Well Intentioned: A Chilled-Out Guide to Los Angeles

Relax by the rooftop pool at Pendry West Hollywood after a clay body wrap or yoga class
Relax by the rooftop pool at Pendry West Hollywood after a clay body wrap or yoga class | Courtesy of Pendry West Hollywood / Booking.com
Photo of Emma Sparks
9 September 2021

Steamy yoga studios and star-speckled green spaces pave the way for a calmer break in the clean-living City of Angels.

Wellness is a way of life in Los Angeles. Leisurewear-clad locals pinball between cult-like spin classes and HIIT sessions with a devotion most of us reserve only for ordering take-out, and many of the world’s clean-eating crazes took off right here – from cold-pressed juices to the keto diet. But among the fads and buzzwords, there’s ample opportunity to find truly healthy pastimes that will restore your sense of wellbeing. Here are some of the best ways to be cool, calm and collected in LA.

Pendry West Hollywood

4.6/5 (14 Reviews)
Pendry West Hollywood
Courtesy of Pendry West Hollywood / Booking.com
Price Drop
Now from $342 per night

The retro rooftop pool is the crowning glory of this glitzy hotel – extra refreshing after a yoga class or Peloton workout at the swanky fitness center. The next priority should be the spa. The turmeric enzyme facial and essential oil-infused clay body wrap will leave you looking and feeling like a Hollywood superstar. Show off your new-found glow at the Comedy Store just opposite on Sunset Boulevard for a laughter-induced endorphin kick.

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The Detox Market

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Despite the gimmicky name, this Santa Monica boutique is the real deal when it comes to planet-friendly, body-loving beauty products. All their wares have been through a rigorous testing process – so there’s not a paraben, sulfate or any other nasties to be found. Treat yourself to a scented candle, some organic tea or pillow mist. Your purchase will fund the owners’ eco-friendly efforts – they’ve planted over 600,000 trees and plan to reach 2.5 million by 2025.

Shape House

Gym, Fitness Studio
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Forget Netflix and chill, it’s time to Netflix and sweat. This so-called urban sweat lodge experience will see you spending one hour cocooned in a heated blanket on an infrared bed that rises to a temperature to 150F (65.5C), raising your core body temp as you catch up on the latest episodes of Too Hot to Handle. Benefits are said to include clearer skin, better sleep, more energy and a 36-hour metabolism boost.

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Hotel, Luxury
4.4/5 (151 Reviews)
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
Courtesy of Santa Monica Proper Hotel / Booking.com
Price Drop
Now from $524 per night

With regular rooftop yoga classes, plenty of Peloton kit and a poolside smoothie bar, a stay at Santa Monica Proper Hotel is the ultimate wellness retreat. Spend the morning surfing off Santa Monica’s broad sandy beach before heading to the Surya Spa, where you can enjoy a private, chakra-balancing sound bath followed by a four-hand massage and Shirodara – an Ayurvedic practice where oil is poured continuously onto your third eye (forehead) to soothe your nervous system.

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  • Sage Vegan Bistro

    Bistro, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dessert, $$$
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    Buffalo style barbecue cauliflower
    © Elena Veselova / Alamy Stock Photo
    Run by husband-and-wife team, Mollie and Elias, this microchain of plant-based restaurants celebrates local, seasonal produce, with most of it coming from their own organic farm, Sow a Heart. The Echo Park outlet is also home to an all female-run craft brewery – so you can enjoy a beer with your cauliflower buffalo wings and eggplant tacos. If your immune system needs some love, try the miso rainbow bowl, packed with feel-good ingredients such as seaweed, steamed kale and edamame.

    Griffith Park

    Museum, Park, Zoo
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    4 September 2016 - Los Angeles, USA. Famous Griffith Observatory museum building on the Hollywood Hills. Many tourists visiting planetarium with sceni
    © AndKa / Alamy Stock Photo
    One of the USA’s largest urban green spaces, Griffith Park is home to an expansive network of view-blessed hillside hiking trails. The Mount Hollywood trail rewards those willing to sweat with particularly good snapshots of the Hollywood sign. Don’t miss Griffith Observatory: its popular rooftop viewing platform gives you an impressive bird’s-eye view of LA, but you can also look skywards at the planetarium, using the free public telescopes to see the stars at night – a surefire way to put your everyday stresses into perspective.

    Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs

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    These aren’t just any fruit smoothies. Yes, some of the colors are a little odd – think jet black and baby blue – but the real magic behind these concoctions comes from the adaptogens within them. Ingredients such as goji berry, licorice root, turmeric and various species of mushroom help relieve stress, boost your mood and reduce fatigue. Already sold? Swing by the West Hollywood store to stock up on custom blends to take home.

    Y7 Studio

    Gym, Fitness Studio
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    Meghan Markle is said to be a fan of this sweaty, music-driven yoga style, where you’ll do your chaturangas to the likes of Lizzo and Lil Wayne in an infrared-heated studio, reaching up to 90F (32C). There are no mirrors, and lighting is limited to candles in order to minimize self-consciousness and encourage you to focus on the practice – which tends to be intense Vinyasa flow. Don’t forget your towel.

    These recommendations were updated on September 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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