This place is pretty exclusive; it's in Westlake Village, just outside Los Angeles and it takes a 25 year friendship with one of the owners to secure accommodation here .
Logistics: Getting there from England is quite challenging; we recommend a taxi to Heathrow and hoping to christ your flight isn't delayed by 4 hours like our was. This certainly made getting there... interesting - especially as it meant tackling rush hour traffic on the 101 after an 11 hour flight. Mind you, once you're there everything is very straightforward, as long as you avoid downtown LA (which I would recommend doing anyway).
Activities: There's a pool and a dog and the kids channel on Netflix. The kids were ecstatic. Our smallest wept when she realised she wouldn't be seeing Max, the gorgeous brown labrador, again. Max was very good at teaching our children to play fetch - they'd throw the ball, he'd look at them, they'd run to collect the ball - repeat for hours.
Playground: There's a pool and a dog - no playground required.
Coffee: The only good coffee we had in LA. Honestly.
Food: Absolutely delicious and the hosts were so relaxed and calm whilst serving up such varied masterpieces for us to enjoy. The lamb may have been a bit salty one night but I blame the shoddy cookery book (we gave them) for providing an inadequate level of instruction. Anyway, the saltiness was washed away with ample supplies of wine and beer. We were spoiled rotten and ate like kings. Catering so patiently and so excellently to the whims of our small children night after night means it's a ten out of ten rating from the Thompsons.
Grounds: The house is simply gorgeous. Elegantly decorated and full of space and light. We had lots of opportunities to eat al fresco and good use was made of the amazing BBQ station, complete with beer fridge. All of us found the beds super comfy and slept exceptionally well. I was very glad my kids don't seem to have trashed this beautiful house too badly - but again our hosts made us feel at ease and never worried about this. The location is stunning and the roses in the front garden meant coming home to a gorgeous scent every day. We all enjoyed being serenaded by mocking birds and watching the vultures and kites soaring in the sky above.
Overall: I appreciate that this place is only available to a very select guest list but it is definitely worth a visit if you make the cut. The Thompson family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to Chez Newport for making our holiday simply wonderful. Emma and John, thank you so much x