Combining two of California’s iconic cities with the awesome beauty of Hawai’i is a great way to experience America, writes Ella Buchan.
Lounging on the rainforest-fringed beaches of Hawai’i is top of many travellers’ bucket-and-spade lists. Combine with California’s most vibrant cities and you might just have the trip of a lifetime.
Separated by 380 miles of coastline, Los Angeles and San Francisco are perennial tourist favourites, and they perfectly sandwich a trip to the Aloha State.
Ross Sinclair, senior product manager for Americas and the Caribbean at Gold Medal, said: “California is one of my favourite US states purely for the sheer variety of holiday options it provides – beaches, cities, National Parks, wineries, even skiing!
“My advice is to make sure you travel around the state to see as much as possible, driving is straightforward but there is also a good rail network too.
California is an ideal gateway to the picture perfect islands of Hawai’i, the birthplace of modern surfing and hula, and home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.”
Here are the latest happenings from these golden destinations.
The City of Angels has beaches, culture and, of course, Hollywood glitz and glamour. The latter lands a lead role at the Academy Museum, opening 2019. Built
by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and designed by stellar architect Renzo Piano, the six-storey museum’s galleries, theatres and exhibition spaces are dedicated to the world of movies.
The Institute of Contemporary Art just opened in Downtown’s hip Arts District in late 2017. Founded as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the new location, in a former factory, has 7,000 square feet of space housing exhibitions focusing on how contemporary art and culture can challenge perceptions and create connections.
With surprisingly walkable neighbourhoods like Koreatown, Venice Beach and the increasingly vibrant Downtown LA, the idea that you have to drive everywhere is a myth. West Hollywood is easy to explore on two feet rather than four wheels, and its newest hotel The Jeremy brings 268 rooms to the home of Sunset Strip. In neighbouring Hollywood, the recently-opened Dream Hollywood anchors an extensive revitalisation of this iconic neighbourhood.
There’s never really been a bad time to visit balmy Hawai’i – but with a host of new openings and nature at its most spectacular, right now might just be the best.
Nature lovers can marvel at the islands’ amazing humpback whales onboard Atlantis Cruises’ Majestic between December and April, while on a smaller scale, the new He’eia Fishpond Exploration kayaking tour, with Holokai Adventures, delves deep into the significance of fishponds in early Hawai’ian culture and food gathering.
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina has partnered with Paradise Helicopters Hawai’i to offer an exclusive Earth, Wind and Fire tour to provide access to the islands’ natural landmarks, and Gray Line Hawai’i has announced a new one-day tour that takes guests from Oahu to Kauai for a day trip including a spectacular helicopter tour.
Alohilani Resort at Waikiki Beach has been revamped with a saltwater pool and beachside dining by celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto. At Holoholo Grill, just opened at Koloa Landing Resort, dishes on celebrity chef Sam Choy’s vibrant menu include guava BBQ ribs and green papaya chicken salad.
In Waikiki, two new dining hotspots are shaking up the scene. The Street has communal tables surrounded with chef’s stations, while Yokocho Gourmet Alley is a hip food hub with 16 restaurants.
The City by the Bay manages to feel like a cosy old friend and an exciting new acquaintance, all at once.
The new YOTEL, arriving in downtown’s Mid-Market district early 2018, aims to do the same, combining high-tech rooms with open social spaces, perfect for catching up with work – or a good book. Housed in one of few buildings to survive the 1906 earthquake, the property will have 360-degree views from its rooftop terrace, a gym, and rooms inspired by luxury airline travel.
The city’s hotel scene is booming. Opening soon, Virgin Hotels San Francisco is expected to live up to the company’s chic Chicago debut, promising a cool rooftop bar and rooms characterised by thoughtful, personal details.
The stylish AC Hotel, close to the airport, brings the outside in with a central courtyard and a wall of glass facing the San Francisco Bay. From the same group, the Marriott, a Moxy opens early 2018 in downtown, bringing the brand’s characteristic blend of function and fun.
Excitement is also building for the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which will take place at the city’s AT&T Park stadium on July 20-22 2018. Various UK and Irish teams are qualified and tickets are still available. San Francisco 2018 will be the seventh edition of the global tournament and the third to feature both men’s and women’s competitions.
Gold Medal offers a 13-night Los Angeles, Hawai’i and San Francisco itinerary from £2,499, including three nights and seven nights room-only in LA and Hawai’i, and three nights with breakfast in San Francisco. The package includes economy-class flights from Heathrow and domestic connections, and is valid for departures from February 12 to March 11, 2018.
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