Valentine’s Day is again rapidly approaching, as it does, reminding us all of our sometimes fraught relationship with the holiday and all that it stands for. Nevertheless, a lovers’ escape does wonders, and doesn’t necessarily require a specific date on the calendar.
So whether you opt to fight the crowds for a coveted V-Day reservation, or simply need a little added romance in your life at some chosen point on the February calendar, we recently ran reconnaissance in Downtown LA to assemble a “sweep you off your feet” itinerary, one that will surely result in both of you making embarrassing googly eyes at one another across the breakfast table the next morning.
Stay: Hotel Figueroa
Located at the heart of it all, Hotel Figueroa is both Spanish Colonial dreamscape and fascinating feminist landmark. It originally opened in 1926 as a hotel designed specifically for women travelers, owned and operated by women. In fact, Maude Bouldin was the country’s first-ever female managing director in the hotel space.
In 2018, it underwent a $55M renovation, reviving the interior to its current modern splendor, while maintaining distinct elements from before, like the front marquis. A rotating exhibition of art, by mainly female artists, a cozy-yet-spacious hotel bar, live music, and a pool shaped like a coffin—hey, whatever you’re into!—serve as inspiration for exploring something new, and reveling in the romance of the past.
Drinks: Faith & Flower
Say it with opulence at Faith and Flower. The sprawling DTLA restaurant and bar feels both 17th Century Versailles and highly effective modern date night destination. We love it for a pre-dinner drink and nibbles, though the food is good enough to make a night of it. Their (limited edition) English Milk Punch is wonderful to share, and looks and tastes the part. Crab toast and foie gras also play well with a “tonight’s just getting started” vibe.
Do: The Theater at Ace Hotel
Romance has no calendar, but the The Theater at Ace Hotel does, and if planned correctly, you can organize a date night around a musical act, iconic film, or wild dance party. The interior architecture—an opulent 1920s former movie palace—alone is worth the price of admission. Coming up in February: Bat for Lashes (on Valentine’s Day!), Hannah Gadsby (comedian, world-wide inspiration, February 22), and The Bachelor Live on Stage (reality romance at its worst and best, February 28).
Dinner: Veranda at Hotel Figueroa
If you can barely drag yourselves out of the beautifully-appointed room at Hotel Figueroa, good news is you won’t have to go far to indulge in some exceptionally good dining. Veranda is located adjacent to the hotel pool, and the charming, plant-filled space serves popular Mexican/Latin dishes done next-level, thanks to Chef Adrian Garcia, who came to LA by way of Mexico City (and was formerly at Red O). While there is some familiarity to the menu, the food is creatively and thoughtfully prepared: queso fundido with chorizo, a daily rotation of tacos, enchiladas suizas covered in a creamy tomatillo sauce, and zesty Paloma cocktails will significantly fuel you up for a night of passion.
Breakfast: Grand Central Market
While nighttime calls for dimly lit abodes and inhibition-dulling libations, the morning after calls for a new kind of intimacy: having breakfast together. Take your special someone on a whirl through the sybaritic pleasures of Grand Central Market, where you’ll find the city’s best local flavors. G&B Coffee is there to properly caffeinate and revive; and for other morning-after favorites, we reco: Knead & Co. Pasta, Eggslut, and La Fruteria for fresh fruit with a kick of spice. There’s even a flower truck, for spontaneously botanical expressions of love. Kiss Kiss.