Where do celebs go to really get laid (back!)? Suddenly it's Manhattan Beach, not Malibu.
After dining at one of the hot/haute spots in town, head to the pier to catch the sun going down.
Star athletes have long been drawn to Manhattan Beach for its one-of-a-kind coastal-cool community vibe. These days, however, the small town known for its low-key luxury is attracting the original breed of A-listers—Hollywood!
Zooey Deschanel recently decamped from the Hollywood Hills to purchase a Cape Cod home in the beach town for $5.58 million, joining other Industry residents including actor Vincent Vaughn and power producer Chris Fenton (Blockers, Chappaquiddick). “Manhattan Beach is an amazing beach community—a place for families that’s not quite as posh as Malibu but has enough great restaurants and shops that you never have to leave,” says real estate agent Tami Pardee. While the highest-priced compounds are found on The Strand—the strip of oceanfront homes where locals descend daily for sunset drama—those coastal digs come with a considerable downside for the Hollywood set: little privacy. Almost all high-profile homeowners opt for the highly coveted Hill Section. “This is where you’ll find the ultraprivate, big, big homes,” says local real estate star Britt Austin. “There’s nothing under $3 million there, and lots in the $5 to $6 million range, and some way above that.”
A newly built house in MB’s coveted “Tree Section” (read: private!) just fetched $7 million.
In addition to attracting celebs and athletes, Manhattan Beach is also a magnet for “high-frying” chefs. Iron Chef David LeFevre’s restaurant M.B. Post (eatmbpost.com) has ridden the small-plates wave since it opened in 2011 and is still packed nightly, while The Izaka-Ya by Katsu-Ya (katsu-yagroup.com) brings high-end sushi to a flip-flops and shorts setting. Now, Sugarfish (sugarfishsushi.com), the celebrity-worshipped omakase-style sushi restaurant with locations in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, will roll out its next outpost in Manhattan Beach this year.
While Airbnb rentals are still a hot-button political topic in Manhattan Beach, a sprawling new resort offers stylish lodging without the hassle. Westdrift (westdrift.com) hotel has just opened, making it Manhattan Beach’s first resort-style luxury lodging. Yet despite the nine-hole golf course and sprawling conference areas, Westdrift channels beach-cum-urbane chic. Its lobby intentionally echoes the Manhattan Beach pier with massive wood pilings, while the indoor-outdoor eatery, Jute, overseen by SLS Bazaar’s Octavio Sabado, continues the city’s celeb-chef love affair.
A suite fit for royalty: The King Suites at the buzzy new Westdrift boast views of manicured golf greens and the blue Pacific.
Despite the fancy restaurants, one thing you won’t be able to get in Manhattan Beach in the near future is a plastic straw. The city council just voted unanimously to move ahead with a ban on all plastics—including single-use straws—and those eco leanings extend into other areas as well. H’wood honcho James Cameron and producer-partner Jon Landau recently gave their Lightstorm Entertainment studios a total environmental makeover. Overseen by interior designer Lynda Murray, the 100,000-square-foot MB film studio now includes bamboo finishes, a massive solar panel system and all-vegan menu in its dining area. According to Cameron, his goal was nothing less than to build “the greenest set in Hollywood.” Make that Hollywood, the sequel: Manhattan Beach!