One Fine Stay home in Los Angeles

Our first time with One Fine Stay's home for LA - how did it go? (27 Jul - 2 Aug 2015)

It’s been a while since 2012 when I went to Los Angeles with Y, which was with her girlie bunch attending her good friend KK’s hen’s trip there. Fast forward 3 years later, we are here again in this sunny city which has great weather all year round and although I still love New York over LA, I was looking forward to just chilling in this lovely city. Once we arrived in LA from New York, we quickly adjourned to Hertz Car Rental near the LAX airport via the airport shuttle service to collect our car.

One tip is if you don’t want to wait at the car rental which can be a real pain like what I experienced in Provence, in the US, it pays to join the Hertz Gold Plus Membership. Our fellow main driver – SH is a member and he said it beats the queuing, and it’s true. We probably waited only 5 minutes and was shown the car – a big white Cadillac Escalade, which was huge enough to house 7 people. Y was the backup driver and she was quite excited to check out this white monster car which is seriously quite happening.

Me and SH in the groovy Cadillac Escalade.

After a quick stop at In & Out burger near the airport, we zipped down to our lovely home for the week in West Hollywood. Given there was such a large group of us – we needed 5 bedrooms coupled with a certain budget plus it was summer, it was not that easy to find nice homes through the various vacation rentals, but Y’s good friend YL who was tasked to trawl through the sites, finally found a pretty decent one from luxury vacation website – One Fine Stay. Their slogan – “the new way to stay in a city” curates well designed, stylish homes in cities such as New York, Paris to Los Angeles in their list for you to lease instead of the typical hotel. Think of it as a more exciting and luxe version of Air BnB. Also the good thing is they are the main key middle person that handles everything between the owner and the tourist leasing the home so the identities of both the owner and the renter are kept anonymous, which I think is better than the whole AirBnB arrangement personally. Plus they provide full concierge service such as helping with restaurant reservations, providing tips on city tours etc or anything else if we need help on.

First views of our home in West Hollywood.

Based on price point and location, our decision was unanimous when YL showed us a link to a home in West Hollywood. I loved especially how their website shows cool area maps of each city (see the West Hollywood here), as the whole proposition of One Fine Stay is to live like a local.

Our home for the week was located in West Hollywood area: Rugby Drive, 8570 Rugby Drive, West Hollywood, CA 90069. Price for the full week of 7 nights: S$11200 (about US$7900, inclusive of additional full maid service of US$380). We figured given there’s so many of us, it was best to arrange for an additional full maid service on top of the one time complimentary weekly maid service, in case we make the home too messy or dirty.

Master bedroom

Attached toilet to master BR.

The house is apparently a separate holiday home owned by a couple with young children, and they have designed it themselves given their love for design. The house has an interesting terracotta exterior enveloping a glass window. Once we walked in, we noticed it was pretty airy with fairly open spaces between the living and dining room. I loved especially the porch at the back which looked out to the small lap pool and garden where there was a nice outdoor lounge area for sitting around and a swing.

Yes, if you notice a green board on the coffee table in the living room – that’s dear friend – YW’s mobile mahjong table, an essential for these mahjong addicts especially given we had 2 Aunties that were with us for the trip. But anyhow, the house was pretty well equipped with a TV, and AppleTV – which is all we need to veg out with when we aren’t shopping in Melrose or Beverly Hills or pigging out in some restaurant.

Living area and the lap pool outside.

There was some downside to the place which was largely attributed to what they define as sleeping 10 and having 4 bedrooms inside the house. Upon closer look the actual bedrooms in the house was 3 – a master ensuite, a second smaller ensuite and a third ensuite which was more of a children’s room with a bunkbed. The so-called 4th bedroom was an area in the front of the house near the glass window which was a study, and can be ‘converted’ into a bedroom. To me this didn’t make any sense at all, when there’s not even a door and no curtains, like who would sleep here? To be honest, I had my suspicions on the actual number of bedrooms before the trip, and I was right!

My home for the week shared with Y and S.

So anyway, with only 3 rooms in the main house, we were wondering where we were gonna sleep. What was left outside was 2 converted rooms – an outhouse and a converted garage. So Y, fellow girl friend S, and me slept in the outhouse – a cute terracotta box located across the garden behind the main house. It was small but at least the air con was strong, as compared to the other garage converted room which SH slept in and had no air con at all, and we just asked for some drapes to block out some of the day sunlight. We also tried to refrain from drinking too much water at night, as the last thing we wanted to do was to trek across the garden to the main house to use the toilet. We decided given the price, we should make it work and stop complaining, and other than this glitch, it was pretty fun.

Making the most of the open space every morning.

In the mornings when we woke up like around 8 am (somehow we just wake up super early in LA), while Y goes about doing her exercise, I would be hanging out on the swing or by the pool just enjoying the sunny skies. It’s pretty chillax I have to say!

The great part about this location is the number of gyms nearby that Y loves such as Barry’s Bootcamp (1106 N La Cienega Blvd #104, West Hollywood, CA 90069) and SoulCycle (8570 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069). And for some strange reason, maybe it’s the sunny weather, jet lag or the number of hot bodies you can see in LA, it’s a natural motivation just to wake up and work out for Y, although I can’t say the same for me and the rest who rather just not do anything at all!

The best part about staying in a house with a decent sized kitchen is when we don’t feel like going out, there’s tons of options around the neighbourhood to get the best and freshest produce and cook up a storm, which is how we ended our last night in LA.

My favourite stops of course is Whole Foods Market  (7871 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood) and also we discovered this gourmet meat and fish grocers McCall’s Meat and Fish Co (2117 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027) which I highly recommend!

The domestic god and goddess in some of us managed to feed us quite well with a spread on our last night in the home – the freshest seafood medley with a wonderful lime spicy sauce, slow roasted beef, delicious potatoes cooked with kobe beef fat, hearty pastas, and rounding off with of course my favourite cakes from Sweet Lady Jane.

Indulging in the chocolate cake and the famous triple berry cake from Sweet Lady Jane.

Despite the not so ideal rooms we had at the start, we made the most out of the lodging and overall the house is pretty decent, concierge service is great- Lindsay was super helpful in booking the restaurants for us given it’s pretty challenging to be booking some of LA’s hottest restaurants for 10 people. If you have as many people as us, unless some of you don’t mind roughing it out, I think you could try booking some of the other lovely homes in LA.

One important improvement to the Rugby Drive house I think they can afford to do is to get blackout curtains for the spare makeshift rooms, it really makes a difference. Hope they take my advice soon on that!

Can’t leave LA without taking selfies next to very different Hollywood signs.

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