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L.A. Hotels, Family Learning Adventure, McCloud

Spot celebrities in posh L.A. hotels, have fun and learn in the Bay Area, and visit a former Northern California logging town with modern charm

Stay at certain upscale hotels in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, or Beverly Hills, and you have a pretty good chance of spotting a few celebrities in the lobby or at the bar. Even if you don’t, the posh amenities and glamorous atmosphere at these Los Angeles County hotels will have you feeling like an A-lister, according to Travel + Leisure Editor-in-Chief Jacqui Gifford. Gifford joins California Now Podcast host Soterios Johnson to wax poetic about this distinctly L.A. phenomenon.

Johnson is next joined by Monet Hambrick, author of the popular blog The Traveling Child. Hambrick recently took her family on a fun and educational tour around the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey, and she shares a few tips on how to make the most of a visit there.

Finally, Johnson chats with travel journalist Ann Marie Brown about a tiny Northern California town that offers much more than meets the eye. McCloud was a logging powerhouse in the 19th century but has since transformed into a charming destination that blends its rich history with some modern twists—including some great hidden gems.


Jacqui Gifford, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure

Monet Hambrick, author of The Traveling Child blog

Ann Marie Brown, author and travel journalist


As Travel + Leisure’s Jacqui Gifford can tell you, some L.A. hotels exude some serious Hollywood glamour.

The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire

The Beverly Hills Hotel

The Beverly Hilton

Love Beverly Hills

Visit West Hollywood

Visit Santa Monica

Shutters on the Beach

Viceroy L'Ermitage


Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Hotel Bel-Air

Sunset Tower Hotel

The Tower Bar

The Bay Area offers a treasure trove of family-friendly edutourism options, as blogger Monet Hambrick recently discovered on a trip there with her two small children.

Visit San Jose

The Tech Interactive

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

Santana Row


See Monterey

Fisherman's Wharf Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium

San Francisco Travel

Pier 39

Aquarium of the Bay

California Academy of Sciences

Hotel Zephyr

McCloud possesses a distinct charm that keeps Ann Marie Brown coming back again and again.

McCloud Chamber of Commerce

Visit Siskiyou County

Visit Mt. Shasta

U.S. Route 89

McCloud Mercantile Hotel

McCloud Falls

McCloud Hotel

Sage Restaurant

The White Mountain Cafe

McCloud Meat Market and Tavern

Siskiyou Brew Works

Floyd's Frosty


Lassen Volcanic National Park

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and exploring his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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