Each month we share five unmissable things to see and do in the Golden State. You heard it here first.



A Desert Motel Makeover to Delight the Senses

PHOTO: Matt Kisiday.

Palm Springs is the California capital of the motel makeover, with scores of style-minded developers swooping in to turn dilapidated HoJos into Insta-worthy hideaways. The latest arrival to the South Palm Canyon Drive neighborhood: Life House, which is helmed by hospitality disruptor Rami Zeidan, whose growing portfolio includes five Life House–branded hotels in vacation spots including Nantucket, Miami, and the Berkshires. A fusion of Japanese design (think East Asian ceramic wall art and a Zen desert garden) and Hollywood Regency (such as the geometric patterns and the House of Hackney floral wallpaper), the new property boasts 66 guest rooms accessed along open-air corridors facing the towering desert hills. The all-day, plant-forward restaurant and bar concept, Minerva’s, also features a pool house with cabanas and a shaded garden where guests can stargaze by the firepits. 1700 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, 833-938-2822; lifehousehotels.com.

A Hip Parisian Fashion Brand Brings Its Café Concept to L.A.

Since Maison Kitsuné opened its shop on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake two years ago, the edgy Franco-Japanese outfit led by cofounders Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki has been a staple for east side hipsters in search of finely tailored streetwear. Originally founded as a record label, the brand is now doubling down in Los Angeles with the opening of Café Kitsuné next door to the boutique. San Francisco–based artist Jeffrey Sincich was charged with creating a mural inside and the signage out front, and the menu is equally reflective of the brand’s global appeal. Expect to find everything from French café favorites like the Parisian baguette with ham, comté, and sweet butter to Japanese-style surprises including a kimchi and spam musubi croissant. Among the variety of confections on offer, there’s a fox-shaped sable cookie developed with L.A. native and French-trained chef Sharon Wang of Sugarbloom Bakery — the name Kitsuné, after all, is also the Japanese word for fox. 3814 W. Sunset Blvd., 323-407-6433; maisonkitsune.com.

One of New York’s Iconic Image-Makers Lands at the Getty

Fragrance. Art Deco, 1984. © Sheila Metzner. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Sheila Metzner wasn’t content with being the first female art director at one of New York’s biggest ad agencies in the 1960s. While working full time and raising five children, she decided to take up photography and taught herself how to use a camera, develop negatives, and make prints. After a decade of practice, she was offered her first solo exhibition and was invited to participate in the group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which catapulted her career to the next level. Subsequently she regularly worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue and quickly established a list of top design and beauty brands including Chanel, Elizabeth Arden, Fendi, Ralph Lauren, Shiseido, and Valentino. This month, the Getty Center debuts Sheila Metzner: From Life, showcasing the photographer’s soft, painterly images that are famous for their formal compositions of light and shadow at the intersection of fine art and high fashion. Through February 18, 2024. 1200 Getty Center Dr., 310-440-7300; getty.edu.

Vintage Charm and Modern Flair Collide at This Expanded Jewelry Boutique

LEFT: CARMEL bracelet. RIGHT: Forte beads.

Behind rows of trimmed boxwood and a charming Rolex post clock out front, Fourtané’s unassuming cottage in Carmel, which has been in operation for more than 70 years, is a treasure trove of high-end finery. It already boasts the jewelers Roberto Coin, Mikimoto, Simon G., Robert, Procop, and Geoffrey Good as well as watchmakers including Patek Philippe and Rolex, plus vintage and estate jewelry. Now husband-and-wife owners John and Sandy Bonifas are opening a new flagship dedicated exclusively to jewelry on Carmel’s iconic Ocean Avenue. The new two-story building, designed by Swiss firm Studio Tonic, welcomes two coveted European brands: Messika and Carolina Bucci, the latter of which is opening its first stateside shop-in-shop inside the new location. “[It’s] the product of a more than six-year conversation,” explains Florence-based Bucci. Here shoppers can create their own colorful customized Forte bracelets from jars of loose beads or pick up one of the exclusive pieces of arm candy Bucci created for the shop, including a bracelet sporting the word CARMEL in gradated rainbow gemstones. 3 Ocean Ave. at Lincoln St., Carmel, 831-624-4684; fourtane.com.

Fifty Years On, a Napa Winery Is Reimagined

Half a century ago, sparkling wine pioneer and former managing director of Moet & Chandon Count Robert-Jean de Vogüé landed in Napa Valley enamored by the terroir and its potential to produce quality sparkling wines akin to his beloved Champagne — which he purportedly drank every day. This month, to celebrate Domain Chandon’s golden anniversary in California, the LVMH-owned maison has reimagined its iconic Yountville property with the help of Taalman Architecture, marking the first renovation to the landmark space since it first opened in the 1970s. Gourmet picnics on the newly landscaped garden lawn or under a soaring sailcloth cabana await, as do more formal multicourse farm-to-table dinners under the main building’s signature barrel-shaped roofs. Menu highlights are brimming with local and seasonal bounty, from Tomales Bay mussels to Snake River Farm short rib and, of course, flutes of bubbly. Clink, clink. 1 California Dr., Yountville, 888-242-6366; chandon.com.


December 2023.

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