Healthy LA: Is it possible to have a healthy break in Los Angeles?
Published 18/09/2016 | 02:30
It's the body-conscious city that's produced thousands of food and fitness trends… Leslie Ann Horgan tries clean living in Los Angeles.
Set the mood
Could there be anything more healthy than sleeping in the gym?
Leave it to Los Angeles - the fame-hungry city where appearance is everything - to allow just that. A private members' club founded in 1880, the Los Angeles Athletic Club (above) combines state-of-the-art leisure facilities with a boutique hotel filled with sporting artefacts.
On each of the 12 floors, the doors of the lift open to reveal a new workout wonder: aerobics studios, squash courts, an art deco indoor pool and a basketball court with overhead running track that has to be seen to be believed.
Join energetic local Club members for a 6am yoga class, or spin session, or circuit training, or handball match, or cardio hip hop workout…
Sin City may be four hours away in Nevada, but any slip into immoral behaviour - such as my ordering of half-regular, half-sweet potato fries with my lunch - in LA makes you feel as though you need a trip to the confession box.
Add another decade of the Rosary to your penance by visiting the Arts District, where craft breweries nestle amongst colourful street murals. Angel City Brewery (angelcitybrewery.com) produces decent brews in a vast warehouse space. (Warning: here be hipsters.)
The adventurous can try the Salted Caramel Gose or an ale made with sriracha chillies that tastes something like liquid curry. Risk becoming a fallen angel as you run the gauntlet of food trucks outside.
We tend to think of LA as a bustling metropolis, but there's plenty of fresh air and big views to be found in the Hollywood Hills. Stretch your legs on a two-mile hike that takes in the Greek Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood sign and the stunning seismic landscape as seen from Mount Hollywood.
Download a free route map from discoverlosangeles.com or join a guided tour ($52/€46pp; bikesandhikesla.com) to hear the history of Tinseltown as you walk. Go morning or evenings to avoid the heat, and watch out for snakes!
Vegetarian food is to LA what pubs are to Ireland, so take the opportunity to dine in a city that offers veggies more than risotto. At Zinc Cafe on Sunset Boulevard (zinccafe.com), try cauliflower pizza or mushroom nut loaf washed down with a matcha green tea latte - or, indeed, a 'craft cocktail'.
Undoubtedly the biggest trend to come out of LA in recent years is juicing. Whether you're looking for a cleanse ($55/€49 a day), or a pep-me-up shot ($4/€3.55), the literally-named Juice Served Here (juiceservedhere.com) chain has 21 nutritious concoctions to chose from.
At the branch in the trendy Silver Lake area, I sipped an activated charcoal lemonade - surprisingly tasty - and quizzed our server about the celebs who'd stopped by that day.
For all LA's clean credentials, the grimy Downtown seems far from a healthy environment. The city is making strides in cleaning up the centre, but the beach towns of Santa Monica and Venice are a purer offering.
Get me there
Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies direct from Dublin to Los Angeles four times weekly, year-round. The airline's Great Escapes flight sale runs until September 26, and sees each-way fares for flights from November to March start from €259, including taxes and charges.
Business-class cabins (from €1,349 each way) have lie-flat seating and, depending on your preferred method of passing a long-haul flight, offer Wi-Fi and a selection of wines. US Customs pre-clearance can be completed at Dublin airport.
Rates at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (laachotel.com) start from $209 (€185) for a deluxe queen room. See discoverlosangeles.com.