Many memories fill the scrape books of the mind. I sometimes wonder if they stay planted when minds begin to skew and faces are no longer familiar. I think they do as they are filed away so carefully, protected with laughter and guarded by time. If I live another 30 years (which I do plan on,) I'll let you all know.
Son Jeff wanted to do something for us to celebrate--an open buffet for friends, a trip for Ken and me somewhere; he was thinking bigger than we wanted or needed. Our wish was to just enjoy "our boys"--Jeff and Casey, and follow a fond memory of the weekend we spent together in San Francisco a few years ago. So, we asked for a night in Los Angles at a lovely hotel and dinner at the Beverly Hills location of the restaurant we enjoyed so much in San Francisco.
So, on Cinco di Mayo we headed north, remember, we are far south. First stop was Venice Beach which totally personifies why people think of California as a land of wackos. It's a crazy place where you will see just about anything along the boardwalk. There's also a beautiful beach, well-kept lawns where graceful taichi is performed, open air massages enjoyed, lovers love, and playgrounds where kids play. It is so California with a ballet of bicycles, skateboards and skates swirling along the paths. It was fun for us just to stroll and absorb.
Lunch at the Venice Ale House
(Isn't son Jeff a handsome lad?)
Next stop was Beverly Hills--the SLS Hotel, of which (for those of you old enough, you know that Churchill would approve of the grammar syntax) I am sure you have never heard. It is new and is the first of four in a new luxury hotel group. The other three will be in South Beach FL, NYC and Las Vegas.
The SLS has hundreds of permutations--Sparkle Like Sunshine, Susie Loves Sam, Savor Luxury Stays, Sweet Like Sugar, Satan Loves Sinners and on and on. It is fun to see the creativity as every place you look there is an SLS. Many of the rolling wall of slogans have been contributed by guests.
The designers decorating imaginations ran wild--it is as if they went to sleep, dreamed, woke up and went to work each morning fresh with new ideas of fun. Even the interiors of the elevators tickle.
Wild? Isn't it?
Lamps and chandeliers are crazy. With hundreds of them, I don't think there are two alike.
This was my favorite--straight out of Great Expectations.
Even the rooms are unique--unlike the stereotypical rooms in any hotel, even those billed as luxury hotels. Basically, they are pretty predictable and the same. Here they are different. Beginning with the almost totally black mirrored walls, including bathroom and shower, the mirrored wall above the sink in the bathroom which slides open as a window into the bedroom, the bed that sits in the middle of the room, the huge tub in Casey and Jeff's bath, the black TV hidden in one black mirrored wall--oh, this is all too hard to describe. Just know that it is different, fun and almost decadent. If you love the atypical, this is a
place you would enjoy--mark it on your bucket list.
At some point while I was thoroughly enjoying this camaraderie, a lovely gift from the general manager arrived in our room--a beautiful flower arrangement, a chilled bottle of chardonnay, an exquisite cake and a very nice note of congratulations, all nicely arranged on a small table awaiting our little celebration. (Don't you love the self-timer function on cameras? Casey's our master, of this trickery.) Although this was pre-dinner, we had to have a toast and a sliver of very sweet, gooey cake.
Dinner was not at the hotel; although, we will go back someday as the The Bazaar restaurant beckons. Our reservations were at Crustacean, the sister restaurant of fond memories in San Francisco. Jeff and I salivate when thinking of their specialty, roasted crab and we were not disappointed. Ken sticks to giant butterflied prawns as he has a thing against having to work for his food. Me? Love digging into crab, lobster, escargot, whatever. Along with the crab, one must have the drunken, garlic noodles which, having tried to imitate several times, I now almost have mastered.
Well, not very good of Ken but the rest of us are OK.
The evening finished with Casey going to the room while Ken, Jeff and I hit The Bazaar for drinks and people watching. I am pretty sure we were in the company of wealthy and powerful and probably a celebrity or two thrown in. Definitely a lot of young people who we surmised were rich kids of rich parents. No one paid any attention to us--wonder why? Were we fooling them all with our humbleness?
The Baazar is also the location of the gift shop which is as whimsical as everything else at the SLS. Fun to look at but nothing I need or want or can afford. The chairs (or one should say seating) in the lounge are just as eclectic and varied and unique as the lighting. We fortunately were comfortable on a cow pelt (or simulated) couch but some looked pretty uncomfortable.
The Gift Shop
And so closes our 50th anniversary--except for the last treat the next morning when I visited the elegant white and gold Ciel Spa for a luxurious massage--maybe one of the best ever. The boys entertained themselves with more pool while I luxuriated. And then it was time to leave with memories to carry through another fifty or maybe, if we are lucky 30 years.
Thank you Jeff.