After the stressful week that I was having, an escape to relaxing retreat not far from the beach was just what I needed. Just driving there I could feel the layers of tension unravel. By the time I arrived I felt like I was about to attend a party. Now that’s a disposition that Shade is in good standing to accommodate. The staff that checked me in were casual, friendly and attentive. I got a clear impression that the staff were encouraged to have a good time while getting the job done. After all, fun is contagious right?
I noticed a bank of cruiser bikes out front when I arrived and initially I thought I would just drop my bag in my room and get to know the town by pedal. Once I stepped into the room, my plans changed and I knew that bike ride was going to have to be delayed a bit in order to take in my room. While I wouldn’t say the room was small, it was slightly smaller than I expected. However, there was ample comfort and amenities.
There’s not a way I know of to have a Jacuzzi in my room and not immediately jump in. As I waited for the water level to rise, I made myself a nice cocktail. My mini-bar had top shelf liquors in abundance, the party continues. One thing that was odd to me was the fact that there were no glasses in my room. There was a laminated sign stating an apology for not having them too, curious. Luckily, the survivor in me can adapt when needed and use a coffee cup for cocktails.
Saturdays tend to be the one day a week where I actually get a full nights rest. So in anticipation, I checked out the bed, which was attractively accompanied by a thick dark wood over-bed table. This table screamed to hold my breakfast in bed or a lap top while I wrote into the night. Touches like this really get me. The bed was a tempur-pedic which if you haven’t slept on, beware; you could go home and render your current bed as comfortable as a pallet. The top of the bed had about 8 tempur-pedic pillows so one could burrow into a nest of them as needed, for me, just one.
With water levels where I wanted, I sunk into the hot water and let the jets work their magic. With drink in hand and troubles far behind, Shade did a speedy job of getting me to a point of near serenity. What kept me from being at total serenity you ask? I must admit, it’s the fact that I can’t stay in one place for too long. That and I knew that I should be taking advantage of daylight hours to cycle around town and a few miles on the beach.
Checking out a bike was as easy as giving a nod to the valet outside. Like internet access in my room, use of the bikes was free too. In the days where hotels usually charge you everything they can, it was really nice to know to see something so fun cost nothing. I made a few runs North and South parallel to the beach to check out the town dropping down a steep block West one at a time to cruise along the beach. There’s something so nice about riding a bike along the beach, cliché as it may sound, I could ride all day.
On this day, I didn’t have all day; I was meeting a friend for dinner at Zinc, the house restaurant at Shade. To see how that went, click here
After dinner, there was something of a party going on in the bar. I made my way through and back to my room. There I had another drink, wrote a bit and saw some more bubble time in the hot tub before drifting off to sleep. There was a nice mix of productive and ultra-comfortable that I really liked about my room.
I am blessed with the ability to swap sleep quantity for sleep quality. After five hours of sleeping in my bed I woke up completely rested. I hit the go button on my personal espresso maker and told the shower my preferred water temperature.
Clean and caffeinated I headed for the lobby to check out the breakfast that several members of the staff reminded me not to miss. Upon the bar was a bevy of breakfast staples. I helped myself to a bit of oatmeal as a buxom man who I knew had a passion for cooking asked me if he could make me anything special. I asked him if he wanted a challenge or a casual Sunday omelet and he confidently gestured, “give it to me.” Off the top of my head I rattled off, two eggs easy over crab with jalapeno, asparagus all over toast and while we’re at it, why not throw a nice hollandaise over it? He just shook his head as if he’d already made it. My man from the kitchen had every right to be confident. Asking for that combination of ingredients is begging for disappointment (and artificial or canned crab) in most places. This guy, nailed it, asparagus was just the right firmness, as was the toast that sat under the hollandaise that was made fresh for my order. What a fitting way to wrap up a visit that achieved high levels of comfort and indulgence.
1221 North Valley Drive
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-4778