THE OLD MONTEREY INN

When I think of Monterey, the iconic Californian town about halfway between Big Sur and San Francisco, certain things come to mind – the legendary Pebble Beach golf course, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (oh so stylish and filmed in and around Monterey), the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and the seafood, the glorious seafood (if it’s chowder you’re after, it’s Monterey chowder all the way).

So heading to Monterey, the last stop on our road trip before San Francisco, expectations were high.

We left Big Sur after lunch at Nepenthe’s, stopped into the Big Sur bakery for the essential road trip supplies (flat whites, a long black and a jar of seeded mustard, which seemed like a logical purchase at the time), hit go on our playlist and continued up the coast.

Arriving in Monterey feels like you’ve happened upon a real life Cabot Cove (sadly lacking Jessica Fletcher, but happily lacking the dangerously high Cabot Cove murder rate), making the Murder She Wrote aficionado in me super happy.

You know you’ve arrived when you spot the very pretty marina

The architecture and streetscapes really do seem so familiar.

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When in Monterey for the night, there is no other place to stay, no better option, then The Old Monterey Inn (I mean, technically there are plenty of other places to stay but this place is the pick).

Oh! We made it!

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BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE

Oh Bixby!

Let’s talk bridges (not a sentence I’ve ever used before but one that I may use again because more and more, I’m really learning to appreciate the beauty of a good bridge).

Now I don’t mean those bridges where you forgive people and then all is well and I’m not thinking the card game bridge, mainly because our Yiayia thought I was too chatty and my concentration too lacking to deal me into any card game.

I’m talking actual physical bridges. I’m talking Bixby.  The Bixby Creek Bridge to be precise, which I’ve always mistakenly thought of as the Bixby Canyon Bridge, I think because of the Death Cab song.

When embarking on a Highway 1 road trip, there are so many beautiful and unexpected surprises, but Bixby is something you’re waiting for, a sight you’re anticipating and even in a way, something you expect will feel a little familiar, because you’ve seen it so many times in photos.

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BIG SUR – TREEBONES RESORT

Treebones Resort is a wonderful option for a stay in Big Sur.

Here, staying in furnished yurts, you can enjoy that camping feeling of being totally immersed in nature without having to actually organise the full camping logistics.

This is especially helpful if you’re visiting from overseas without camping gear. Or if, like me, you quite like having the option of using a hair-straightener for a few minutes of a morning.  I think we can agree that good hair only improves a holiday. The utility of a simple power-point cannot be underestimated.

Located at the southern end of the Big Sur coast, Treebones is a beautiful property set on the hillside above Highway One, overlooking the ocean.

There are 16 yurts in total, which have been carefully placed into the landscape. Smaller yurts accommodate couples, while there are larger yurts available for groups of up to 5 people.

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HIGHWAY ONE ROAD TRIP – THE TINY BEACH TOWN OF CAYUCOS

Cayucos. A charming, tiny beach town two hours north of dreamy Santa Barbara.

We completed the drive to Cayucos at night, so it was certainly less scenic than the earlier leg of our day’s drive. Less scenic, but no less eventful.  

When Archer, Miss A and I are in a vehicle together you can pretty much guarantee 3 things will happen –

  1. We will blast every hip-hop/ rap track our little iPods can contain;
  2. I will consume my body weight in raw cashews and/or almonds; and
  3. We will find ourselves in some sort of police incident.

There we were, happily cruising into the night down Highway 1 when it happened.

First the flashing lights, then the confusion – ‘us!?’ ‘do they mean us?’ ‘what did we do?’ ‘it can’t be us!’

Then came the loud-speaker, helpfully clearing up any confusion – ‘PULL OFF THE HIGHWAY ONTO THE DIRT’.

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HIGHWAY ONE ROAD TRIP BEGINS – HELLO BEAUTIFUL SANTA BARBARA

And we’re off! After a final supplies stop at the glorious Wholefoods Venice mega-store we leave the bright lights of LA in the rear view mirror of our rented Kia Sportage and hit the road.

Not just any road. Perhaps the greatest of road-trip roads there is. Highway 1.

 

The first leg of this stunning drive takes us out of the city via Malibu, which you will reach in about half an hour.

 

From here you’re a bit over an hour to Santa Barbara. Also know as the American Riviera for its gorgeous Mediterranean style and architecture.

Naturally, for a run down of what to do in Santa Barbara we got in contact with the amazing Ellie from Have Some Decorum. Not only is Ellie a super courageous human and blogging legend, she has style in spades and tons of great local recommendations.

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ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD

Welcome to Abbot Kinney. The most stylish block in Venice.

Here you can leave the bright lights of Hollywood (and chaos of LA traffic) behind you for a true taste of laid-back Californian style.

Named in honour of the property developer responsible for creating the famous Venice canals in 1905, Abbot Kinney is home to chic boutiques, bars, restaurants and art galleries.

Mr Kinney had a bold plan to recreate Venice Italy right here, near the beach. You can read more about his fascinating ideas for the area here. His plans didn’t exactly turn out as intended and in 1929 the majority of the canals were built in for roads. Today only about one-third of the original canals remain. They are really pretty though!

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EP & LP WEST HOLLYWOOD

Looking for a great place for dinner in LA? How about a few great cocktails on a chic rooftop bar with your night out?

Well cease your search my friends we’ve found a place, EP & LP in West Hollywood, that ticks all the boxes.

Open just last May, this hot new venue is has a lot of Aussie talent behind it with Chef Louis Tikaram, formerly of Longrain, at the helm and owners DJ Grant Smilie and David Combes having moved to LA to run things.

It’s a smart venue featuring modern Asian food which is something done so well in Australia, but is more light on the ground in LA.

The Aussie influence continues to the interiors with Projects of Imagination (think Chin Chin in Melbourne) responsible for the cool aesthetic.

Image by Daniel Collopy

So what is this EP/ LP business?

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THE POLO LOUNGE – BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL

In today’s style post we visit the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Lucky us, as this is truly a gorgeous spot.

This ultra beautiful hotel dates back to 1912 and was originally designed in Mediterranean revival style, as were a lot of properties in California at the time. The pink exterior was an addition by owners in the 40s. As someone who grew up in a pink house, I’ve got to say I love a pink exterior!

To our delight the hotel still features its classic dusty pink and green tones today.

The Polo Lounge itself is steeped in Hollywood history. It was even a favourite dining spot of the Rat Pack.

Today, it’s still known as a spot where Hollywood types talk business over breakfast. There must be some truth to this rumour as we did hear the people at our neighbouring table casually discussing the progress of their album.

More importantly, we also saw the President of NBC on his phone making a deal! Well, OK, we actually saw Bob Balaban who played Russell the President of NBC on Seinfeld, although this is even better right?!

OK, back to the design (and the breakfast, for those interested).

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IVY AT THE SHORE


Sometimes life gives you troubles. Sometimes you gather your closest girlfriends and treat yourselves to lunch at Ivy at the Shore. Well, for accuracy, it was a slightly jet-lagged but ever generous Miss A who picked up the tab on this one. Thanks lovely!

There is so much to love about this place. From the champagne on arrival and cookies on departure to the perfect execution of the most perfect pale pink walls. This is happiness for the eyes and happiness on the plate.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

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Palihouse Santa Monica

Much like the never ending and consecutive seasons of the Block, or a Vogue Living subscription that  never seems to arrive, LA traffic is a nightmare that is very real.   As a visitor, the fact it might take an hour to drive five miles is a little annoying, but to have to deal with it every day would be next level crazy.  The way around that is to pick your neighbourhood.

Splitting your LA trip into districts works a treat.

We chose West Hollywood to start and then centred our outings around WeHo for the first half of our time in LA.  Then we split.

And maybe it was the fact that we’re Australian and we were craving the ocean or maybe it was the fact that we discovered an all (amazing) Hip Hop radio station, but the drive down Santa Monica Boulevard to our next stop in Santa Monica was super liberating.

Palihouse Santa Monica is like entering the Grand Budapest Hotel in its prime, updated to the year 2015.  It’s so beautiful, so colourful, so unique and yet classic at the same time. You could easily think that Wes Anderson must have been the involved in the design. Warning – this post is going to be heavy on the visuals!

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