This is the second in a series of three posts documenting the journey the So It Goes editorial team undertook this summer to put together our brand new, shiny Issue 8.
The concept of the 'centre of town' is a curious one in a city like Los Angeles.
Sprawling, inexact and yes, sometimes confusing, the 88 different cities in Los Angeles County fuse and blend into each other; highway to highway, palm tree to palm tree.
Despite the various impracticalities, team So It Goes has - as mentioned in the first article of our Mr & Mrs Smith collaboration - always gravitated towards the sea and Venice beach. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that after 5,500 miles and almost 11 hours in the air, the British tend to tumble towards any opportunity to boost their miserable vitamin D deficiencies and feel the sand between their toes.
After three-and-a-half years of making our magazine, however, we’ve learned the hard way that our editorial trips very seldom result in any dipping of toes in the Pacific. I think we had 20 minutes. Once.
Learning our lesson the hard way over the years, and fine-tuning – as well we might – the expectations that no less than a good quarter of your day will be spent in a car, it soon felt like time for a change.
That change brought us to the Avalon. In as much as an LA hotel can be ‘central’, this, for the So It Goes editors, represented central. Our cover shoot with the breakout star of Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown was at a location that, even by LA standards, pushed the boundaries of driving distance acceptability, but before the shoot, the predictably unpredictable two days of pre-production would likely mean we’d be rooted to the spot.
As a result, we chose our spot carefully. Tucked away in a very quiet residential block on the city limits of Beverly Hills, our life was - for our two day stay at least, transformed by the fifties inspired, mid-century gem that is the Avalon Hotel.
The Avalon is set apart from a number of hotels in LA by a unique and expertly designed, intimate outdoor space. Unintrusive tables are dotted around the curvaceous, dominant boomerang pool, whilst more spacious and almost booth-like eating/meeting spaces line the walls with mid-century Eames, Noguchi and Nelson furniture.
On our first night, we eat at the Avalon’s in-house restaurant Viviane, which is exceptional. Our jet-lagged, under appreciative selves still managed to see Chef Michael Hung’s California-fied take on modern European and American classics for what it was – imaginative, beautifully presented, and overall just more than a little bit special.
It’s worth noting at this stage, that in a world where hotel value is notoriously difficult to come by (especially in the US) the Avalon represents excellent value across the board, especially taking into account its zip-code.
With meetings, frantic poolside e-mailing and a predictable sleep deficit, it’s safe to say, that for this writer, one of the highlights was the room itself. My happy place for our stay - as sad as it may sound…and is…was plunging into the exceptionally comfortable bed (complete with Italian linens) switching on the 42 inch screen, and letting the madness, hysteria and paranoia of Donald Trump wash over me.
It was a brief stay and it was a busy stay. However, it certainly won’t be our last at the Avalon Hotel, Beverly Hills.
A huge thank you to Mr & Mrs Smith for their help and support, and stay tuned for the next in our So It Goes x Mr & Mrs Smith collaboration, this Wednesday – Surf Lodge, Montauk.
Words and photos by James Wright