In early August, I finally kept my promise to visit my friends in Redondo Beach, and combine that with time spent with my most beloved members of my family. Being a big city girl, I suggested we try out the Portofino, which came highly recommended.
We arrived at the hotel and the friendly, delightful front desk staff made us feel so welcome, we felt as if we were coming to visit with old friends. The rooms we booked were changed to a higher floor, since there was a late cancellation, and the sweetie at the counter just offered, without us having to ask. She said I looked like the kind of girl who would appreciate the beauty that’s awaiting us. Boy, was she right!
The four-poster, gigantic beds in our rooms, stunning décor, working fire place (guess where I’ll go this coming winter) and the views…. Right on the ocean and the Marina, the smell of salt air mingling with the perfume of fresh clean sheets. Then I walked into the bathroom, and almost burst into tears of joy: the bathtubs had claw feet, the best, soft mega towel sets, and delicious, very high quality shampoos, soaps, lotions and hair conditioners.
We have been on the road for over 15 hours, counting the trip to and from the airports, plus the weather delay in NYC. All I wanted is a long soak and then right off to bed.
Emerging from the tub, fragrant and refreshed, I thought I died and went to heaven: the bed was huge, soft yet firm, the sheets and blankets and pillows so inviting and comfortable, I must say, the top luxury hotels worldwide don’t offer any better.
We asked for down pillows and comforters, and were told it was the norm: the best luxury furnishings are part of the package. If you are allergic to down, the Portofino has a high quality, non-allergenic version of both pillows and comforters.
Once in bed, tucked in and happy as can be, I finally had the wherewithal to look around me. Stunning decor, fresh and inviting even in the low lights of the bedside lamp.
I fell asleep mid conversation with my friend, planning to get together for the next day by the pool.
Waking up to the sound of the Pacific was a treat in itself, but if you add to that the colours of the room and the Marina right off the balcony, you can’t help but be in the best mood.
The high point was going down to the lobby and the adjoining sitting area, and seeing it in daylight. High palm trees in elegant planters accented the beauty of the pastel coloured walls and upholstery. The large picture windows had half drawn semi sheer curtains, through which one could stare at the beauty of the Marina and the turquoise-blue water.
My friends arrived and we decided to soak in the sights and explore, after a refreshing swim.
There is so much to do in Redondo Beach, aside from lounging by the pool. Scuba diving, a visit to the ancient ship ‘The Queen Mary’, water sports, an amazing beach and since Redondo Beach is like a serene paradise between Los Angeles and San Diego, a short trip will take you to see one of the world’s best zoos, the Old Town with its distinctive look, which reminds me of the original B/W film ‘Zorro’ with Tyron Power and Linda Christian, one of the best theatres in the US, The ‘Old Globe’ and breath-taking vistas during the ride. The next day’s destination was to drive North from Redondo Beach, and visit Hollywood, go surfing in Malibu and cover as much of Los Angeles as is possible in one day. Since the distance to L.A. is about 17 miles, with clear speedways making it seem next door, we could return again the day after, should we want to really explore the local colour: Shopping, Rodeo Drive, sightseeing in a city filled with exquisite mansions, Sunset Boulevard with its star-studded pavement, were all within a short drive.
At the end of each, we were full of excitement everyone had some favourite story (the San Diego zoo was a favourite with the little ones, as was Disney World in Anaheim).
And when we returned each night, peace and beauty awaited, and the humming sounds of the ocean lulled us to sleep. Enjoy, we certainly did!