A special thank you to Cambria Hotels for sponsoring our travel and this post. All opinions are my own.
Disclaimer: My mom and I took this trip in January prior to the start of COVID-19-related shutdowns and the CDC’s issuance of social distancing guidance. All Choice-branded hotels are now participating in Commitment to Clean, an initiative that builds upon a long-standing dedication to cleanliness with enhanced training and best practices for cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing, and can help give you peace of mind when you choose to travel again. Before you book your stay at the Cambria Hotel LAX, please call the hotel to confirm which amenities are available.
About the Shuffle/Intro
If you were following along on Instagram, you may have seen that I went to Los Angeles in January with Cambria Hotels for the #CambriaBloggerShuffle. The same weekend I was in LA, Tandya from Simply Tandya traveled to Houston. Prior to the trip, we provided our recommended itineraries based on each other’s likes/dislikes – hence, the Cambria Hotels Blogger Shuffle.
While I have flown into LAX a couple of times over the past years on the way to Palm Springs, it has been almost 2 years since I worked in the City of Angels and I loved having Tandya’s suggestions to help plan to see the latest hotspots from a local’s perspective on this girls getaway with my Mom!
What did we do in Los Angeles?
We ended up taking a 10AM flight into LAX because those early morning flights are super rough, plus with the time difference, we would still be able to get in before noon and have the whole afternoon to explore. Fortunately, our flight was on time and we arrived a little before schedule. We collected our bags, snagged the rental car, and drove the 10 minutes to the Cambria Hotel LAX. The check in process was extremely easy, the staff was friendly, and they provided a brief overview of all of the amazing amenities the hotel had to offer. After about 30 minutes, the staff even texted us to make sure we had everything we needed for our stay and that our room was as we expected it to be. I was honestly blown away by this gesture and while everything with our room was great, I know they would have immediately fixed anything, if we needed it.
SGSB Recommendation: Los Angeles is one city that I highly recommend getting a rental car in. When I spent 6 months out there for work, we tried both ride sharing and car rental services and I liked that we always had a car to jet set around in. While it ends up being a bit more expensive to rent a car because you often have to pay for parking in LA, it is nice to be able to drive around (maybe up the Pacific Coast Highway) and stop wherever you’d like rather than going from destination to destination through one of the ride sharing services. Plus, the Cambria Hotel LAX offers extremely reasonable overnight parking fees (it was $10/night during our stay).
After freshening up, we were starving. It was almost 3pm (Houston time) so I knew we needed to eat something before my hangry attitude kicked in. We took the Pacific Coast Highway to Venice, which was about a 20-minute drive to hit up one of my hands down favorite restaurants in the world, Plant Food + Wine. It is a plant-based restaurant with a seasonally changing menu, vegan wines and an adorable patio. I first tried it with my team when we worked in LA two years ago and let’s just say the men on the team who were fans of Korean BBQ and skeptical about my plant-based restaurant choice raved about it for weeks…it’s just that good! And this time was just as good. We enjoyed a lasagna with macadamia ricotta, pistachio pesto and marinara, a chevre “cheese” with a sweet beet jam and a spicy Thai spaghetti squash salad. We honestly considered going back multiple times during the trip because we loved it so much!
The restaurant is located on Abbott Kinney Boulevard which happens to be a great shopping street filled with unique boutiques and a few household names. I really wanted to stop in the All Birds store because I’ve been needing a new pair, so we spent the afternoon walking the length of the street window shopping and picking up a couple of our favorite things. Another feature of Abbot Kinney is the new Cha Cha Matcha spot! My mom has never tried matcha before, so we decided to stop in so she could try her first matcha tea latte and I grabbed a Matcha Chai Latte, which is a fantastic combination of earthy and spicy vibes! If only I could find someone to make it in Houston!
Because it was a travel day, we started to feel the jet lag pretty early so we decided to head back to the Cambria Hotel LAX to relax. We had planned to venture back out to grab dinner, but after realizing how tired we were and seeing the amazing locally inspired selection of food and cocktails at the hotel restaurant, we changed our plans. I was still pretty full from lunch and my matcha, so I wanted to order something a bit on the lighter side. As soon as I saw the soup + grilled cheese trio, I knew it would be perfect. I was craving a bit of comfort food, but with the three types of soup, I didn’t have to make a choice on which one I wanted. They were all super tasty and I walked away from dinner feeling satisfied and ready to throw on my PJs for the night.
It was still pretty early (like 8), so we turned on the SmartCast-enabled TV in our room, which allowed us to browse a TV guide, log in to Netflix to watch a movie or view more information about the hotel. We ended up using the Netflix feature for a few minutes before turning in early.
We started our morning by hitting the fitness center at the Cambria Hotel LAX. With the exception of one person finishing up their workout when we got into the fitness center, my mom and I were the only ones working out, but even if there had been more people, it would not have felt cramped because there were four treadmills and three ellipticals (which have screens built in which allow you to watch most TV channels that they offer on the hotel room TVs) and lots of space to use the free weights, TRX ropes or just to stretch.
After working up an appetite (literally), we freshened up to head to Downtown LA to visit the Instagram famous, eggslut. This food stall at Grand Central Market is one of my favorite places to eat whenever I visit LA. Besides the cheeky name, it offers the BEST egg sandwich I have ever had (the Bacon, Egg and Cheese on the Brioche Bun). Also, the Slut, which is a sous vide glass jar of mashed potatoes and an over easy egg, is one of the most unique and delicious breakfast items I have ever had. Eggslut, particularly the one at Grand Central Market, can often see wait times of over a half an hour. I have found that the earlier I have gotten there for breakfast on the weekend or going before 9 and after 11 on a weekday helps to avoid these extensive lines.
SGSB Recommendation: Grand Central Market offers parking connected to the facility. While it’s a tight garage, I always find it super easy to park here and then walk throughout downtown for the other activities.
One of the things that Tandya highly recommended for us to do while in LA was to see a 360 degree view of the city at Skyspace LA. It’s only a few short blocks from Grand Central Market, so we walked over there (although, if I were to do it again, I would definitely take the Angels Flight, which is right across the street from Grand Central Market up the hill because it was steep). Man, the views from the Skyspace LA definitely did not disappoint and we spent a good hour and a half sitting in their outdoor lounge seating, enjoying not only a spectacular view, but one of the most gorgeous days. In addition to the views, Skyspace LA also offers a 45-foot enclosed glass slide that takes you from one floor of the exhibit to another. It was a bit too scary for me, so I didn’t do it, but the people who did while we were up there seemed to really enjoy it!
SGSB Recommendation: We arrived at Skyspace LA minutes after they opened and there were very few people there, but by the time we left (around noon), it definitely had picked up. I would recommend going early if you like to avoid the crowds. I’d also recommend checking their website before you go because they offer special events, like yoga and a club-like experience. And they have a full bar in the exhibit so it could make for a good after work happy hour spot, too!
Although we didn’t have time on this trip, I would highly recommend stopping by The Last Bookstore to peruse the picturesque ambience and/or visiting the Broad Museum for unique modern art when you’re in Downtown LA (DTLA).
After we saw the city from up high, we decided to make our way to one of my favorite neighborhoods in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, to grab some lunch and do a bit of shopping. Tandya had recommended Gracias Madre which is a plant based Mexican restaurant and I was ecstatic to try it out! (While I don’t eat a vegan diet most of the time, I’m a big fan of eating a plant-based diet and LA makes that so easy with the amazing options). Boy, did it live up to the hype! It was absolutely fantastic! Everything we had was better than the next, but if I had to choose one thing that was my favorite, it would have to be the plantain “chorizo” quesadilla – so much flavor was packed in to it (non-plant-based restaurants should take note).
A couple of the stores that I was hoping to visit while we were in LA just happened to be down the street, so we walked down Melrose Avenue and did a bit of shopping. A few of my highlights were The RealReal, Glossier, Golden Goose, Fred Segal, and Rebecca Minkoff. If we would have had time on this trip, I would have loved to stop by one of my favorite spin studios, Cycle House, grabbed a facial at the Kate Somerville Clinic, or done a sweat + relaxation session at Shapehouse.
SGSB Recommendation: Gracias Madre offers valet parking outside of the restaurant. It is public valet which means that you don’t only have to be parking for a certain establishment. I’d highly recommend leaving your car with the valet if you are planning to shop on Melrose Avenue or Melrose Place (since it’s only 4 or so blocks away) or go to one of the Lisa Vanderpump restaurants/bars (right around the corner from the restaurant), since you will have to pay to park again, if you move it.
We decided to take a break from shopping to grab a little afternoon pick me up at the original Alfred’s coffee. Known for great coffee + teas, including matcha (which I was trying to drink as much as I could on this trip while I could get great tea concoctions). I grabbed the Matcha Soda, which was matcha, vanilla syrup, and seltzer water. It was something I had never had before and the bubbles really threw me off initially, but it quickly grew on me and I’m so glad I tried something a little different.
While in West Hollywood, we tried to stop by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), but were unable to find parking because it was Free Museum Day. I was disappointed to not be able to see the LACMA Lights or the artwork inside the museum again, but if you ever are in the area, make sure to stop by (from my trip two years ago, the earlier you can get there, the better it will be).
For dinner that evening, we decided to stop by the Grove to try out 189 by Dominque Ansel. If you’ve been following SGSB for a while, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of his and have stopped by the bakery in SoHo in New York on many of my trips and I needed to try his restaurant since we were in the area. The ambience in the restaurant was gorgeous (lots of gold touches which, of course, I loved), the service was great and the food was delicious (we capped the meal with a mango Cronut which was super tasty). The Grove is also home to lots of great stores, including APL, Alo Yoga, Nordstrom, and Nike. We couldn’t help but make the loop and stop in a few of them to see if there was anything we “needed” to take back to Houston with us.
It was definitely a busy day and by 8 o’clock it was time to head back to the Cambria Hotel LAX to get a good night’s rest. I had high hopes that night of checking some emails, but as soon as I sat down on the comfy bed, I was out like a light. The muted, colorful design of the room helped me relax too.
Since I didn’t get to my emails the previous night, I spent a bit of time in the morning drinking a cup of coffee in bed while doing a bit of work. The Cambria Hotel LAX, like all Cambria hotels, provides complimentary Wi-Fi so it was super easy to check off those items without having to worry about logging in or paying for Internet.
SGSB Recommendation: While the coffee at the Cambria Hotel LAX is fantastic, I’m more of a latte girl, so I wanted to find a coffee shop nearby to snag one. About 5 minutes away is downtown El Segundo, which is an adorable street filled with shops and restaurant which looked like it was plucked out of a movie (and it is LA, so there is a good chance of that). The Blue Butterfly Coffee Company was a great little coffee shop which offered a variety of coffee shop favorites (i.e., drip coffee, lattes, matcha) and unique finds, like a Lavender Matcha and Blue Butterfly Tea Latte (which is actually blue).
No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without stopping by one of the many beaches lining the Pacific Coast. After packing up and checking out of the Cambria Hotel LAX, we drove about 10 minutes to Manhattan Beach. This little town was one of the most charming areas of LA that we visited while we were in the city and I loved the little beach houses that lined the Pacific Ocean.
We had specifically chosen to go the Manhattan Beach because Tandya highly recommended we have brunch at the Manhattan Beach Post, which is two blocks away from the beach on the main street of town. They offered a great selection of brunch items, including soft scrambled eggs, bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits (which was the base for eggs benedict), and pecan sticky buns, which were all scrumptious.
SGSB Recommendation: Make sure to reserve a table at the Manhattan Beach Post before your trip. It is one of the most highly recommended brunch spots in LA (according to Eater) and reservations were a bit hard to get about a week out.
We had about an hour to spare before we needed to head back to the airport to catch our flight home and we were super full after brunch so we walked down to the Manhattan Beach pier to watch the surfers brave the cold of that morning to catch a wave and to stop into the little aquarium located at the end of the pier. Unfortunately, after a short bit, we did have to make our way back to the airport and head back to Houston, but it was definitely a fantastic trip filled with lots of great food, activities, and a good night’s sleep.
Overall thoughts on the Cambria Hotel LAX
Overall, I was highly impressed with the Cambria Hotel LAX. From check-in to check-out, the staff was friendly, the hotel was clean, bright + airy, and the attention to the little things made our experience.
With the proximity to LAX (about 2 miles away) and the shuttle service available, the Cambria Hotel LAX is perfect for those trips where you have to fly out early the next morning or arrive at the airport late at night.
In addition to the proximity to LAX, I love the approachable indulgences that the hotel thought of – from a brown makeup washcloth in the bathroom to prevent makeup stains on the towels, to the placement of the shower handle to allow you to turn on the shower without getting wet (you know that moment when you turn it on and the cold water slams you), or the Bluetooth connection capability in the bathroom mirror, which allowed me to connect my phone and jam to music while getting ready.
With the upscale, modern atmosphere, comfy beds, approachable + thoughtful touches, and craft beer selections, I can’t wait to stay in another Cambria hotel in the future for both work trips and personal getaways!
I hope you enjoyed following along during our trip on Instagram + re-living it through this recap! If you missed it, you can check out the “LA” story highlight in my Instagram bio for lots of pictures and videos, including a room tour of the Cambria Hotel LAX.
Before you plan your next trip, sign up for a free Choice Privileges loyalty program membership to start earning fast rewards and receive exclusive member rates on future stays.