Happy New Year! First Week of 2018 in Review

I waited a week to wish you all a happy new year because I was gone for much of December and I returned with a terrible cold that turned into bronchitis. My usual happy energy was muted during the first week of the year.

The good news about that is that on New Year’s Eve I visited the urgent care in Westlake Village and discover that it was a pretty great resource for a holiday Sunday. So, add that place to my list of recommendations.

On that same day, my husband and I finally got a car that belongs in this century, and we bought it at Honda of Thousand Oaks, which is another place I would recommend.

I had to work during the week, and that took all of my energy, so every day I came home and passed out. Except for Wednesday, when I attended a read-through of LVUSD’s benefit play that will happen on February 24 at Agoura High School. It’s all original works written, directed, and performed by school district staff and families and students. Again, I recommend.

Yesterday I finally headed outside to watch the kids play flag football in the new league started by the head coach of the Agoura Chargers. They had fun and it was such a gorgeous day!

And to round out the week, the whole family went to Yamato last night for the first time since we moved here 7.5 years ago. The hibachi dinner was part meal, part show. We had so much fun. Definitely worth an indulgence every now and then.

So for a week when I thought I didn’t have anything to contribute, it turns out I had some things to share with you after all. Imagine what it will be like when I truly kick this cold! Here’s to 2018. Cheers!

Let It Snow Ticket Giveaway

let it snow flurryLet It Snow is back at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, with its magical holiday delights. Ticket sales are closed without a hotel stay, but you can win a set of four tickets here!

If you have a child and live in The Bubble, you’ve probably heard about Let It Snow, one of our area’s loveliest holiday season traditions. The Four Seasons Westlake Village hosts this magical event every year: on the weekends, their outdoor area transforms into a snowy delight, featuring Santa and Mrs. Santa Claus, regular “snowstorms,” a hot chocolate bar, a s’mores fire pit experience, cookie decorating, and, new this year, North Pole bounce houses!

let it snow feel good

People gather with their children at the Lookout at the Four Seasons, which itself is decked out in holiday decorations, making you feel warm and welcome as soon as you step through the lobby doors.

let it snow christmas tree

let it snow minion

Once you check in to Let It Snow, you enter Holiday world! There is a train that takes the children around the back lot, which is peppered with holiday lights and scenes, and they might catch a glimpse of other holiday “celebrities.”

let it snow train ride

Food and beverages are available for purchase at the event (pretzels were popular with my kid this year); or make a reservation for dinner at Mercado and save 20% with your Let It Snow wristband.

let it snow happy kids

Seems amazing, right? The catch is that tickets are hard to get — keep your eyes out for Conejo Deals’ ticket offering every November. Once the deal is closed, the tickets are available if you are a guest at the Four Seasons hotel (which I highly recommend for a staycation indulgence, because it is the lap of luxury and the kids love it). Otherwise, you can enter this ticket giveaway and win four tickets to attend Let It Snow on one of its remaining dates!

Let It Snow
Four Seasons Westlake Village
2 Dole Dr
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Giveaway – Let It Snow Tickets!

I’m giving away four tickets to Let It Snow at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. Remaining dates are December 8, 9, 15, and 16. The event runs from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. (Kids 2 and under are free to enter so you don’t need a pass for them.) To enter, leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Thursday, December 7. One comment per person please. Additional entry available (each) if you “like” Agoura Hills Mom on Facebook or follow on Instagram, or join the new Moms of Agoura Hills Facebook group. (Just leave a note in your comment with your Facebook name and/or Insta handle to qualify – that’s 3 possible extra entries!) Winner will be chosen at random from qualifying entries. Winner will be notified via email on Friday morning, December 8. Tickets will be held under the name given at the concierge desk at the hotel.

We attended Let It Snow as guests of the Four Seasons. All opinions are my own. Photos by Heidi Hohler.

Airport Hotel – Begin Your Adventure at Hyatt Regency LAX

airport hotel pool
Take It Easy Before You Begin Your Next Adventure

I fly out of LAX quite often. Let’s be honest: I prefer Burbank, like everyone else in the area, because it’s smaller and friendlier. But for the trip in this story, I had to fly out of LAX because I was going to Cancun. My flight left in the morning, and I didn’t want to get up before the sun to fight through traffic to be on time (3 hours before the flight time, according to the airline’s website), so for the first time in my life, I booked a hotel room at the airport for the night before.

airport hotel hyatt lax exterior

I used to think that was for divas. But I’ve been beaten down by traffic, airport traffic in particular. The Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has recently undergone a renovation, and their whole situation seemed inviting: location, decor, food, parking. I decided to do it – stay at an airport hotel the night before my flight.

I was not disappointed. Even though the Hyatt Regency LAX is basically adjacent to the airport, once you are inside you don’t hear the flight noise. You can enjoy views of the planes taking off and landing. You can lounge by the pool, enjoy a tasty cocktail, and indulge in a delicious dinner that celebrates the unique cuisines of Los Angeles. And if you’re lucky, the events held in the hotel’s spacious ballrooms will be full of personality, like the one that happened on the night I was there: urban line dancing! People had come from all over the country to celebrate and dance together, and they wore special bright green shirts, so you couldn’t miss them. Their joy was infectious, and although I was there to relax and rest up for my flight in the morning, I couldn’t help but be caught up in it.

airport hotel line dancing event

In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t join them!

Because of its location and relationship with travelers, this Hyatt property is a way station for airline employees and passengers from all over the world. The recent renovation has modernized the look of the lobby and all of its rooms. One design detail I particularly enjoyed was the orb, which I spotted in multiple places:

hyatt regency lax lobby

Start Your Vacation a Day Early

Checking in to the Hyatt Regency LAX, I felt like my vacation was beginning early. I was away from my home and its ever-present need for attention. (Laundry: fold me! Floors: wash me! Cat: feed me! And so on…) My room at the Hyatt was spacious and tastefully decorated with a minimalist modern theme. All 580 rooms at this property have been updated, and there’s plenty of space in the king bed room for a family, with a pull out bed in the living room area. A fridge, breakfast bar, and sink are handy to have for snacks (microwaves are available downstairs in the Unity Cafe area for guests to use, to keep food smells out of the rooms). The bathroom’s design was sleek and minimalist too, although its functionality may have suffered: my shower door would not stay closed, and the sink is mostly basin, less room for all my toiletries.

airport hotel room lounge

The room was equipped with a super-fancy illy espresso maker, which will probably delight many guests. I prefer giant steaming cauldrons of hot American coffee, which was easy to get downstairs at the cafe at unity LA.

The best feature of the room was the bed, hands down. It was firm yet soft, just the way I like it, and so inviting. How nice to wake up and think only about getting my coffee, and getting downstairs to the shuttle pick-up on time, versus worrying about getting out my door without cat hair all over my clothes, and fighting through traffic for an hour and a half or more.

airport hotel room

Each of the 580 rooms is newly remodeled in a minimalist, soothing style

Start Vacation-Eating, Too

Isn’t that why we go on vacation in the first place? To eat food in different places? Okay, there are more reasons…and if you’re traveling for work this probably gets old. But the Hyatt Regency LAX has so many great choices, you can eat healthy or you can indulge, or both!

First, unity bar has giant-screen TVs so you can watch sports while you sample their delicious cocktails and bar dishes. Next door, unity cafe serves everything from coffee to gelato to freshly made cheesecake.

And just beyond that is unity la, a full-service restaurant, which offers dishes inspired by the ethnic cuisines of Los Angeles. If you’re just passing through yown and you don’t have enough time to head to, say, Thai Town, well, you can have the Thai drunken noodles right here.

airport hotel hyatt lax unity la

airport hotel hominy salad

You can taste Boyle Heights in the charred corn salad. Have a Venice-inspired coco-tini and drink in the flavors of the beach. The service here is excellent and you will not wait for more than 3 seconds if you need something, because a server is standing by at all times, making diners feel like they have personal butlers!

airport hotel hyatt lax food

Clockwise from top left: spicy margarita, Brandt Farms steak frites, papaya salad and Venice cocotini, dessert, drunken noodles with chicken 

After a delicious meal, it was so nice to wander outside and watch the urban line dancers from the quiet darkness of the pool, where outdoor orbs were lit from within and provided accent lighting. If I was the working-out type, I might have woken extra early or made time before dinner to visit the 24-hour gym. Water and towels (dry AND chilled) are provided and all guests have access. The cardio machines are lined up facing the runways, so you can watch the air traffic as you chug along on a treadmill. You wouldn’t even know it was an aiport hotel, except that the view from the gym of the planes landing at night is especially enchanting.

Convenient Parking and Shuttle

I know, all that other stuff is great, but what about parking? With parking at a premium around LAX, that is a serious question. Valet parking at Hyatt Regency LAX is $44 per night. That’s not in my budget (I’d be leaving my car for a total of 4 nights) but there is a QuikPark business that shares the property. The shuttle picks you up right at the back door of the hotel. It is quick (like the name) and easy and the shuttles are clean and modern. Helpful drivers carry and stack your bags. When I returned, I walked out of baggage claim and a QuikPark/Hyatt shuttle was right there. That was probably a coincidence, but it left me with a great impression of how easy it is to park there. It’s only $12.95 a night for self-parking (plus some small fees).

Special Guest Star

Here’s something new: I was also lucky enough to meet Sir Hyatt, the hotel’s dog in residence. When the hotel was undergoing its remodel, the security team adopted this adorable little guy, and now he lives there and serves as the Hotel Ambassador. During my stay I watched him delight children and adults alike. I’m told his favorite hangout spot is by the pool cabanas.

Well, folks, now I’m spoiled. I don’t have immediate plans to fly out of LAX again soon, but it will happen for sure, since I go back east to visit family at least once a year. When I do, I will not be able to compare any other trip to this one, since I was calm and on time because of a night at a relaxing aiport hotel: Hyatt Regency LAX. I am even considering staying there again just for attending events on that side of town. Why drive all the way back to the bubble when you can just slip into a lovely, comfortable room that doesn’t have your laundry and chores waiting for you?

Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport
6225 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Reservations: (424) 702-1234
$169 to $ 249.00. Suites start at $199.00. Guest room rate plans vary according to seasonality.