Like, OMG It's the Sportsmen's Lodge

A Totally Rad Hotel in the Heart of the Valley

Photo courtesy of Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel, Facebook
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Your favorite movie is Valley Girl, you’re obsessed with Googie architecture, and you pine for the American suburban dream. It's no surprise you find yourself at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in the San Fernando Valley, whose kitschy tangerine and turquoise aesthetic whisks you straight back to 1962 (the year it was built), when Clark Gable used to fish at the trout lake next door, and Gilligan’s Island was the hottest show on TV.

Located about 15 minutes north of Hollywood off the 101 Freeway, the Sportsmen’s Lodge welcomes staycationers and out-of-towners in the know to check in for an under the radar escape that harkens to a simpler time - weekends involved Tiki cocktails, drive-thrus shaped like giant hot dogs, and waitresses on roller skates. In fact, the Sportsmen’s is a great place for a super relaxed, social media break—although the WiFi is excellent, for when you do decide to post some pics of your stay.

Patio Cafe at Sportsmen's Lodge
Patio Cafe | Photo courtesy of Sportsmen's Lodge

You wake up and head straight for the Patio Cafe, redone (along with the rest of the property) in 2009, where the menu’s playful take on TV dinners includes the Gilligan's Island (beer-battered fish and chips) and The Twilight Zone (eggplant-tofu lasagna). You admire the black and white photos of Hollywood greats such as John Wayne, Lauren Bacall and Lena Horne—all of whom once frequented the Sportmen’s.

Bustling Hollywood is a short car ride away, as are Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—but today, you’re more interested in the wonders of the San Fernando Valley, of which ether are many.

Assorted sashimi at Asanebo
Assorted sashimi | Photo courtesy of Asanebo, Facebook

First, this is sushi shangri-la. The stretch of Ventura Boulevard between Studio City and Tarzana is home to more great sushi joints than you can shake a chopstick at, so you just cruise down the road—preferably in a 1960s convertible—and take your pick. You love the omakase at Asanebo and the outrageous rolls at Teru Sushi and Iroha Sushi of Tokyo. When you’re sushi'ed out, you make a mental note to check out Ceremony, where Mexican, Cuban and European dishes are made and served from a VW bus.

Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve
Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve | Instagram by @jjaikishan

Afterwards, the mountains beckon. The Valley is surrounded by sprawling preserves and parklands where you pretend you’re in a sunny Middle Earth, like the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve—2,650 acres of of pure, heavenly natural beauty.

River Rock at Sportsmen's Lodge
Photo courtesy of River Rock at Sportsmen's Lodge, Facebook

You get back to the Sportsmen’s just in time for the poolside happy hour. Drinks are served by bartenders so friendly, it remind you that nights in the Valley are always a few degrees warmer, in more ways than one.

Sportsmen's Lodge
12825 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
91604 (800) 821-8511