Singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc has enjoyed a multidimensional music career, collaborating with artists from ‘70s rock band Chicago to electronic DJ Aviici, with whom he co-produced 2013's smash “Wake Me Up.” The lauded musician—he's been nominated for both a Grammy and two Brit Awards—father of two, and Orange County native finds musical inspiration from both the chaos and calmness of California. Here, he reveals where he indulges in California's most luxurious offerings when he's not creating chart-topping tunes.
Coast at Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica
The beachfront restaurant at the Michael Smith-designed Santa Monica hotel provides a hypnotizing view as you dine. “When you sit in the restaurant, you are eye level to the ocean water, which is different from other restaurants on the beach between Santa Monica and Venice,” explains Blacc. “I find myself staring out the window, watching people go by on their skates or surfboards.” American classics are served from morning to night, but Blacc can be found at a table during breakfast. “I'm simple—I usually go for two eggs over medium,” he says. “It fills you just right.”
The Getty Center, Los Angeles
The museum founded by billionaire J. Paul Getty houses some of the most valuable European and contemporary art. “I've actually followed the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris to the Getty in Santa Monica,” Blacc says. It also hosts the most luxurious experience one can have for little money. “The Getty is the place where I would take my wife on dates before we got married,” Blacc says. “You can go with a picnic blanket and hang out all day for free, but you feel like a million bucks. The entire place is imported marble, and it’s extremely luxurious in terms of how it was designed, the money that was spent to build it, and the artwork you see.”
Ford Amphitheatre, Los Angeles
The 1,200-seat Ford Amphitheatre recently underwent a $66 million renovation, and according to Blacc, it’s worth every penny. “It's my favourite outdoor live venue in L.A.,” he says. Aside from the intimate seating, which makes Blacc feel like he's “having a conversation with the audience” when he performs there, the natural surroundings give audiences a bonus light show around dusk. “It's situated on a hillside where the audience can watch the beautiful colours of the sunset spill onto this hill as they see the performer dancing or singing on stage. It's an awesome experience that is a hidden treasure of L.A.” Events are managed by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, which seeks out local artists to perform at the venue and provide a musical experience that Blacc says is “unique and authentic” L.A.
For Aloe, who grew up in Orange County, Laguna Beach is home. “I grew up in the city next door and would spend time with my friends up and down the beach,” he says. “Everything that keeps me close to home feels good.” The 250-room Montage Laguna Beach is large enough to feel grand, but small enough to feel homey. Located on an oceanside cliff with a 20,000-square-foot spa, the luxury resort property inspires romance and relaxation. “It's laid back because you have the essence of the beach, but luxury in terms of the quality of care you get as a patron,” Aloe says.
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point
For Blacc, the Ritz is a symbol of both nostalgia and pride. “I remember as a kid driving past the hotel thinking one day, I'm going to be in there,” says Blacc. “Now I can take my family there to enjoy. It's one of those places that makes me feel like I've made it. It feels like success.” This exquisite luxury resort located between Los Angeles and San Diego sits on a 150-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and its Mediterranean-inspired design is complemented by the Ritz-Carlton's signature five-star service. “It's one of the top hotels I've been to in the world, from its layout across the cliff side in Dana Point, to the rooms I’ve stayed in,” says Blacc.
You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.
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