by Carlos Melia
This weekend I came all the way from New York City to Los Angeles, California to spend less than 72 hours jet-setting along Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu. What a fantastic way to clear the air, only five hours and twenty one minutes away from Manhattan. Lots of wonderful experiences, and some not that great unfortunately, but hey this is travel, and my job is to report on all of them and to try them before you, to avoid your disappointment.
Here is a full summary of my visit to Los Angeles. To be honest I stayed away from Rodeo Drive, but was not able to avoid the classic photo at he Hollywood Sign. One of the things that surprised me the most was that the city looks very quiet after the sunset. You would think that Los Angeles, is the happening city of the United States, but a local friend told me something I think is quite true, most of the people living in LAX the go to bed very early to hit the gym in the morning before going to the castings… that is what happens in Hollywood. !!!”¨”¨
(flickr album ) My weekend in Los Angeles
Highlight of the Weekend
If you are looking for the most chic, trendy, sexy Sunday Brunch in the city of Los Angeles, right in the heart of Beverly Hills, then you must try the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The Polo Lounge has been the favorite breakfast spot and watering hole for generations of stars and Hollywood deal-makers. Guests enjoy indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and late-night suppers. Lunch and dinner are served with piano accompaniment alternating with light jazz on the patio during the long summer nights. Sunday Brunch from USD 67 x person including 3 steps plus a drink.”¨”¨
On your way to Malibu, do a stop at Getty Villa. If you want to experience a different day while in Los Angeles, at a beautiful Villa with gorgeous Gardens and Roman/Greek fountains, then Getty Villa Museum is an option to be consider, and guess what it is for FREE + Read More
Ride along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to Malibu Beach, and absorb the essence of this beautiful destination. Walk by the beach. Look at the surfers ride their waves. Stop at one of the many bars, restaurants and coffee houses. Enjoy a lovely sunset. Or just drive along and feel the wind in your face. Visit ZUMA Beach, where the hills meat the ocean. “¨”¨
MUST See and Do
Of course I had to visit the Hollywood Sign, an obligated visit when in Los Angeles, but this time I did it by the unbeaten path, by the expert advice of a local friend. Mulholand Drive and Ledgewood Drive, well not quite. Keep going straight till the end of the road, and there you will find yourself with only a few other lucky tourist right under the Hollywood Sign. + Read More
(video) Carlos Melia LIVE from Hollywood
Now that you are on Mulholland Drive, keep going and take the path of the famous film and enjoy the lovely 360 degree panoramic views of both Los Angeles City and the Valley.
Runyon Canyon Park
Doll up and go for a hike. One of the trendiest and best hikes you will find in Los Angeles, with beautiful panoramic views. Free daily yoga classes with professional instructors, your favorite celebrities and an atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. This seen-and-be-seen Hollywood hangout is filled with the most beautiful sights and people in the city of Los Angeles as well as unforgettable scenery guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime. “¨”¨
On Route 66 Lights
Presented by the city of West Hollywood in collaboration with The Museum of Neon Art. A guide to to vintage and contemporary NEON on Historic Route 66 and the Sunset Boulevard. Amongst the greatest symbols of Americana are Uncle Sam and the Route 66 Shield.
To be or not to be… GAY
Day on the Beach
If you are looking for a Gay beach hangout, then you might visit Muscle Beach to enjoy the views,… of the sunset and the Santa Monica Pier of course right…. or perhaps Will Rogers State Beach, also known as Ginger Rogers. ( Pacific Coast Highway and the intersection with West Channel Road ).
Afternoon OUT well the classics are still going, so it might have not changed much since the last time you were there. The Abbey, Cobra Country Bar, Fiesta Cantina, Akbar among a few others. West Hollywood still is the epicenter of it all. “¨”¨
L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Member of the Viceroy Hotels Group, right over one of the top zip codes in the United States, 90210 Beverly Hills. How will I say this, I spent there three nights, the day that I arrived I wasn’t too happy about it, the day I left I was fully in love with. From now on my member of my TOP 05 Hotels in Los Angeles without a doubt. Quiet, relax, sophisticated, exclusive and cozy, this are all the words I would use to describe this hotel. A huge Asian influence, lots of wood, and featuring the largest Beverly Hills accommodation starting with 675 square meters. A true Five Diamonds and Five Stars Hotel. Expect lots to gaze lots of celebrities, this is as much as I can share. Staff is beyond professional, friendly and welcoming. + Read More
During my visit I did site inspections of other nine properties at the destination. Some made the cut, and a few didn’t at all. But here is my TOP Five in priority order: The Peninsula Hotel, Montage, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, Bel Air Hotel and the Four Seasons Doheny. I must be fair and say that I was quite impressed by the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, but unfortunately the hotel was sold out and I was not able to see the rooms, reason why they are not included in this list.”¨”¨
Special notes: Four Seasons Doheny, best iPad Customer Services Experience system. This property is the Beta test property for the new online customer service system by Four Seasons and it was brilliant. Montage, 10 Pounds best Whiskey Bar, and I would risk to say the best Spa and Outdoor Pool in Los Angeles. “¨”¨
Last year on my previous visit to Los Angeles I also stayed at the Thompson Hotel Beverly Hills and had a lovely time. + Read More
Of course you want to gossip around and know who did not make the cut right. Well let’s say that I am not a big fan of Santa Monica or Venice Beach, or let me correct this, I would not stay in this area. The ones that didn’t make the cut were Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach. To me both properties looked tired and not with the right atmosphere of scene. “¨”¨
Restaurants and Bars
I tried several options both for lunch or dinner. Although as I mentioned above, the highlight was the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I was quite impressed by others and highly disappointed by one. Overall I found a big Italian-Mediterranean influence. “¨”¨
Modern Italian cuisine at the main floor of the Four Season Hotel Doheny. Indoor and outdoor space. Try the octopus and the selection of Crudos. (dinner)”¨”¨
A great stop in West Hollywood for those looking for the best fast salads or sandwiches. Multiple locations and very affordable prices. (lunch)”¨”¨
By Chef Scott Conant. Mediterranean inspired experience restaurant at the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills. Known to have some of the best spaghetties in the area. “¨”¨(dinner)
The only Southern California restaurant to win AAA Five Diamonds Awards for 17 consecutive years. Located at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. My favorite was the Risotto. “¨”¨(lunch)
Located in West Hollywood at the funky Sunset Marquis Hotel, by executive Chef Guillaume Burlion. Market fresh California cuisine. Ideal for a lunch or afternoon drinks with tapas. “¨”¨(lunch or cocktails)
Whiskey bar by the Montage Hotel. Named as one of the best Whiskey Bars in the entire world. £10 welcomes true connoisseurs to the lounge specializing in the world’s most precious whisky, The Macallan Single Malt, a globally celebrated distiller based in Speyside, Scotland.”¨”¨ (bar)
The biggest disappointment was Coast Santa Monica at Shutters on the Beach Hotel. Disorganized, unfriendly and average cuisine.”¨”¨”¨
How did I move around Los Angeles ?
Rent a car ?? What are you kidding me ha ha ha. I do not want to drive in this city. I much rather look over the window or play with my iPhone. Traffic is crazy in Los Angeles, so I booked the services of DIVA Limos, hey no games with the name please. They took great care of me during my whole stay. Always on time, professional knowledgeable drivers. Embracing new GPS technologies, keeping you safe and away from Los Angeles’ traffic issues. “¨ “¨
How did I get there?
There are multiple options to get to from/to JFK International Airport to/from Los Angeles , and probably my favorite is Virgin America, but this time I flew Business Class on United. It was quite a flight, and I must say that I the overall experience was not good. The basics are there, comfortable seat wide seat with 160 degrees. But the 757 fleat they have on this route are old, and not very well equipped. Small overhead bins, even in Business and First Class. Basic individual entertainment system.. + Read More
Special Thanks to L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel for hosting me, DIVA Limo for driving me around and to First in Service Travel for the invite and company. “¨”¨
Till next week in full luxury. Cheers Carlos Melia
Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com