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Trip List by Pressure_Drop

California dreamin' - Brits on once-in-a-lifetime roadtrip

7 Sep 2007  25th wedding anniversary treat - wanting to return to CA after nearly 30 years
4.0 of 5 stars based on 10 votes

Young at heart middle aged Brits wanting to see everything that California has to offer - all thanks to Tripadvisor

  • 1. The Georgian Hotel
    The Georgian Hotel, Santa Monica, California
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    Avg price: $387

    Cracking (and very blue!) art deco hotel right on Ocean Boulevard, small but perfectly formed rooms - worth paying the extra for a room at the front with a view over the huge beach and Pacific beyond. Great location in cool, funky Santa Monica, beats staying in grimy downtown LA anyday - Venice Beach and Marina del Rey just a bike ride away.

  • 2. Melisse
    Melisse, Santa Monica, California

    Posh fancy restaurant, booked it for our 25th wedding anniversary dinner, didn't disappoint but a tad pretentious for us unsophisticated Brits - nice if you want to impress the missus - pricey or what? Especially the drinks.

  • 3. Blue Sail Inn
    Blue Sail Inn, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County
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    Avg price: $197

    Took deliberate decision to stay in shall we say more 'downmarket' accommodation when we were staying only one night in locations - how wrong I was, this was NOT downmarket. Great motel just up from the Morro Bay 'Main' Street, what a great stopover on the way up north on Highway 1, huge room, very clean with a superb view of the famous Morro Rock. Morro Bay is 'quaint' but a real fishing village, atmospheric with the fog rolling in and great little restaurants - had clam chowder in Dorn's next door - superb. Whole village somehow reminded me of Hitchcock's 'The Birds' - don 't ask, you'll know when you get there!

  • 4. Big Sur
    Big Sur, California

    Everything surely has been already been said about this place - it doesn't disappoint. Julia Pfieffer Burns park with the waterfall on to the beach just stunning, winding roads that go on for ever - reminded me of Cornwall with the crashing surf but like everything in the States - much, much bigger

  • 5. Old Monterey Inn
    Old Monterey Inn, Monterey, Monterey Peninsula

    Just one word - 'Wow', go to the reviews you'll see what I mean, ignore the comments about the breakfasts, you're on holiday for crissakes! Everything a great American B&B should be, boy do they look after you - glass of Port or Cocoa and biscuits when you come in on the evening - sweet!! The Brits will love this place, especially the garden - and don't forget the rooms with open log fires - result!!

  • 6. Argonaut Hotel
    Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco, California
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    Avg price: $473

    It's on Fisherman's Wharf, it's bright, it's breezy, it's fun, it's friendly and it has the funkiest bathrobes you'll ever see - loved it!!

  • 7. Buena Vista Cafe
    Buena Vista Cafe, San Francisco, California

    The home of the original Irish coffee - watching them being made (several at a time) is almost as good as drinking them - especially on an all too common cold night in Fog City - just across from the Argonaut - great for breakfasts also

  • 8. Alcatraz
    Alcatraz, San Francisco, California

    This is an absolute must if you're visiting San Francisco - I last visited Fog City nearly 30 years ago and didn't have time to visit Alcatraz then so made up for it this time, if you can, go on the evening tour - very atmospheric, very poignant and very emotional, the prisoner's and the jailer's commentary give it a whole new dimension - do not miss it.

  • 9. Pelican Inn
    Pelican Inn, Muir Beach, California

    The word serendipity could have been made for this gem - I don't try and seek out 'British' pubs when I'm abroad, in fact I try to avoid them like the plague, but this place just begs you go to in and sample the atmosphere, the area with it's fog even looks like Dartmoor, darts, ham and cheese toasties, draught Bass - even Dry Blackthorn cider from Taunton, but I stuck with the wonderful Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We came across this pub accidentally - glad we did.

  • 10. Hotel Jeffery's Magnolia Saloon

    Serendipity strikes again! Having got lost on our way to Yosemite thanks to wayward GPS stumbled across this large imposing hotel in the middle of nowhere, built in 1849 and full of historical and not so historical knicknacks - great (late) lunch, superb award winning chili and cold refreshing Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - what more could you want?, oh yeah, a couple of welcoming loonies behind the bar!! (The rest of the small town warrants a visit also.)

  • 11. The Ahwahnee
    The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park, California
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    Avg price: $659

    Stay in this 80 year old beauty if you can, if not stay as close as possible and drink in the stunning beauty of Yosemite - the hotel is great, the national park is better, the park is possibly my favourite place in the USA - and we saw a bear! Pity the recent drought has resulted in many of the waterfalls and lakes drying up but it's still 'awesome' as you Yanks say.

  • 12. Stovepipe Wells Village
    Stovepipe Wells Village, Death Valley National Park, California

    A one night stopover in Death Valley to me doesn't warrant the expense of Furnace Creek - this motel, restaurant, bar and grocery store in the middle of the desert were just perfect - especially with a thunderstorm to the north, sandstorm to the east and rainbow to the south - oh and it's got a great swimming pool, not to mention the stunning nearby sand dunes. Death Valley - what a place! as alien to us Brits as having to give tips!

  • 13. Bellagio
    Bellagio Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Avg price: $390

    Vegas - do it large! Having said that, probably the least favourite place on our roadtrip - perhaps because it was Labor day weekend it was absolutely rammed. Brash, ballsy, cheesy and expensive - still it's got to be done - best bit? Bellagio fountains, especially when we had such a perfect view from our room. Worst bit? Crappy Monorail that dumped us a mile away from the Winn hotel with not a taxi in sight.

  • 14. Top of the World
    Top of the World Restaurant at the Stratosphere, Las Vegas, Nevada

    OK we went there for the views but the food and service were surprisingly good - the rest of the tower and casino looked dated and not in the best part of town, but believe me, worth visiting for the food alone and the service was superb and very attentive without being pushy, and those views - amazing!

  • 15. Grand Canyon National Park
    Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

    This place is so much more than a big whole in the ground - took the plane, helicopter, boat ride on the Colorado river option offered by Kings Airelines in Las Vegas - glad we did, took in the West rim including the new Sky Walk - incredible place, takes your breath away.