Spanish for "beautiful", the word "hermosa" describes this beachfront city in the South Bay region of Los Angeles perfectly. Hermosa Beach, California is a peaceful yet vibrant town of just under 20,000 residents, and I got to pretend I was one of them recently. As a Correspondent for The Black Tourist on instagram, I covered accommodations, attractions and adventure in the area. Follow me, as I take you on a tour through my experience.
I touched down at LAX on Friday 1/11/19, 9:30 a.m. PST, to 60°F weather and a bright outlook for a much needed getaway. I picked up my rental car and typed "Hotel Hermosa" into my MAPS. And in just a 12-minute ride, I pulled up to the Pacific Coast Highway and gasped at the beautiful castle-like monument poised on a hill, overlooking the ocean.
I was greeted by staff like a queen for an early check-in. The three-hour time change coming from Florida made me slightly disoriented, so I was delighted to be able to rest a moment before having plenty more daylight to explore.
I entered the elevator setting out for the third floor, and opened my room door to paradise. The sun reflected from the ocean up to greet me at my balcony. I inhaled it in and breathed out gratitude.
The design of the room-- the sofa's tribal vibe and the colorful art on the walls-- encased me like the reality of a daydream. Soft, natural light flickered up a silver staircase, gold lighting accents bounced off its reflection, inspiring an enormous smile that now spread across my face.
"Hallelujah!" my heart sang. "All this for me?" my mind humbly accepted. I stepped up each stair, spiraling to the greater heights of the loft. My favorite color turquoise caught my eyesight--jumping off the cushy pillows that lie across the bed. A furry brown throw added a funky, soulful, eclectic vibe, showing care for detail and oneness with my free spirit.
I followed more peeks of light to a side sliding door, and pulling back the curtain, my mouth fell agape. I emerged from inside to out, gliding toward the tuscan-style balcony and peeped over at a cascade of rooftops flowing downhill to the beach's edge.
Immediately, I took video to send to my mom. She would know how dreamy this setup greets my soul. And she did.
Hunger rang, and I opted to neglect any online recommendations in lieu of self discovery. People in the community will always tell you by the way they move, what's worth your investment. I wanted to use my senses-- seeing, smelling, feeling my way around, and I did-- following the flow of cars and pedestrians a few blocks away from the hotel down PCH, to Pier Avenue. I made a right on the ave, and circled around to Hermosa Beach Pier. I parked, fed the meter and walked around til I saw a vibrant place with an indoor/outdoor vibe, folks smiling while they ate.
I walked into Tower 12 and found a table aptly placed at the corner where the patio transitioned into a breezy indoor booth. The best of both worlds, I embraced this new city and the ambiance of its community, and ordered a sure thing-- a burger well done with a house salad and blue cheese. Never shying from the simplicity of what I like, I enjoyed the specialty of the restaurant's take on my meal.
Basking in the beach breeze, I found my car, drove through a den of vintage shops, eateries, nail boutiques and more.
Up a hill to Pacific Coast Highway, I cruised, and nearing Hotel Hermosa, I remembered the Salvation Army I passed on the way in. An avid thrift shopper, I chose this therapy as I acclamated to this new atmosphere. After hours of slowly sorting through gems of clothing, I walked away with a $60 bag of items, including a Christian Dior shirt (my first ever), a color blocked coat, a vintage red silk wrap dress, harem yoga pants you'll see in a photo below, and this cute top and skirt:
For dinner, I grabbed a roasted vegetable, grilled chicken and rice super bowl, plus a handcrafted soda at Rabano Foods across the street from the hotel. I retired to my room, threw on a bonnet and set my alarm to rise early for a morning hike I'd planned with Black Girls Trekkin'.
Waking up to a coastal sun, surrounded by blue waves blending in with the sky, is enough to make your first mood a smile.
No rush, I took my time packing all essentials, grabbed my backpack and headed for the first floor cafe Beach Eats. The breakfast tacos I ordered were gone in no time, I had my coffee, and I stored the "Corner Fruit Stand" snack for on-the-go eating later.
An hour drive away to Griffith Park in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA, I met up with Black Girls Trekkin. I met the founders of the group two years back in my first visit to LA and we stay in touch. Eight of us donned rain jackets and shared stories as we hiked 3.1 miles up to Glendale Peak. Bonding while conquering fears, we observed the natural beauty around us in awe as the sun came up and dried up all the rain.
A victory sealed in my conscience, I took my awakened confidence on a drive back to Hermosa Beach. Realizing the sun would set at 5 p.m., I visualized getting back in time, renting a bike from the hotel and taking it down the hill to the turquoise of the ocean. I made it, and walked the cruiser down the steepest parts of the slope before steering through guided paths in street gardens to Pier Avenue. I followed the lowering of the sun til my wheels found the shore. Peace rose as the sun fell.
I watched the colors change as the waves rolled. And I ebbed as night came, pedaling my way back to the hotel.
A Pizza Hut personal pan night-in soothed my hunger and allowed me to rest the aches of hiking and biking. Soon, I laid my head on the pillow of the bed, and melted into the softness of the cloud that held me til morning.
Following hours of sweet slumber, sunrise woke me, rested. I rose with restoration in my consciousness. My sights set on soothing sore muscles, I found solace submerging for 15 minutes in the hot tub.
After a shower and quick change, I took aim at Hotel Hermosa's Baja Yoga room. I walked in to a place of peace. A tall, slender window split the wall, giving gaze out through a garden to the ocean.
The purple and turquoise floor no doubt pleased my senses as my favorite colors. Serenity led me to my mat, and I practiced in privacy.
The natural light piercing into the windows creates a soft spotlight that gently calls your attention to your practice. As a yogi, I found this to be more than an accommodation but an experience.
With so much to do at Hotel Hermosa, I was pleased to get the most out of my morning before 11 a.m. check-out. And what a rejuvenating way to start off 2019!
If like me, you need a retreat to a place you can wander like a wildflower in safety and serenity, I'd say give Hermosa Beach a try. And if you want to experience it from a place that captures every angle of the ocean's best light, every essence of your travel pleasure, and every moment to serve your highest good, visit hotelhermosa.com.