated lifestyle of Manhattan Beach residents.
What are the rooms like? This is LA, baby, so Shade hired Emmy-award-winning actor turned designer Christopher Lowell to create 38 guestrooms and five luxury suites. Restrained hues of sage green offset textured sand-coloured furnishings in the living/bedroom zone, with sliding Japanese screens separating the bath from the bedroom. Marble and maplewood cabinetry creates an ambience that pampers and balances, although the red colour-therapy lighting around the supersized hydrotherapy tub (right) borders on the bordello. The rooms feature iPod docking stations, free Wi-fi, a coffee machine, even a martini shaker. And sleeping under a goosedown duvet on a California king deluxe bed is the perfect antidote to sitting bolt upright in an airline seat for hours.
What about dining? Popular with guests and generation-Y drop-ins, the Zinc lounge and terrace (left) serves a Ready Set Lunch menu of four items in 45 minutes for US$15. Pearl green leather sofas are crowded during cocktail hour, when tapas are served. Substantial favourites (think club sandwich and hamburgers) are on the 24-hour room-service menu and nearby eateries offer international cuisines.
What else can you do? Pose by the Skydeck relaxation pool, cocktail in hand. Rent a segway or take a complimentary bicycle and head for Manhattan Beach, where locals jog, cycle and strut their stuff past multimillion-dollar homes. While watching fishermen at the end of the scenic pier, keep an eye out for whales and dolphins. Shade makes spending the day at one of the city's most beautiful beaches easy by providing complimentary towels and bags, and surfboard and body-board rentals. Then there's the shopping. Fashion and lifestyle boutiques crowd Manhattan Beach's neat grid of streets, where the latest fashion items and an espresso ristretto are never far away.
What's the bottom line? Single/double rooms start from US$295 while suites start from US$495.
Shade Hotel is at 1221 North Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, United States, tel: 1 310 546 4995; shadehotel.com.