California Diaries: Waking up in Beverly Hills and Day-tripping to Malibu

|Written in collaboration with Visit California & Air New Zealand|

I’m starting to think this California trip feels more like a “find your perfect match Los Angeles Neighbourhood” tour. The only problem I’m having is that I’m falling in love with all of them. West Hollywood had a rather edgy, cool and very alive vibe. You get the impression you could walk out your front door and find fun in under five. I could easily get used to that and stay forever. But, on my third day in California, I moved into Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills, people. This is the dream zip code. 90210. Find me a kid in the western world that doesn’t know that zip code and I’ll be surprised. Of course there are the connections with the TV show 90210 from the 90s, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that airs these days on Bravo, and the countless movies and tv shows that have been based on this life that the word “decadent” was invented for, but it’s also a massive tourist destination. All with good reason, of course. One stroll down Rodeo Drive, one dip into the rooftop pool at The Peninsula Beverly Hills or a simple stop into a coffee shop where you’ll find yourself standing next to any number of celebrities as you wait for your almond milk iced latte, is enough for anyone to dream of the Beverly Hills existence. I got to live it for two days and I made the most of every second. It started out a little something like this. 

On my first morning in Beverly Hills, I established my home base… at The Peninsula Beverly Hills. I mean there are worse places to lay your head. Speaking of which, I was laying said head on a personally monogrammed pillowcase for the duration. Now that’s personal service! The Peninsula is ideally located for anyone looking to make the most of their stay in the area. I say that thinking about people walking to restaurants, shopping and beyond, but no one walks here. So let’s say it’s easy distance to take the luxury Peninsula car service anywhere you might need to go. Although, I found myself never wanting to leave. From the ornately decorated tea rooms to the bungalows that sit aside the rooftop pool, this is it’s own little paradise and it’s magical, to say the least.  My room also just happened to be my dream space, as far as design goes! A pink marble bathroom, pink and blue drapes, an open balcony and a little reading nook were all added touches that made this standout as a trip favourite. And I know I’m not alone. I can’t name any names, but let’s just say I saw a few familiar faces while in residence…. while gorgeous, they were all disappointedly short. It’s something I’m dealing with. I’ll get back to you on my progress. The point is, this is a celeb favourite and with good reason. It’s hidden from the paparazzi on the road, it’s easy to escape into the hotel without much hoopla and it’s a little oasis in a rather hopping part of town. I swear, laying by the rooftop pool you feel as if you’re anywhere but Los Angeles. It’s heaven. So, here’s a more detailed look at said heaven…

While I was contemplating grabbing a good book and curling up in the reading nook in my room, I knew I was on a mission to see as much as I could while in the great state of California, so I did what any normal person would do on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles…. I drove to Malibu. The sun was shining, the waves were crashing and it was a balmy 80 degrees out. This was a day made for beach living. So, I picked up my Budget rental car, a lovely Jeep, and headed up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) towards the “little” beach town of Malibu. As I was starving by the time I got there, the first thing I did was pop into the Malibu Country Mart to grab a sandwich and a lemonade. Naturally, one thing led to another and I was making my way through the outdoor shopping centre, that just happens to be frequented by people like Cindy Crawford and family on a regular basis, popping into stores and picking up little pieces to bring home with me to remember the trip of a lifetime. I also got to snuggle with a golden retriever in the back of a pink pickup truck. Could there be a moment more made for my happiness? I think not! 

After finishing at Malibu Country Mart, I made my way over towards Nobu Malibu, where the new Soho House on the beach has opened for Malibu residents. After snuggling up on the upper deck with a margarita (only one… I’m driving, remember), and the latest issue of American Vogue, I started to feel like it was almost criminal to be sitting inside for longer than half an hour! So, I made my way down to the beach.

I can’t really explain how I got lost in time, but it was three hours later that I was returning to my car with sandy toes and tanned legs. I had walked down Malibu beach in a haze. Every house was a dream, every deck an interiors inspiration. I walked continually in the water, with my face tilted up towards the sky, when I wasn’t admiring real estate. And I remember telling myself over and over again, “do not forget this moment.” The heat, the sand, the water, the scenery and the salty air were all almost overwhelming and a wonderful reminder of why people flock by the thousands here every year. This is living, whether holiday or permanent, at its finest. To come to Los Angeles and not visit Malibu beach is a crime all in itself. 

Discover a better way to fly to Los Angeles – Air New Zealand flies daily from London Heathrow to LA. Return flights start from £407 in Economy, £851 in Premium Economy and £2,843 in Business Premier. For the most up to date fares please visit

To find out more about what to do in California, go to Visit California


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