ANDAZ West Hollywood

ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood  |  Los Angeles, United States  |  This week we stayed at the ANDAZ West Hollywood, yes the same one that made the news this week for the LGBT Wedding of the Editor in Chief of The Advocate Magazine. For those of you not familiar with the brand, ANDAZ represents a refreshing take on the boutique-style hotel by Hyatt Hotels (aka. sort of the W Hotels for Starwood), offering an atmosphere that is personal, vibrant and uncomplicated. Each hotel features the most adventurous, globally influenced design, yet also inhabits the sights, sounds and tastes of its surrounding neighborhood. Located over Sunset Boulevard, just a few steps away from La Cienaga Boulevard, in the heart of West Hollywood and close to Beverly Hills.

We stayed at a Suite, which was very comfortable, located on the 10th floor. These expansive one-bedroom accommodations offer a total of 800 square feet of space and views of the legendary Sunset Strip and Los Angeles city skyline. Enjoy listening to your Geneva Sound System among striking modern décor and artwork including Eero Aarnio’s playful orange abstract plastic puppy, Harry Bertoia’s trademark Bar Stools and an aluminum Cellula chandelier accentuated by Swarovski crystal pendants. Suites feature a separate living and sitting area as well as a sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure that you don’t miss a minute of the Hollywood happenings. Andaz West Hollywood is a non-smoking hotel. LATHER bath and body products.

ANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comThe hotel has a fantastic 24 hour fitness center, overlooking Sunset Boulevard, but this is something that you find at most luxury or 5-star hotels within the Los Angeles area. The rooftop pool is quite nice as well, despite we were not very lucky with the weather, as you can see by the photos below. The views from the pool are not the most spectacular.

ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comSome of the amenities I enjoyed were: Free WiFi Access, limited on bandwidth, but still good for emails and work matters. Free pastries, coffee and tea every morning at the lobby. Complimentary, non-alcoholic minibar that is replenished daily. Free access to MAC Stations and printers.

ANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comSince we were on a very tight schedule and social events for Rubin Singer Couture, we did not have time to try/experience the restaurant at the hotel. But we did order room services for breakfast every morning, and it was fine in quality and price.
ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comThe hotel offers Valet Parking. The cost was approx. USD 30 x day with unlimited times. Usually they were very good with timing, and having the car ready.
ANDAZ West Hollywood by www.carlosmeliablog.comI really enjoy the concept and style by ANDAZ properties. The only comment I have about ANDAZ West Hollywood, which I have not experience at the other properties in the past, is that they perhaps  border too much with informality. When the Front Desk Agent or Valet Parking calls you “Dude”, I mean, I truly enjoy sophisticated things that are also the most simple, but maybe they go a bit beyond simplicity. What do you think ?  Overall, a great stay, location and reasonable price. Mostly, we were happy to stay in a LAX hotel, which didn’t have the stereotype LAX attitude and crowd, where everyone thinks is someone, if you know what I mean. The views of the Hollywood Hills on one side and the Sunset Strip and downtown Los Angeles were a plus. Andaz West Hollywood the most sophisticated things are also the most simple. You may read my reviews staying at other ANDAZ properties in the past here. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by ANDAZ West Hollywood by*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
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SOHO House Los Angeles

SOHO House Los Angeles  |  Los Angeles, United States  |  The other afternoon, invited by the FABULOUS Tony Awards nominated and lead actress playing Judy Garland at The End of the Rainbow Tracie Bennette, we came to the SOHO House Los Angeles, to have some drinks enjoying the stunning views of the city. Later we had the pleasure to have the gorgeous Denise Vasi joining us.
If you are looking for a true happening and exclusive spot in Los Angeles, then SOHO House is the place to be seen and see. Opened in spring 2010, Soho House West Hollywood is the second American House and occupies the top two floors of the 14-storey, 9200 Sunset Boulevard. The bar in the Sky Penthouse offers views over LA.
With 180 degree views over Los Angeles, the 30 ft long Club Bar is an ideal spot to relax and unwind. Reclaimed parquet floors, vintage furniture and booths set the scene. Our choice, great cocktails, and of course I have to had my classic Filthy Vodka Martini up with three huge olives.

The terrace garden dining area is lined with olive trees and covered by a retractable roof. There is also a comfortable sitting room and a private dining and bar area for members’ events and screenings. Soho House was founded in London, in 1995, as a private members’ club for those in film, media and creative industries. The Group has since expanded to include Houses across Europe and North America, as well as restaurants, cinemas, spas and hotels. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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Cecconi’s West Hollywood

Cecconi’s West Hollywood  |  Los Angeles, United States |  Dinner at Cecconi’s has to have been the best gourmet experienced on our latest visit to Los Angeles last week. Cecconi’s is a classic Italian restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as cicchetti (Italian tapas), seven days a week. Located on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood. Chic, elegant, sophisticated style, ambiance and deco. Dominating chandeliers, and sexy bar. Ideal for a romantic dinner.
We began our night with our classic Filthy Vodkas Martinis, this time how we like it, up with three huge olives. Join for a meal in the main restaurant, on the terrace, or at the bar with its wood-burning oven. Have a party in the Butterfly Room with seating for up to 40 people. Born in Turin, a city in Northern Italy, Chef Andrea Cavaliere began his culinary career in his family’s trattoria where he was a chef’s assistant.
Our gourmet choices for the night:  Artichoke Romana, lemon aioli (USD 12), Ahi tuna conserva, tonnato sauce (USD 12), Calamari fritti, roast chili aioli (USD 12), Chicken paillard, eggplant caponata (USD 18), all paired by us with our favorite Sancerre wine. If you plan a visit to Los Angeles, Cecconi’s is a must try. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

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Venice Beach

Venice Beach Los Angeles, California | Venice Beach…under the warmth of sun and along the breaking waves of the Southern California coastline. Discover the mystique that lured Jim Morrison to find ‘The Doors,’ and a Culture that gave birth to modern skateboarding. Venice Beach, California, is a unique destination unto itself, where shopping, dining, sports, recreation, and entertainment abound.
Venice Beach is a district on the Westside of Los Angeles, California.  It is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors. Throughout the summer months, the boardwalk is actively entertaining, and this tradition continues on weekends in the winter. It is an important tourist attraction in Southern California, and has retained its popularity in part because it is an attractive location for walking and bicycling.
Sunsets best time of the year to watch a sunset in Venice: Everyday, however make it a point to watch a sunset during the winter months. This is when the sunsets are the most amazing. That is exactly when I visited and here are the results.
Venice Beach Boardwalk is not to be missed. If you are visiting the Los Angeles area, you owe it to yourself to come to Southern California’s number one visitor attraction. Stretching about one a half miles along the manicured sands of the Pacific Ocean, the boardwalk is a large part of what makes Venice unique. Hundreds of street vendors and performers. You can see everything from break-dancing to broken glass walking. Mimes to musicians, jugglers to jesters and everything in between make up the human landscape. You can have your fortune read, get a temporary tattoo or have your name written on a grain of rice. If souvenirs is what you are after then the boardwalk is the place to go. The Westside offers unique arts and crafts, odds and ends and one of kinds only obtainable here.
Great food and great weather are signatures of Venice. With everything your taste buds could ask for from casual family eateries, to walk-up beachside snacks to elegant world-class seafood, you’ll never run out new places to enjoy food in Venice. Some to recommend are mostly located over Abbott Kinney Road, mix atmosphere where SOHO New York meets beach style Los Angeles: GJELINA ( everyone I met raves about this place specially the pizza. Intelligentsia Coffee ( fantastic coffee, but be prepared to wait in line since they are VERY popular. Shima (exclusive brown rice sushi).
The Roosterfish, is a gay bar located at 1302 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice Beach. ( 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM 7 Days a Week). Tiff drinks, a Happy Hour (actually 2 hours), hot bartenders, a pool table, pinball, electronic darts, video games, an outdoor patio, no attitude and there’s never a cover charge.

(*) Check out now my full Flickr Photo Album of Venice Beach

On Route 66 Lights

On Route 66 Lights |  West Hollywood, California |  Presented by the city of West Hollywood in collaboration with The Museum of Neon Art. A guide to to vintage and contemporary NEON on Historic Route 66 and the Sunset Boulevard. Amongst the greatest symbols of Americana are Uncle Sam and the Route 66 Shield. The historic 66 was given to the Chicago-Santa Monica roadway in 1926. During the Great Depression, Route 66 was a road of hope for numerous poor families escaping from the Dust Bowl for the promise of a new beginning in Souther California.

WEHOWest Hollywood – Neon sing. During the heyday of early Hollywood’s silent movie era, a dirt road served as the main commuter route between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. This dirt road became Sunset Boulevard. Nightclubs, hotels, and “naughty places” sprung up along the 1.3 miles stretch in what is now West Hollywood.
The Sunset Strip, or better know as the The Strip, was born. Playground for celebrities, Drug – Sex and Rock n Roll. Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra just to name a few… Home of famous nightclubs, and in the present home of venues such us Viper Room and the Whiskey Go Go, all warm up venues for famous artist before going on tour.
During my stay in Los Angeles, I made it a challenge to gather as many of the NEON signs as possible to later share them with all of you. And I dare and challenge you all to do the same on your next visit to West Hollywood. The one above for example is the Baby Blues BBQ.
Trunks NEON Sign. A West Hollywood gay bar with a vertical neon sing right off Santa Monica Boulevard. Off course featuring the classic Rainbow colors. Hello as Santa Monica Boulevard would need any extra… ha ha ha
RAGE NEON Sign. Its neon sign says it all in a simple, serif font. As for what’s going on behind the deceptively plain facade, grab a friend and a cocktail and find out yourself.
Pleasure Chest NEON Sign. Ohhhh come on, we all know this one ha ha ha …. The red neon glow covered by the foliage, but the message is very clear. They sell sex with class. Toys for him, her and everyone in between.

(*) Museum of Neon Art, Santa Monica Boulevard. Was  founded in Los Angeles in 1981. Currently located in the Old Bank district of Downtown Los Angeles.  MONA – Museum of Neon Art – offer an energizing, colorful experience through changing exhibits of neon art, glass and kinetic works and a premier collection of historic neon signs. For more information visit

Getty Villa Museum

Getty Villa Museum |   Malibu, California |  If you want to experience a different day while in Los Angeles, at a beautiful Villa with gorgeous Gardens and Roman/Greek fountains, then Getty Villa Museum is an option to be consider, and guess what it is even for FREE. The Getty Villa in Malibu is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. What should you expect to see: Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities arranged by themes including Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War. Roman-inspired architecture and gardens
The Getty Villa is modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a Roman country house in Herculaneum buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Because most of the Villa dei Papiri remains unexcavated , many of the Getty Villa’s architectural details are based on elements drawn from other ancient Roman homes in the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.
Begin at the Entry Pavilion and follow to the Galleries and Gardens. Over 1,200 works of art from the J. Paul Getty Museum‘s permanent collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities. The galleries organized by themes, include Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and the Stories of the Trojan War, among others.
Bronze replica of the  HERMES (in Greek or Mercury in Roman) is the God of Travel and Commerce, represented by the winged sandals. For obvious reasons, one of my favorite of the whole collection, perfectly placed at the outer Peristyle gardens.
Modern reproduction of   APHRODITE (in Greek or Venus in Roman) made in Marble. Goddess of Erotic Love and Beauty. Sculptured in a three-dimentional art form that can be appreciated by touch. Yes you read right TOUCH, being specifically selected by the Museum for the purpose of learning through touch.
The Marbury Hall ZEUS (in Greek or Jupiter in Roman)  Portrayed as a mature bearded man, Zeus sits enthroned in his role as king of the gods.
Mummy of Herakleides. This Romano-Egyptian mummy combines the millennia-old Egyptian tradition of mummification of the dead with the Roman tradition of individualized portraiture. The blending of these two traditions was characteristic of the ethnically and culturally diverse population of the Roman province of Egypt.
I spent an amazing day at Getty Villa Museum. My visit took approximately 2 hours, plus a 1 hours lunch sipping through Prosecco at the outdoors Mediterranean Restaurant just next to the Villa. I strongly recommend visiting the Villa, and I would come back again on any given time, to check some of the changing exhibitions. There is always something new to see and learn.
Timeline of the Getty Villa: (1945) J. Paul Getty purchases a sixty-four-acre site in Malibu. (1954) He opens the original J. Paul Getty Museum in his home to exhibit collection, of which Greek and Roman antiquities are an important element. (1968) Getty decides to re-create a first-century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri, on the property to display his growing collection of art. (1974) The new J. Paul Getty Museum opens to the public, becoming one of Southern California’s cultural landmarks. (1997) The Malibu site closes for renovation; the Getty Center opens to the public. (2006) The newly renovated Malibu site opens as the Getty Villa, dedicated to the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.
Experience the Outer Peristyle, the Inner Peristyle, Herb Garden and East Garden, which are planted with species from the Mediterranean region.

(*) Check here and now, my full Getty Villa Museum Flickr Photo Album hope you enjoy it. CM

(**) Get your FREE Tickets to Getty Villa Museum online @ Getty Villa Book Online. Anyhow everyone has to pay USD 15 for parking during your stay at the Villa.

Mission of San Juan Capistrano

Mission of San Juan Capistrano |  Orange County, California | Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark and museum is the Birthplace of Orange County, was founded more than two hundred years ago as the 7th of 21 missions statewide, and one with a chapel still standing where Fr. Serra once celebrated Mass. Only a one hour and twenty minutes driving from Los Angeles and West Hollywood, Capistrano is worth a visit. A different experience from what people would expect when coming to Los Angeles. The Mission is a registered Historic Landmark & designated a National Historical Treasure.
The minute you arrive to Capistrano, you will say to yourself … What am I doing here ? This is a tourist trap… and that was my first impression when I got there, almost getting to the point of turning back to Los Angeles without stopping. But then I said, let’s give it a try and indeed was worth it. (wont take you more than 2 hours and USD 9 per person). Capistrano, today is a monument to California’s multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Native Americans, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion.
General Facts: The Mission San Juan Capistrano is located at the Corner of Ortega Highway & Camino Capistrano. Founded by Father Fermin de Lasuen and Father Junipero Serra. Original from October 30, 1775  (by Lasuen) and refounded in November 1, 1776 (by Serra). Named after St. John of Capistrano, Italy, a theologian and inquisitor of the 14th century.
One of the most important highlights of this Mission is the Great Stone Church begun 1796; competed 1806; destroyed by earthquake 1812. The church of which today still remain the ruins, had the shape of a gigantic cross. Mission secularized 1833, sold 1845, and returned to Church 1865.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, became the seventh of twenty-one missions to be founded in Alta California. Like the previous six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain, and to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California.

The impressive golden altar, a gift of the late Archbishop Cantwell of Los Angeles who had received it from Spain in 1906, and other decorations were acquired during the course of reconstruction. Of particular interest is the fact that the little church at Capistrano is the only existing structure in which Father Junípero Serra is known to have said Mass.
Once the visitor enters the mission grounds, he finds paths that seem to lead everywhere. To the right is the ruin of the great stone church. A stretch of wall and a single dome remain but they are more than enough to give evidence of the builder’s skill.
Mission San Juan Capistrano, became the seventh of twenty-one missions to be founded in Alta California. Like the previous six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain, and to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California.
Immediately when I read about Capistrano, I felt a intense interest and attraction, that was telling me to come and visit. Later on I found out the connection between myself and the Mission. Capistrano is visited every year by this birds called Swallows. The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at the Mission San Juan Capistano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day. As the little birds wing their way back to the most famous Mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the “miracle” of the return of the swallows.
Now you may be asking your self, where is the connection.? Well the Swallows fly every single year from Goya in Argentina all the way up to Capistrano in a journey of 15.000 miles. There you go… well despite I am also from Argentina, this time I just flew 5 hours from New York City on JetBlue
Capistrano is a fusion among Native American, Mexican and Spanish heritage, away from the glitz and hussle of Hollywood. Please next time you are in Los Angeles or Orange County, take your time to explore Capistrano. It is worth the visit and once you are done, it is surrounded by small charming mexican restaurants to enjoy an outdoors lunch.

(*) For the general information and mass schedules at Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica and Serra Chapel do not hesitate to visit their official website |

The Eveleigh Restaurant

The Eveleigh Restaurant | Los Angeles, West Hollywood, California |  The Eveleigh or The Eve(r)leigh as how the entire staff at the restaurant pronounced it… go figure where the “r” is hiding, came highly recommended by the last issue of the MONOCLE Magazine as on of the Best New Restaurants to discover and experience 2011. Well, I guess that even them can be wrong every so often… Being that I was coming to Los Angeles for a week, I specifically kept this recommendation in mind and planned to come and check this brand new restaurant in town. The outcome average food, poor service in a nice laid back style and environment.
Hey it is just a matter of personal taste, or the experience you get on your own visit, right. Maybe they still need some more time to settle. Or maybe I am just too spoiled. But the general consensus among all those present in our table, was that the service was pretty lame. The Eveleigh opened a few month ago in West Hollywood in a refurbished country style 1923 building, by the management of the same owners of Ruby’s Cafe in Nolita, New York City.
Located right on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of WEHOWest Hollywood. Hard to spot by the facade, that looks like a private house. The ambience is very relaxed and friendly. Communal dinning tables of approximately 10 people each. (we were a group of 5 sharing with another group of 5 right next to us, which I was not too thrilled about to be honest).
The food was OK. This means regular presentation, short menu with average taste. Nothing to rave about it and far, at least on my point of view, as to be mentioned as one of the best restaurants. My choice for the night were: Roasted White Fish Kale, Romesco Salsa, Braised Artichoke hearts (USD 22). For dessert, since we were 5 in the table and they had 5 options, we did a little degustation of Baked Pear Crumble (USD 9), Warm Bitter Chocolate Cake (USD 9), Yogurt Vanilla Panna Cotta (USD 9), Frozen Dark Chocolate Sandwich (USD 10) and the king of the night, the Eveleigh Donuts, everyones favorite.
Drinks and Wine list were very good, specially three of them… the Sad Bastard (Bourbon, Gin, Ginger, Clove, Lime, Bitters), Evelation (Hendrick’s Gin, Ginger, Lemon and Rose Water) and the Poor Carlito which I assumed was created in my name foreseeing my overall experience at The Eveleigh.
The million dollar question is… Would I return to The Eveleigh ? Probably NOT. Would I recommend it to others? … Probably YES, warning and making very clear that it is a very laid back experience, not for special occasions or for those visiting Los Angeles only for a few nights.
West Hollywood is FULL of wonderful and exciting restaurants, which I will blog about during this next few days, so no worries there are plenty of great options to choose from.

(*) The Eveleigh Restaurant |  West Hollywood, 8752 Sunset Boulevard  |  Tel. 424.239.1630  |

Carlos Melia coming to West Hollywood

Carlos Melia coming to West Hollywood • invited by Bill Hynes at Visit West Hollywood I will be spending a whole week in Los Angeles and the area of West Hollywood, reviewing Hotels, Restaurants and the Day/Night Scene. ( January 14th – 19th. ). This is an honor for me to continue working along with local Tourism Boards and Hotels, review and feature them into my blog – – for all of you to learn about them.
I will be also in Long Beach, California giving a short presentation for the Worldview Travel Symposium about how to develop successful Travel Blogs.

(*) Special thanks to: Ricci Zukerman & Mary Klee at Worldview Travel, for their continuos support, Bill Hynes at Visit West Hollywood for his invitation and helping me coordinate this trip, Jet Blue Airways and the hotels providing the lodging: Hilton Hotel Long Beach, Ramada Hotel West Hollywood, Martin Larson at Hotel Labs and the Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel.

CM > So stay tuned to my posts and reviews on West Hollywood, coming next January.