Pillow Talk: Between the Sheets of the Hotel June, Los Angeles

Hotel June is a breezy and bohemian slice of Californian cool
Hotel June is a breezy and bohemian slice of Californian cool | Courtesy of Hotel June, Los Angeles

After upscale stays in Santa Monica and San Francisco, Proper Hotels has opened a more budget-friendly (but no less stylish) base between the beach and LAX.

While Venice Beach hogs most of the coastal LA limelight, head a little further down Santa Monica Bay and you’ll hit lesser-known Playa del Rey. It’s a wonderfully chilled-out antidote to the urban hubbub, with its mellow seaside vibe and long stretch of laid-back coast. On this neighborhood’s eastern edge sits the Hotel June – an affordable spin-off from the Proper Hotels portfolio that’s a breezy and bohemian slice of Californian cool, complete with a Baja-inspired swim club, where you can knock back poolside oysters and small-batch tequila. What’s more, there’s still plenty to explore on your doorstep, using Hotel June as your base…

1. The Hotel June, Los Angeles


The chic retro-styled king guest room with city views at Hotel June, Los Angeles
Courtesy of Hotel June, Los Angeles

Despite its proximity to LAX, the June is anything but an airport hotel. A retro-minimalist aesthetic combines Californian nostalgia with hints of Mexicana to gorgeous effect. Perhaps to be expected from the group that brought us Proper Hotels in Austin, San Francisco and, indeed, LA. The heated pool and adjacent bar-restaurant form the vibey Caravan Swim Club, where you’ll want to linger – mezcal cocktail or nitro cold brew in hand. Crisp and stylish guest rooms all come with luxe bedding, wireless charging docks and Aesop products. Plane-spotters should request a top-floor suite, where you can watch the runways through noise-canceling windows.

2. Marina Beach

Natural Feature

As well as the long stretch of Playa del Rey a short hop away, you have this small sheltered cove surrounded by yacht-studded Marina del Rey. It’s tucked away from the open ocean, so the water is usually glass-like calm and ideal for water sports – paddleboards and kayaks are available to rent. Also known as Mother’s Beach, conditions are great for the little ones, and there’s a playground right on the sand.

3. Cinco

Restaurant, Mexican

A plate of delicious pork tacos at Cinco in Los Angeles
© RocksterWho

Just steps from the Hotel June, Cinco is a spacious contemporary cantina-style joint serving top-notch Mexican cooking. Reserve yourself a cushioned booth and settle into an evening of delicious Oaxacan dishes like queso fundido and mole negro with some kick-ass cocktails. They have literally dozens of mezcals to choose from, as well as featuring a rotating list of top locally brewed beers. There’s a great weekend brunch menu as well, plus happy-hour deals on food and drink.

4. Dock 52

Architectural Landmark

Marina del Rey with boats
© Plaplusha / Depositphotos.com

If you’re keen to get out onto the water, head to Dock 52 and book yourself a boat trip. While sports fishing is a popular option, if you’d rather not interfere with the marine life, you can arrange a whale-watching and nature cruise. Although you’re not guaranteed to see any of the several varieties of migratory whales, there are usually plenty of sea lions, dolphins and pelicans to be spotted off the coast.

5. Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

Natural Feature

A Great Blue Heron walks through the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve
© Sprokop / Depositphotos.com

You won’t find many swathes of undeveloped natural habitat in LA, but the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is one such place. It’s actually the last remaining coastal wetland in Los Angeles County, with a combination of salt and freshwater marshes, nature trails and uplands. It’s home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles and mammals, so don’t forget to grab some binoculars before you go. Organized and self-guided tours are available.

6. The Shack

Restaurant, American

A tasty bacon avocado cheeseburger with fries at the Shack in Playa del Rey
Courtesy of the Shack

With over 45 years serving up their legendary burgers to westside Angelenos, the Shack is an instantly recognizable restaurant just a block from the beach. Its dive-bar vibe hasn’t changed since the Seventies, and the same could be said for some of its more loyal clientele. Regular deals, fiestas and karaoke nights mix things up, but it’s the hometown feel, friendly service and low prices that keep customers coming back for more.

7. Fisherman’s Village

Architectural Landmark

The picturesque row of colorful buildings of Fishermans Village in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles
© Etherlore / Flickr

Fisherman’s Village offers up quaint waterside restaurants, boardwalk shopping and numerous on-the-water activities. Its neat row of brightly colored buildings emulate a New England fishing village, with a whitewashed lighthouse standing in the midst. You can rent all kinds of seafaring gear, from jet skis to paddleboards; book yourself on board a luxury boat for dining cruises, or even take to the skies with a spot of parasailing.

8. The Forum

Music Venue

Exterior view of the iconic Forum arena in Inglewood, Los Angeles
© David Swinney / Flickr

Over in neighboring Inglewood, the Forum looms up like a sleek contemporary take on the Roman Colosseum. The iconic venue hosts the biggest names in show business and is the only arena-sized venue in the country completely dedicated to live music and entertainment. An outdoor wraparound terrace offers comfy seating and loads of food stalls, while indoors a tinted glass wall separates more eating and drinking options from the arena, ensuring you don’t have to miss a moment of the show.

9. Campsurf


A woman surfer holds her board as she surveys the surf
© Kireyonok / Depositphotos.com

Cycle along the seafront to Manhattan Beach and you’ll find Campsurf, whose goal it is to make California’s preordained pastime fun and safe for all. Set up in 1998 by LA County lifeguard and keen surfer, Jimmy Miller, who loved traveling the world from Tahiti to Fiji, Bali to Australia, it’s now run by a team of pros, some hailing from Hawaii, others who describe themselves as “part walrus.” Though it may take you a while to master their skills, they do offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes here, as well as kids classes and longer surf camps.

10. Sweat Yoga Manhattan Beach

Yoga Studio

A group in the same yoga pose in a modern studio
© AllaSerebrina / Depositphotos.com

Surfing not your thing? Also in Manhattan Beach is Sweat Yoga, which offers drop-in classes of a more athletic style of yoga, heated to 100F (37C), with great music always in residence, as well as more chilled-out, restorative sessions, such as candlelight yin. They also run one-off classes themed around ’90s hip hip or dosed with CBD. If you don’t feel like an LA local after that, you may need a sound bath. Which, happily, they also do…

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