Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
Greg Daniels' introduction to the culinary world wasn't a romantic one: he started working at a fast food restaurant at age 15, followed by a stint as a bartender. Nevertheless, these jobs ignited a passion for cooking that would guide his entire life. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate now works as the executive chef at Haven Gastropub, where he has designed a menu of gourmet American and European comfort foods inspired by his travels to England, New York, and San Francisco.
The eatery is an across-the-pond extension of the gastropub movement, which began in London in the 90s. Gastropubs differ from traditional pubs in that they specialize in high-quality eats and permit only the most beautiful drinking songs. Haven, for example, serves lamb burgers on rosemary brioche buns, fries sprinkled with house-made truffle salt, and whole roasted suckling pigs.
Of course, the "pub" part of Gastropub still implies a lively bar. Bartenders pour more than a dozen draughts as well as a selection of bottled beers, red and white wines, and craft cocktails blended with house-made mixes.
Sunlight filters through the pergola framing Piccolo Mondo’s outdoor patio, where diners enjoy their meals amongst hanging plants and fresh air. The mottled stucco-style walls both inside and out complement the menu of traditional Italian cuisine. Nuggets of potato-based dough soak in marinara or gorgonzola sauce for the housemade gnocchi, and oven-baked pizzas—topped with ingredients such as shrimp, sundried tomato, and prosciutto—bring to mind the old country more effectively than watching the Three Tenors serenade a plate of pasta.
“Marylle Koken is fantastic at performing major transformations with ease," says InStyle magazine. "Koken is one of the nation’s top performing media artists in hair making today," raves SalonCity. While most salon owners would revel in a single glowing review, The Harlot Salon’s owner, Marylle Koken, has had them rolling in since her career began at the tender age of 19. After growing up in Holland and training in France, she traveled to the United States to embark upon a storied career. Now, thanks to her reputation for spellbinding styles, she counts The Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Juliette Binoche, Claudia Schiffer, and Jack Nicholson as clients at her Parisian-themed salon.
Complimentary cookies, champagne, and cappuccino welcome guests into The Harlot, where they kick back in soft, leather chairs as they await treatments with Marylle or one of the salon’s other star stylists. Not to be outdone by their lauded leader, the staff also flaunts impressive resumés that include styling for LA Fashion Week and fitting the Hollywood sign for its new wig. With the help of Sebastian Professional and Moroccanoil products, they perform a traditional list of hair services with untraditional flair.
When you walk into Bacaro, you're literally surrounded by wine. Look up and you'll see countless bottles encased in a glass display in the ceiling; look ahead and you'll see dozens more standing in neat rows behind the bar. A list of international, small-production wines fills one wall, scrawled on a chalkboard like a PTA's happy-hour menu. Rounding out the constantly changing selection is house-made sangria and an equally impressive lineup of international craft beers.
Executive chef Lior Hillel, who honed his skills at New York's illustrious Jean-Georges, prepares a menu that vibes with the focus on wine. Italian-style cicchetti?small-plate servings similar to tapas?are served in hot and cold varieties, ranging from poached shrimp in a citrus-chili sauce to a lamb-stuffed eggplant topped with lemon-garlic emulsion. These inventive sauces are some of the best parts of each dish, as the restaurant bottles and sells them both onsite and at Whole Foods and other local retailers.
Los Angeles Oktoberfest invites visitors to celebrate the changing seasons with two days of traditional Bavarian revelry. Hosted by Bob Guiney from ABC's The Bachelor, the festival invites attendees to fill their glass steins with any of the 19 available German beers and purchase hearty platefuls of bratwurst, giant pretzels, and strudel. Live bands lead traditional, sing-along drinking tunes, a Bavarian dance group performs for joyous audiences, and a strolling accordionist weaves through the crowds while playing familiar German melodies. In addition to bidding on sports memorabilia at the silent-auction table, patrons can also test their arm strength by competing in the stein-holding competition, which rewards the winners with lifetime admission to the Los Angeles Oktoberfest and a brand new pair of steel biceps to replace the old, used-up ones.