Author Topic: Four Days in California  (Read 6500 times)

Offline Joel

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Four Days in California
« on: February 16, 2020, 12:38:11 AM »
Having been in the CC/Mileage game for a while now, I decided to try using my mileage for a premium travel experience. I booked Flagship business tickets from JFK to LAX using 32.5 AA pp. It was worth it.

Our flight was at 6:00am so we arrived at the airport 4am. As it was so early in the morning, there were no lines and we were checked in right away. We checked out the new Flagship lounge. It was beautiful and a comfortable place to wait for our flight. It was a great experience flying business. Besides the lie-flat seats, it was the attentiveness of the flight attendants which we loved. The FA brought us some fresh fruit after seeing that we did not like our breakfast.

We arrived at 9:30 LA time and thanks to our lie-flat seats were well rested and ready to embrace the day. In order to get to our rental car, we had to take a shuttle to the remote car rental lot, and from there another shuttle to Silvercar. I had rented the Audi Q7 using a promotion which gave me 2/4 days free. The total after taxes was $238.19 It was a fast process and the car was clean and well maintained.
We headed to Café Elite for breakfast. It wasn’t amazing, its good for a fast bite.
After breakfast we wanted to go to a whale watching tour we had booked on Groupon, however we were told we had needed to book in advance, and they had a private charter that day. They told me to contact Groupon and they will issue me a refund. It started raining, which made me glad we weren’t on a boat, so we went to check in to our hotel.
We had booked a standard room in the Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood. As an Explorist member (which is a story in of itself how I got it…), we were given an upgrade to a sunset view room, which was slightly bigger and had a view of the strip. The hotel had amazing service. We ordered some extra towels, shampoo etc. from the app and within five minutes it was by our room. I admit to ordering random stuff we did not need to test them, and I must they passed with flying colors. 😉 The beds were the most comfortable I have ever had in a hotel and the room was impeccably clean. Our favorite amenity of the hotel was its complimentary free soft drinks in the mini bar. Overall, we rate them 4/5.

We drove around the city in the rain to see the sites a bit and heading to La Gondola for dinner. The service was great, the food mouthwatering and they even provide valet! Definitely a 5/5 if not more.

Mojito 10/10

Piña colada 8/10

Chicken Soup 10/10

Lamb Bacon 1/10 (burnt!)

Flatbread 10/10

BBQ Spare Ribs & Sides 10/10

Monday: morning, we ordered in breakfast as we were running on a tight schedule. We had booked the Warner Bros tour and it was scheduled for 11:00am. The tour was fascinating. We saw their archives which had costumes and props that were used in the movies. We saw a set-up sound stage, some practical sets, and the outdoors they use for movies. The tour is guided but is different every day as they are constantly shooting in other areas, and as such some areas are closed to the public. The tour ends up being slightly different every day. (Cost for 2 was $78.34 after $50 Promo)
We went for lunch to Pico Café. The service I would give one star as it took way too long for the food to arrive, however it was worth the wait. The food is GOOD.

Salmon with spicy tomato sauce 10/10

Personal Pie 10/10


After lunch we went down to Santa Monica beach, the pier and 3rd street promenade.

Dinner was at the Milky Way. Good food and great service.
Mimosa 8/10

Salmon Puffs 9/10

Potato Latkes 10/10

Eggplant Parmesan 1/10 (burnt!)

Truffled Mac & Cheese 10/10

Leah's Classic Cheesecake 10/10

Leah's Cheese Blintzes 9/10 (took to-go)

Tuesday:, we ordered in again and checked out of our hotel. We had a Segway tour and it was awesome. We took the Venice and Santa Monica beaches tour. Axel (the tour guide) was knowledgeable and friendly. He kept taking pictures for us, which we really appreciated having left our selfie sticks in the suitcases. The tour was $178 for two people and we highly recommend it. (

After the tour we headed out to Oxnard where we were going to spend the night. We took the scenic route which was breathtaking. We also made a quick stop at Fish Grill in Malibu for lunch.

French Fries 10/10

Fish Taco 10/10

We checked into our resort, Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach. I had booked a standard ocean view room, and as a Diamond member I requested an upgrade. Online the hotel showed completely sold out, yet I decided to try and boy was it worth it!! I was upgrade to a presidential suite which had 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 balconies, a humongous living room, kitchen and its private whirlpool tub. We closed one of the bedroom doors so not to mistakenly leave anything behind. The room was a bit dated but well kept.

For dinner we went to Tierra Sur, which compared to Reserve Cut is on a lower tier IMO. My wife is a bit picky but always finds something she likes on the menu, could not find a single thing on their menu. They have a small and seasonal menu.
Mexican Beef Pickled tongue 10/10

Chicken & Bacon Sandwich 10/10

16oz Boneless Ribeye 6.5/10 (was to well done)

Chocolate tart 10/10

Wednesday:, we spent the day hanging out at the resort. They have beautiful and large grounds, which include a private beach. We took walks along the beach, took some snapshots next to the waterfalls on the resort and enjoyed the property. This hotel is a great place for someone who is going for Shabbos and is bringing along their own food. It is gated so no need for an eiruv, and has huge, beautiful grounds so you have what to enjoy without leaving the hotel. There is a Chabad within walking distance which might provide food for Shabbos. The resort was truly magnificent, and we were very reluctant to leave it.

We checked out early afternoon and headed back to LAX. We ate lunch at Pico Café, bought some food for the flight and went to return the car.
Salmon with mushroom sauce 10/10

Fettuccine Alfredo 7/10 (to creamy)

Waffles and ice cream 10/10

The return process was easy, and we believe the soda can we gave the attendant might have helped. (we had some leftover from the minibar and could not take it along with us on the flight anyway…)

This time we sat by the exit rows which had amazing leg room. My wife put down our carry on in front of her and used it as a footrest yet kept saying we need to fly business again. I guess once you fly business you really can’t do economy again, 😉
Seat 10A

Offline Boruch Parnes

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Re: Four Days in California
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 12:48:02 AM »
Amazing TR!

Offline Cholentfresser

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Re: Four Days in California
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 01:02:34 AM »
Amazing TR!

Interesting that La Gandola gets a
Definitely a 5/5 if not more.
..even though..
Lamb Bacon 1/10 (burnt!)
..but I guess everything else made up for it :)

In order to understand recursion, you first need to understand recursion.

Offline Joel

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Re: Four Days in California
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 01:11:19 AM »
Amazing TR!

Interesting that La Gandola gets a ..even though....but I guess everything else made up for it :)
I think the lamb bacon was made the way its supposed to be, it just did not appeal to me. taste it was burnt