I recently travelled to Newport Beach, California, Reno, Nevada , Lake Tahoe on the border of Nevada and California, and San Francisco.
I was fortunate enough to fly to Orange County John Wayne Airport (which is only 1 hour and 10 minutes south of Los Angeles. The reason why I said I was fortunate enough was because it was a far more pleasant alternative than flying to Los Angeles where the customs and emigration procedures on arrival can take up to 2 hours. My flight involved a change of planes in New York which was very quick and efficient and having cleared customs and emigration in New York, left me to leave the terminal at Orange County in 20 minutes as I did not to do it again.
Upon arrival I drove to Newport Beach (which only took me 20 minutes) I arrived at my destination the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach hotel where I was greeted by really friendly staff. The hotel was amazing with big and spacious rooms, beautiful gardens, 3 swimming pools and a wonderful breakfast and wonderful food (with generous portions) that you come to expect in America.
The hotel is in a superb location, only 10 minutes walking from the sea, it has a beautiful harbour where you can go for a boat tour and experience the beautiful houses by the waterfront of the rich and famous, the fabulous yachts with the amazing scenery, watch the dolphins and sea lions and experience the beautiful sandy beaches of California.
After spending 2 days in the wonderful Pacific coast of California, I flew to Reno (Nevada) which was only 1 hour flight away from Los Angeles.
When I arrived in Reno I drove straight to Lake Tahoe which only took me 1 hour and 10 minutes and when I arrived I was immersed in a mystical place. Lake Tahoe is breathtaking with its mountains covered in snow, the beautiful Lake and its pristine shores, waterfalls etc…
If you like the outdoors this is the place for you , there are lots of activities to do. From speed boat rides, windsurfing, stand-up paddle, fishing, cycling tours, beautiful hikes by the breath taking shores, and above all, skiing and snowboarding. In short, there is something for everyone to do!
The local residents were very friendly and accommodating which made my 3 days stays in Lake Tahoe magical.
I was happy to stay at the Squaw Valley Lodge which is an apartment complex (the kind of beautiful Mountain retreat that you would imagine) with beautiful and spacious 2 bedrooms apartment fully furnished, with washing machines, fully equipped kitchens, plasma TVs, in fact just perfect for everyone to spend 1 or 2 weeks on a self-catering basis.
San Francisco speaks for itself really. A vibrant city with a with a European feel.
A visit to Alcatraz Island, the famous prison where Al Capone and some of the most notorious criminal in the USA have spent time is a must. I also went on a fabulous drive on the famous cable cars (the iconic symbol of San Francisco) around town, did a 12 mile cycling tour from Fisherman’s Wharf through the famous Golden Gate bridge up to the other side to the wonderful village of Sausalito before taking the 30 minutes ferry crossing across the San Francisco bay back to town. Truly exhilarating !
In San Francisco, I stayed at the 4 star hotel Scarlet Huntington in Nob Hill. It is actually (in my view) the best area to stay in San Francisco, better than Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf which are fine, but do not have the charm and the historical interest of Nob Hill. The hotel was absolutely amazing. The rooms were huge (the size of my apartment in London – no joke) with a beautiful appointed spa and swimming pool and impeccable service with a delightful bar/restaurant where they serve a breakfast in the morning to die for.
A trip of a lifetime, amazing!