Malibu native Jennifer Meyer uses her California surroundings as inspiration for her eponymous fine jewelry line, a whimsical collection carefree enough to wear with jeans and a t-shirt on the beach, but luxe enough to pair with a gown for the red carpet. When she's not sketching new designs in her Los Angeles studio, she's relaxing with her two kids in Malibu, or enjoying spa-like getaways in nearby Palm Springs or Big Sur. “My idea of luxury is pure relaxation and comfort. It's unpretentious even when you're being pampered,” she explains. Below, Meyer recommends five unexpected Golden State locales to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness California has to offer.
Ventana, Big Sur
Meyer recommends escaping to this Japanese-inspired luxury spa and resort for a dose of Zen—but not without someone special. “It's one of the most romantic places you will ever go in your life. You really want to go with someone you love,” she says. The sprawling 243-acre getaway tucked away in the woods of Big Sur provides breathtaking views of the surrounding woods and water, and its world-class spa offers hot stone massages—which Meyer is a fan of—revitalizing facials, Japanese hot baths, and an open-air pool.
Note: Ventana was affected by the Highway 1 road closures, so check its site for updates before visiting.
San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara
This Santa Barbara resort just off of Highway 101 is a home away from home, says Meyer: “You get these tiny house-type rooms and they write your name on the front in block letters and you feel like ‘this my place.’“ Located an hour flight past Malibu in the Montecito Hills, this classic bungalow-style luxury resort includes a spa, hiking trails, and two farm-to-table restaurants, each serving ingredients grown in the property's garden and wine from the surrounding wine country. Private and serene, San Ysidro Ranch has also hosted its fair share of celebrities—in fact, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy spent their honeymoon there. “You feel like you are far away, surrounded by trees and lavender,” says Meyer. “The cottages are cozy, yet luxurious. The food is incredible and you're in wine country, so you can't beat the wine.”
Meyer says the Polo Lounge is the ultimate Hollywood restaurant. “You feel like you're stepping into an old Hollywood set, but everyone feels young and excited to be there,” Meyer says. This iconic Beverly Hills eatery has served everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Miley Cyrus, and to this day remains a Hollywood power lunch spot for Tinseltown's most connected. Regulars order the steak tartare or the McCarthy Salad—the Polo Lounge's version of a traditional Cobb salad—and enjoy their meal while casting an eye towards the lounge's patio, where anyone from Steve Martin to Elton John could be dining. “It has the best drinks and best atmosphere, and always interesting people around,” Meyer says. “You can go there any time of day or night and it’s packed. And, everyone is enjoying themselves.”
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
The exhibitions at this popular Los Angeles museum keep both young and grown-up visitors entertained, according to Meyer. “I love a day at LACMA with my kids,” she says. “They always have so much fun, and it's inspiring for me to be around all of the amazing art in LACMA's collection.” With more than 150,000 pieces of work on site there's plenty to keep one's attention, but the popular Rain Room—the immersive, hypnotizing installation where visitors can walk through perpetually falling water—is one of LACMA's biggest attractions. “I took the kids to the Rain Room last fall,” Meyer said, “it was all laughing and smiles even though we got soaking wet!”
The luxurious Parker Palm Springs is where the jewelry designer and mother of two escapes for complete relaxation. “The architecture is great and it's the perfect place to sit by the pool and read,” she says. The 144-room resort is a hallmark of the desert town, and its 13-acre property includes three beautifully curated pools, rooms designed by Jonathan Adler and tennis, croquet, and petanque courts. Norma’s restaurant is a popular joint for breakfast, but if you're more focused on libations, Meyer reveals “there's a lemonade stand where they’re happy to spike your lemonade for you.” She often visits the property with girlfriends, though admits once the group has gathered, very little is on its itinerary: “You go, you lay by the pool, and do nothing.”
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