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Client Blog: California Dreamin’ pt. 2

Venice Beach

Roger and Jane’s four-week adventure along the West Coast of America saw them take in the incredible beauty the country has to offer. Last time we checked in, they were rounding up their stay in Santa Barbara. Here’s how the second half of their trip went…

“The two-hour drive to Los Angeles took us past Ventura, Zuma Beach and Malibu.

At The Beverly Hilton we spent three nights in a spacious adapted room with a panoramic view of The Hollywood Hills. The hotel is ideally located close to Rodeo Drive, the hub of richness, fashion and lifestyle.

LA has up to seven lanes of traffic each way so we took the rapid MTA to Santa Monica Beach where Jane hired a bike and we rode to the vibrant Venice Beach before savouring Dungeness crab and cocktails at Shutters on the Beach Hotel.

Santa Barbara beach

During our time in Los Angeles we visited the Original Farmers Market, ate New Orleans fish stew before visiting the adjacent Grove, took the bus to the touristy downtown Hollywood to see the mile-long Walk of Fame and explored Sunset Boulevard.

We stopped at Manhattan Beach to enjoy its charm: historic pier, golden sand, surfers, scores of beach volleyball courts and bike trails.

Spending four nights at the lavish Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa in a room with a sunny balcony overlooking a courtyard, we took advantage of their three swimming pools with a view of the Pacific Ocean and various spaces to unwind.

There is an accessible bridge to the beach and just a short walk along the seafront is Pacific City, a modern outdoor shopping area.

Rodeo Drive

We biked to Newport Beach and its lively harbour, before taking the ferry to Balboa Island, a tiny man-made isle which is home to boutique shops, street cafes, colourful waterfront properties and a marina full of boats.

Eventually we said goodbye to Los Angeles and drove south to San Diego, spending three nights at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter.

We joined the youngsters for a beer and enjoyed the lively music in the hotel rooftop Altitude Bar before investigating the Gaslamp Quarter with its 19th century buildings and wrought-iron street lamps.

We got the chance to explore the old town, which is California's first settlement, admiring the Mexican heritage, garden and park.

La Jolla, San Diego

La Jolla is popular with surfers, home to spectacular coves along the busy coastline and provides a lovely walk.

The other end of the coastline boasts a golden beach packed with locals barbecuing, yellow-clad lifeguards in training and after-work volleyball games. This was another favourite location to add to our ever increasing collection.

After a wonderful few days in San Diego, we flew to Las Vegas for three nights at MGM Grand Las Vegas, where we were able to change our room for a much larger one with a panoramic view of The Strip.

It took us time to adjust to Vegas; smoking is allowed throughout the casinos and the dress sense is quite unusual. Despite this and the oppressive heat, there is lots to enjoy in the city.

Abbotts Travel had pre-booked our Grand Canyon trip with 5 Star Helicopter Tours - they were the only company who agreed to lift me - and we were picked up at our hotel by John and Steve. After a 30 minute drive to Boulder City and coffee in the VIP lounge, we were treated to a 70 minute spectacular flight over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.

Las Vegas

During our time in Las Vegas we visited many of the themed hotels: New York New York, Monte Carlo, Caesars Palace, the Venetian Hotel with gondolas, the Paris Hotel with its own Eiffel Tower, the Bellagio to see 'the dancing fountains' and The Mirage. Each edifice is colossal, with shopping areas, bars, restaurants, night clubs and casinos.

There were endless attractions to see during our four-week road trip, but we managed to achieve a balance of sightseeing and relaxation. All the hotels were perfectly located - resort fees and valet parking can be obtrusive in the luxury hotels but we felt the amenities and service warranted this - and the Californian coastline is unbelievably impressive.

Once again, thanks to Julian and Sharron for organising yet another incredible experience.”

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