Flying over the Hollywood hills, its giant letters tiny in the distance, take in the immense Los Angeles cityscape, happy in the knowledge that you are on the path to nirvana amongst the hustle and bustle. Pick up your wheels and head a couple of hours west along Highway 101, straight to The American Riviera. Santa Barbara is a prime spot to spend a few relaxing days at a slower pace, before returning to LA’s distinguished beach city, Santa Monica, to enjoy a bit of la la land. After eight days here you will have soaked up the best of California’s luxuriously, easy-going lifestyle, in style.
A CHIC RETREAT
Just a couple of hours from the great urban sprawl of LA, you will find yourself in the beautiful coastal city of Santa Barbara, surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards and miles of golden beach. You’ll be staying a short drive from town, in the lush, peaceful surroundings of the Four Seasons Biltmore which looks out across the ocean.
Spend a bit of time acclimatising to Santa Barbaran life in the luxurious seclusion of The Four Seasons ‘Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club’. Set on Butterfly Beach, it’s a true haven for relaxation. Lounge by the pool as you look out to the Channel Islands and at the town nestled behind its palm-fringed coastline. Get a taste for the delicious local coastal cuisine, and maybe even indulge in the ultimate spa treatment while escaping the midday heat of the Californian sun.
THE GOOD LIFE
The beautiful weather and fresh Pacific waters make Santa Barbara a haven for surfing, fishing and boat trips, but there is more to this place than sea and sand. In fact, Santa Barbara seems to encompass the best qualities of California all in one place; tantalising food, world-class hotels, a thriving wine trade and a vibrant arts community. And all in a gloriously laid-back environment. The city itself is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around, so you can walk, cycle, run or skate the promenade and pretty tree-lined streets, as you peruse the shops and take in the beautiful Spanish-style architecture.Read more
If you have an urge to venture further afield, then there’s plenty of opportunity for that too; spend a morning hiking the canyons just behind Santa Barbara and neighbouring Montecito, or, less than an hour away you can find Santa Barbara’s wine country, Santa Ynez Valley. Santa Barbara is also home to the famed Urban Wine Trail giving wine-lovers the opportunity to sample some of the best the area has to offer in a number of trendy tasting rooms in town. The Valley Project is just one of many that showcase the county’s incredibly diverse viticulture. And finally, no day is complete without watching a gorgeous Santa Barbara sunset where the sky turns to a palette of pink and orange, and the lights of the city glitter against the backdrop of the mountains.
OFF TO LA LA LAND
Now you’re accustomed to the Californian sophistication, it’s time to swap one Santa for another. Heading down the iconic Pacific Coast Highway to LA County you’ll find yourself in Santa Monica. Equally urbane, this beach chic city to the West of Downtown Los Angeles is perfectly placed to offer enough of the LA buzz alongside a sea breeze. Santa Monica’s beach promenade is a hive of activity morning, noon and night. An abundance of restaurants, hotels, and entertainment options meets miles of golden sandy beaches and rolling Pacific waves – wrapped up in enviable, year-round sunny climate. Home to the original ‘Muscle Beach’ and the organic, raw food movement, epitomised by local restaurants like ‘RAWvolution’, it is little wonder why this city is famous for being such a health haven.
California and Santa Monica are synonymous with the surfing lifestyle and as a huge part of daily life for the locals, let us arrange a personal surf lesson for you to take in the waves with a pro. If you’re looking for more activity, a lovely way to explore the streets and beach of Santa Monica is by bike. Allow us to book you a guided bike tour; you can choose between a cultural ‘street art’ tour, a ‘sweet spot’ ride around Santa Monica’s best cafes (sampling different sweet treats at every stop, of course), or a more earthy ‘urban farming’ tour. Alternatively, hop on to the 22 mile beach bike path to check out the neighbouring beach cities of LA and really relax into being a local. At the end of a day you’ll deserve a drink and there’s no better place to watch the sun set over the beach pier, as you sip a cocktail at the famous Shutters Hotel bar.
For a little more indulgence, hit the half mile of high street shopping on Santa Monica’s, pedestrianized 3rd Street Promenade. For a more boutique experience, head up to Montana Avenue, where you’ll discover independent designer shops, art galleries and antiques, and probably some celebs too.
With easy accessibility to their neighbours, Venice Beach, Malibu and Beverly Hills, you’ll be sitting pretty in this stylish corner of LA County. At just 8 miles from LAX International Airport, ebb out your SoCal experience here to the last sunny second; your time in these two chic destinations will leave you relaxed, invigorated and longing for more.