From her favourites beaches to bars, designer boutiques, and Hollywood tours, Malaika Arora spills the beans on her love affair with Los Angeles. By Shikha Pushpan
T+L: What does travel mean to you?
Malaika: For me, travel is a way to relax, and clear the mind. It’s a way to break away from routine, learn about new cultures, meet different people, and experience their way of living. It makes me an aware world citizen.
T+L: What makes Los Angeles so special to you? Which are your favourite beaches?
Malaika: Los Angeles has a magnetic appeal that keeps drawing me in. I have been to the city many times, and I am yet to capture all the emotions it offers. Some of my favourite destinations are Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach. The Venice Boardwalk is another place I like to hangout at, mostly for its eclectic mix of rollerbladers, ice cream shops, funky boutiques, and street musicians. Manhattan Beach has a quaint bike path called The Strand that I really like. It is also the perfect spot for a game of volleyball with my girlfriends.
T+L: Your standout experiences from your last trip to Los Angeles.
Malaika: It was almost surreal taking the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, where I visited the sets of legendary movies like Casablanca, Jurassic Park, and the recent blockbuster La La Land. I also got a chance to see the sets of popular sitcoms like F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Another unforgettable experience was riding up Angels Flight, one of Los Angeles’s most historic landmarks. The funicular railway was also featured in La La Land, one of my favourite films in recent times.
T+L: Tell us about your shopping experience in LA.
Malaika: Abbot Kinney Boulevard has to be an absolute favourite. I discovered a picturesque coffee shop called Intelligentsia Coffee while strolling through the boulevard. I really love places adorned with different artforms; they have such a relaxing and stimulating effect. As far as shopping is concerned, I usually pick up funky accessories and jewellery from local boutiques. However, Westfield Century City comes highly recommended for a wholesome experience. The place was remodelled recently to include Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, as well as the West Coast’s first Eataly.
I checked out Eataly during my last trip with celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin as we went gourmet food shopping and gelato tasting.
T+L: Offbeat experiences for a first-timer in the city.
Malaika: I’m a big music buff, therefore exploring quaint shops selling vintage records is a must for me. If you, too, are a music lover, put Amoeba on your list to shop for everything from the ‘Top 40’ to the best in underground rock and hip-hop, soul, electronica, jazz, world music, roots music, and experimental music.
T+L: Suggest some gorgeous hotels for a staycation in LA?
Malaika: The Dream Hollywood, hands down! Its floor-to-ceiling windows are perfect for stargazing and viewing the iconic Hollywood sign. Beyond the huge lobby, a landscaped ‘publicalley’ links up eateries and nightlife spots. It also brings the world’s best block party to the doorstep. I enjoyed an intense workout session at the Gunnar Peterson Gym, the clientele of which includes Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, and Sofía Vergara!
T+L: What’s on the top of your travel bucket list?
Malaika: Israel, and I plan to tick that off very soon.
T+L: Who is your favourite travel companion?
Malaika: It has to be my son, Arhaan Khan. He always lends me a different perspective of the places we travel to.
T+L: Where are you headed off to next?
Malaika: I will be visiting Agra next, and plan to see the Taj Mahal. I also plan to gorge on the famous Agra ka petha and indulge in some local shopping in the city.
T+L: A local sport one must try while holidaying in LA?
Malaika: Surfing! You haven’t really experienced Los Angeles until you’ve tried your hand at surfing. And there’s no better place to be than the Surf Rider Beach in Malibu. The sandstone reefs here create the perfect break to help surfers jet down the coast as the waves roll in and begin to curl near the shore. The best part? You don’t have to be an experienced surfer to appreciate the art or the cool vibe on this beach.
T+L: LA is popular for its street art. Where do we find the most Instagrammable spots?
Malaika: The murals and street art in the Arts District provide the perfect backdrop for droolworthy Instagram pictures. It is fascinating to stroll through the creativity that spans generations here. I was amazed to learn that the world- famous ‘Angel Wings’ first appeared in the Arts District. Colette Miller, an LA-based artist, introduced the design to remind people that humans are the angels of Earth. I loved posing with the wings for my Instagram! Venice Beach has an interesting concept of Art Walls—visitors and locals are free to go there on weekends and paint. I wish to do that someday!