Los Angeles is a tough city to traverse â€“ be prepared to spend a fair amount of time in the back of an Uber â€“ but West Hollywoodâ€™s (referred to as WeHo by those in the know) best shopping, dining and drinking is explorable by foot. If itâ€™s luxury boutiques youâ€™re after, youâ€™ll be in heaven: West Hollywood has them all â€“ and even if youâ€™re not committed to splurging, itâ€™s trip worth making for boutique finds that you couldnâ€™t get your hands on here.
Start up at Paul Smith (8221 Melrose Ave); the iconic bubblegum-pink boutique is one of Los Angeles most Instagrammed spots. Head across the road to our personal favourite: Reformation (8253 Melrose Ave) â€“ to get your fix of sustainable clothing, most of which is made in downtown LA. A block away youâ€™ll find eccentric Brit import, Vivienne Westwood (8320); the three-story space stocks menâ€™s and womenswear. Cross the road to get your hands on one of much-loved American designer Rebecca Minkoff‘s (8335 Melrose Ave) coveted leather handbags.
Itâ€™s hard to miss Marc Jacobs â€“ covered in greenery and perched on the corner of Melrose Ave and Melrose Place. Book lovers need to pop across the road to explore the offerings at sister store, Bookmarc â€“ itâ€™s impossible to leave without a hard-to-find coffee table tome tucked under your arm. Refuel the healthy way at Gwyneth Paltrowâ€™s favourite Moon Juice (8463-3 Melrose Place) â€“ try â€“ or if itâ€™s a caffeine fix you need, grab a very-LA almond milk iced latte at Alfred Coffee (8428 Melrose Place) â€“ expect queues at peak times. Adjacent youâ€™ll discover European fashion big guns ChloĂ©, Anya Hindmarch, Isabel Marant and Bottega Veneta.
Beauty buffs are in for a treat too. Violet Grey (8452 Melrose Place) is home to some of the worldâ€™s most sought-after beauty brands including Charlotte Tilburry, Surge Lutens and Glossier. Jet-lagged skin will appreciate a visit to one of the worldâ€™s oldest pharmacies, Santa Maria Novella (8411 Melrose Place). NARSâ€™ flagship Los Angeles boutique (8412 Melrose Avenue) will take you into the evening â€“ pop in for a full make-up lesson ($100 redeemable on product) or a free five-minute touch-up. End the day by heading to the rooftop bar E.P. & L.P. (603 North La Cienega Boulevard) â€“ sample some organic tofu fries and a signature cocktail while watching the Californian sunset.
Getting there: Qantas Business Class Los Angeles to Sydney
Once you conquer the plight of the dreaded customs at LAX, itâ€™s a smooth-sailing experience: the business class lounge in Los Angeles is award-winning and boarding was a breeze. Since our flight departed just after 11pm, as tempting as Neil Perryâ€™s in-flight menu of small and main plates was, getting some shuteye was on the cards.
The seat: Sleeping at all, let alone for nine hours straight on a long-haul is something of an achievement for me but getting serious zzzs on the Qantas A380 Airbus was easy. The business class cabin is fitted with 72 skybeds; each seat fully extends and stretches out to a full two metres when flat â€“ and theyâ€™re comfortable too; I was surprised to wake and find Iâ€™d managed to get a full nightâ€™s sleep. Headrests are contained within the pod and thereâ€™s a retractable screen between seats so your space is as private as you want it to be. Snuggly Qantas pyjamas, a Kate Spade amenities kit complete with mini Aspar by Aurora Spa products and a turndown service were the icing on the cake. disembark bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
The food: I requested not to be disturbed when sleeping, so by the time I woke from my slumber it was almost time for breakfast. While I regret not sampling more of the menu, my scrambled eggs, salmon and avocado on brioche toast served with a long black hit the spot.
The entertainment: There were plenty of award-winning films and television series worthy of a watch to see me through the final five-hour leg of the journey.
Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington via Sydney. For more information, or to make a booking, visit Qantas.com.