Last Friday I found myself hurtling towards LA in one of Virgin America’s futuristic jets. With its modern white and purple interior, a Virgin America flight looks more like a mile high niteclub. It was fun.
I pulled up to the Chateau Marmont and was almost hit by a departing Nicole Richie driving a comically big SUV. After checking into my large room adorned with big wrought-iron french doors and a long terrace, I met my friends for lunch in the gorgeous, quiet, monastery-like garden where I laid eyes on Leonardo DiCaprio eating a burger with Kevin Connolly. When he left, Cameron Diaz took his spot. I was prepared for star-sightings at this hotel, but not of this caliber. Oh, yeah, and I had a cobb salad and shrimp cocktail. Later on that night, we returned to the garden for some late-night drinks and sat a few tables away from Madonna and Marc Jacobs. The Chateau was living up to its reputation a celeb enclave.
That said, I love the Chateau. It’s unlike any other hotel in terms of its quiet, bohemian glamour. It’s old, mysterious, maybe haunted by the spirits of all the Hollywood stars who have stayed in the rich rooms and casual bungalows. Tucked away on a hill, behind thick trees, bushes and flowers, you feel like you’ve truly escaped everything. It’s private, respectful, beautiful. Some people may wrinkle their nose at such a hideaway, but for a weekend, I indulged in it. I never left the property, save for a brief foray into Beverly Hills for a charity event.
My friends and I spent Saturday at the pool and basked in the sunshine, ordered too many bottles of Domaines Ott and in complete disregard for the tenuous condition of my bikini-clad body, I ate a steak sandwich poolside. We had a big group dinner underneath the arches of the garden and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Carlo Mondavi, the strikingly handsome young winemaker who, after years of professional snowboarding and foraying briefly into skincare, was getting serious about the future of his family’s winery. The very cool Mondavi spoke at length about an upcoming trip to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada’s wine country and a great producer of dry reislings. His enthusiasm was infectious, and I now have a renewed interest in Mondavi wines. Oh yeah, and I had roast chicken and a very nice chardonnay.
On Sunday, when it was time to leave, I knew I was coming back to reality (via disco jet), which made me incredibly sad, but at the same time, I appreciated that I had spent a weekend in make-believe, behaving like a princess in her castle on a hill. That’s what L.A. is for- letting you indulge in complete fantasy.
Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. Rooms start at $370 a night. Visit the website here.
Robert Mondavi Winery, read more here.