Needing a break from wine work and with Los Angeles always a relaxing and therapeutic drive away, I scheduled a mid week getaway to Sonesta Redondo Beach. This beachside resort is within about a 20 minute drive from LAX. And for those wanting to enjoy Southern California’s mild year-round coastal climate and its ‘fit’ lifestyle, the resort is conveniently located across from the Strand, a bike and pedestrian path which runs up to Malibu. Bicycles are available to rent for guests.
Don’t miss a dip in their heated outdoor pool, complete with quintessential southern California visual surroundings including palms and a backdrop of the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean. The property has two fitness centers including a sauna located within a short walk of the pool.
The resort is a 12-15 minute walk to the weekly Redondo Beach Farmers’ Market held every Thursday morning and the nearby Redondo Beach Pier. The last time we visited the pier we enjoyed Korean seafood at the Pacific Fish Center & Restaurant. And every May the epic BeachLife Festival is held down the street from the resort; this is a memorable beach party combined with live music. Sonesta Redondo Beach books up well in advance of this event.
There are no shortage of experiences in the south bay. Other activities within driving distance of Sonesta Redondo Beach include Del Amo Fashion Center (one of the largest malls in the U.S.) and Mitsuwa Marketplace (Japanese market), both in Torrance. And one can make a day trip to Catalina Island; the closest departure port is in San Pedro, about 30 minutes from Redondo Beach.
And while the resort is very popular with leisure travelers (342 rooms), it is also a destination for business travelers and features 25,000 square feet of meeting space.
During my first night I stopped in at SOL Restaurant featuring Asian/American Fusion. I was pleasantly surprised to meet one of the co-founders of Patiné Cellars, Dean Nucich who was pouring some of his wines to patrons of the restaurant. One of his Pinot Noir bottlings paired very well with the restaurant’s tuna tartare and the hamachi crudo.
And this Famous yet Nameless clip was filmed on site:
The next day it was off to Universal Studios as it had been a few years since my last visit. Every time I visit it seems like there is another new attraction. This time it was SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ which had recently opened. The line for the ride was listed as 140 minutes. I passed on the opportunity. This bright ‘Nintendo’ colored space was filled with families and sounds from the game. And one of the other highlights was a visit to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. This ‘city’ embraces all things Harry Potter including themed gift shops, rides and other attractions.
I was surprised to notice that WaterWorld was still showing; perhaps this show has been seen by more people than the original movie as it is now Universal Studios longest running show. I think this was my fourth time seeing the show but it never gets old. The stands were completely filled, including the green seats which provides a guaranteed soaking, more chilling than normal on such an unusually cold day.
Cold rain began to fall in the late afternoon and the crowds dissipated many making their way to the exits. Since I was so close to Thai Town I visited once of my favorite restaurants for authentic boat noodle soup, Hoy Ka on Sunset Blvd. By the time my meal was finished the sun was shining brightly again and I drove over to Barnsdall Art Park for great views of the Hollywood Hills and surrounding skyline.
I decided to drive downtown using Sunset Blvd but I had forgotten it was opening day for the Dodgers and traffic was an absolute standstill. But finally I reached Union Station, parked and was pleasantly surprised to find a ‘Dodger watch party” happening in the adjoining courtyard. Free Cracker Jacks and mini baseball bats were provided to all attendees!