Los Angeles way of life entails glamour and splendour, within the movie star favoured metropolis | Journey Information | Journey
Saying that, it was clearly second nature to the immaculately-clad employee of the Beverley Wilshire Hotel in the heart of Los Angeles where we were lunching.
The BLVD is a stunning restaurant located on the ground floor of the property which was made even more famous when it was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster, “Pretty Woman”.
Despite the movie being more than a quarter-of-a-century hold it still clearly holds a dear place in the hotel’s history and the dress worn by its female lead, Julia Roberts is given pride of place in a glass case near the lobby.
After enjoying a fabulous lunch, settle yourself down in one of the super-soft sofas, grab a glass of fizz and soak up the incredible daily lifestyles of the inhabitants of this amazing city.
Los Angeles may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It is undeniably hectic, 100mph, glaringly materialistic and its seedy side is never too far away but do not let this put you off visiting.
From the iconic Hollywood sign to the Viper Room where actor, River Phoenix spent his final hours to the iconic date palm trees bracketing many of the roads, the images of LA which you have had engraved in your memory by the cinema and TV exist right here .
At the SkyBar located within the Mondrian Hotel on Sunset Boulevard you should not be surprised to find yourself standing along the likes of Kendal Jenner and Beyonce.
The week before we visited, rap star and music legend, Dr Dre. left a $5,000 tip for one of the waitresses – as you do!
Yes, it is achingly hip but a better place in the city to watch the sunset would be hard to find – make sure you book in advance, though!
Whether it be touring the Hollywood Hills visiting stars’ homes, catching a glimpse of someone whom you vaguely recognize but cannot immediately place or simply walking down the seemingly gold-paved streets, there really is something for everyone here.
But if you want a break from the incessant pace of the City of Angels, do what my wife, Lynn and I did and base yourself outside the center of LA.
Santa Monica is about 30 minutes’ drive – give or take the chaotic traffic – from Beverley Hills and provides a much more relaxed and laid-back location for the visitor.
We stayed at The Shore on Ocean Avenue and were fortunate to find ourselves checking into Room 333 which provided us with probably one of the finest views available anywhere on the west coast of the USA.
Simply but beautifully created, the luxury property is a minimalist retreat employing highly-attentive and friendly staff as well as offering an eye-catching pool area a well as a very handy personal taxi service.
The balcony allowed uninterrupted views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Thrilling glass slide atop Los Angeles highest skyscraper
Of a morning we watched as the taco vendors set up their food caravans whilst the beautiful people went through their daily exercise and tai-chi regimes.
At night, stood there with a glass of wine as the good folk of Santa Monica passed by, it was simple to lose yourself in the American Dream – imagine the Beachboys meeting the Eagles with a smattering of Sheryl Crow and you are getting there.
There is certainly not any shortage of top-quality hotels in Santa Monica but it would be hard to find one which ticks every single box the way The Shore does.
Turn left out of the foyer and within 50 yards you pass The Ivy which is frequented regularly by the likes of David and Victoria Beckham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Taylor Swift.
It is everything and more you have come to expect after years of watching American movies
Directly opposite across Ocean Avenue is the pier and the boardwalk from which you can take off your shoes and walk on the golden sands which first brought Pamela Anderson to our attention in “Baywatch”.
If the seemingly-incessant Californian sunshine becomes too much head back from the beach and within ten minutes you will find yourself on Third Street, a pedestrianized promenade where you wander past Mexican schoolchildren breaking a few moves or dreadlocked hippie-types strumming their guitars as small dogs walk on their hind legs in exchange for a few cents.
The shops maybe familiar to you, Foot Locker, Armani Exchange, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and Hollister but the prices will certainly be a pleasant surprise. Combine your visit with a public holiday and the extra reductions make it feel as if you are almost being given your purchases for free.
Celebrities frequent the streets, shops, and venues
Because of this, we had decided to make the most of our holiday by flying with British Airways and booking their World Traveler Plus service. As well as providing you and around 30 other passengers with their own cabin, you have more legroom and seating space but very importantly, the chance to check-in a second case providing you with a total of 51lbs of luggage – something which will prove extremely beneficial when you are trying to squeeze in all those new clothes as you pack to head home.
The near-11-hour flight can be tiring but World Traveler Plus certainly makes the journey much more pleasant and while it is an added expense, it is excellent value.
Regular connections from across Scotland to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 help smooth the journey and if you find yourself with several hours to spare in London, do what we did and book a table at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food where you can dine whilst enjoying panoramic views of hundreds of aircraft arriving and departing.
The memories from our visit to Calfornia will stay with us forever but one lesson that I have learned is that if your favorite restaurant lets your wife’s handbag remain on the floor by itself – it’s time to find a new favorite restaurant!
The Shore Hotel ticks off everything on your list of needs for a trip to LA
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