Introducing California

Whether you’re seeking beautiful beaches or stylish cities, a luxury break on the west coast has a little bit of everything. For true star treatment, head for LA’s world-renowned art galleries, exclusive boutiques and iconic sights. In San Francisco, hop on to a cable car as it trundles past Fisherman’s Wharf and up steep hills for spectacular views of the Golden Gate bridge. Or discover the mellow landscape of Napa Valley, dotted with world-class wineries and open-air spas – perfect for a spot of California dreaming. With some of the world's most charming boutique hotels, California offers the ulitmate in luxury travel. With some of the world's most charming boutique hotels, California is a luxury aficionado's paradise. 

Things to do

Try crisp sourdough with a bowl of cioppino – seafood stew – or ‘Crab Louie’ in warmer weather. These San Francisco staples are thought to have been around since the late 1800s. You’ll also find variations on Cobb salad on menus across the state. But don’t leave without a trip to one of Los Angeles’ hip sushi bars, home to the eponymous California Roll.

Napa Valley is a hub for viniculture in the US and there are over 400 wineries to sample. Most are family-owned, so a private tour offers a fascinating insight into the wine-growing heritage of the region. Many of California’s key cellars are clustered around St. Helena, and it’s here you can sample everything from smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir to crisp Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.

In California, the galleries are works of art in their own right. Escape to the Getty Center’s complex of white buildings overlooking Los Angeles. Or head to the beach and the exhibitions in Bergamot Art Station – a former railroad station in Santa Monica. In San Francisco, street art is a big part of the culture, so you needn’t look far to see cutting-edge works.  

Top Tip from SLH

To blend the best of the big cities with Californian countryside, plan a road trip through the state. The coastal road from San Francisco to LA skirts national parks and beautiful forests.