Head for the Hills

Beverly Hills, a mecca for world-class shopping, glistens by night.

Beverly Hills, a mecca for world-class shopping, glistens by night.

Beverly Hills, a mecca for world-class shopping, glistens by night.

31 Bits jewelry is huge in L.A.

Whether you lounge inside one of the Roosevelt Hotel’s luxe suites or relax at its roof bar, this is definitely the way to unwind during a romantic Hollywood getaway. As the locals say, “Hollywood is a state of mind, rather than a place.”

New on the Scene: Wood and Vine in Hollywood is known for its extensive wine list and inventive menu.

poolside posh: The Roosevelt Hotel’s famed Tropicana Bar has been a popular Hollywood party venue for decades.

The Peninsula Beverly Hills, one of the area’s most gracious hotels, offers car service to local shops and restaurants.

The hotel’s posh Roof Garden and pool area overlook downtown Beverly Hills.

The property recently celebrated its 20th year with a renovation of rooms and suites.

Whether you explore classic celebrity haunts, iconic shops or top-drawer restaurants, clubs and hotels, the Los Angeles communities of Beverly Hills and Hollywood offer a level of excitement and elegance that will satisfy even the hard to impress. Indulge in some well-deserved “we time” as you soak up the area’s laid-back vibe—and its moderate climate.

Breathtaking Beverly Hills

Here in the land of swimming pools and movie stars, where fire hydrants are painted silver and even the local post office offers valet parking, it’s easy to lounge in the lap of luxury.

As soon as you enter the 90210 zip code, you’ll want to visit Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, replete with all the world-class luxury labels you would expect: Prada, Gucci, Dior and many other favorites. If shopping isn’t in your plans (although we can’t imagine it wouldn’t be!), grab a street-side bistro table and enjoy a meal as you watch celebrities and fashion divas stroll by.

One of the prettiest spots in Beverly Hills is Villa Blanca (villablancarestaurant.com), a toney little restaurant owned by Lisa Vanderpump of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. Vanderpump and her adorable two-pound Pomeranian, Giggy (also an international television star), regularly dine at Villa Blanca.

An interior designer by trade, Vanderpump infuses her sublime style in every element of the bistro, where monochromatic tones of white, cream and metallic are accented with oversized mercury-glass urns billowing with fresh flowers. Fans swear by Villa Blanca’s hearty pappardelle bolognese ragu, and you won’t want to leave without diving into the sticky-toffee bread pudding, topped with a scoop of silky vanilla ice cream.

Another A-list spot is Bouchon Bistro (bouchonbistro.com). Although it just opened in 2011, it’s already garnering rave reviews. Stop by Bouchon’s 10-seat Champagne Salon for a refreshing glass of bubbly. Then enjoy steak frites, bacon quiche, croque madame or a plate of fresh oysters in the outdoor garden.

After all your shopping, cocktailing and dining, you deserve a little pampering, so head for SPA 7 Aesthetics at the Simoni Plastic Surgery Center in Beverly Hills (spa7ca.com). This medical spa is known for innovative skin rejuvenation services such as diamond therapy micro-dermabrasion, body contouring, and the country’s very first micro-current filler facial—a no-needle, no-downtime treatment that plumps, hydrates, lifts and firms skin from within. SPA 7 treatments have been featured on The Doctors, The View and Entertainment Tonight. 

While the area offers a collection of fine hotels, a standout is the Peninsula Beverly Hills (peninsula.com/beverlyhills), which celebrated 20 years of service by unveiling renovated rooms and suites in 2011.

Tucked under a blanket of lush treetops as though it has been there forever, the Peninsula Beverly Hills offers finely appointed sleeping rooms that start at $575 nightly, as well as spacious 3,000-square-foot detached Garden Villa suites for $5,000 a night. Traditional but not stuffy, the hotel hits the spot for those who appreciate the finer things.

Fresh fruit, sweets and monogrammed pillow shams will welcome you to your room. Then treat yourself to the renowned Roof Garden and pool area, and reserve a cozy cabana if you plan to spend a day under the sun. Enjoy traditional afternoon tea (not to be missed!) just off the main lobby or power-dine at the in-house AAA Five-Diamond Belvedere restaurant. End your day by listening to live piano music in the plush Living Room, just off the main lobby.

If you’re in need of further relaxation, one of Beverly Hills’ premier retreats is only an elevator ride away from your room. The Peninsula Spa was voted number one for service and number two for treatments for U.S. urban spas by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler.

Hooray for Hollywood

If you’re a star-gazer, you must visit Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a world-famous throwback to Tinseltown’s Golden Age. Prepare to get a little weak in the knees as you rest your palms in the handprints of iconic celebrities whose autographs have been memorialized in cement. Next, stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and then hop in a van and see the stars’ homes in the Hollywood Hills or tour one of the big studios to relive memories of your favorite films. Sure, it’s touristy, but it’s also de rigueur when you’re in the movie-making capital of the world!

For the latest scoop on Hollywood events, visit seeing-stars.com and you’ll instantly learn about all the red-carpet premieres and Walk of Fame ceremonies. Soon you’ll be lining the streets along with all the other film fans.

The starstruck will also enjoy lunch at the Ivy (theivyla.com), a quintessential rendezvous for those in the entertainment industry. Then head over to Urth Caffé (urthcaffe.com), on Melrose Avenue, where dressed-down actors and producers grab coffees and talk show biz after hiking in Runyon Canyon. Another can’t-miss spot for celebrity sightings is the Grove, located at the original Farmers Market, where NBC’s Extra entertainment show shoots live each weekday.

At the corner of Hollywood and Vine, one of the most famous intersections in the world, you’ll find the new Wood and Vine restaurant and bar (woodandvine.com). Formerly home to the first offices of Charlie Chaplin and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, this late-night hangout is just across from the always-packed Pantages Theatre.

Known for its extensive wine list and inventive menu, Wood and Vine offers indoor as well as alfresco dining, surrounded by soaring buildings. Start with an Accomplice (organic vodka, lemon juice, strawberry syrup and champagne), then select from a menu of too-good-to-be-true offerings. Silky chicken liver mousse, rich gnocchi, comforting chicken and waffles, and homemade salami and pepperoni are favorites among the regulars.

Another happening local spot is Sunset Boulevard’s Chateau Marmont, billed as “a fantastical folly in the land of make believe” and modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley. Next door is Bar Marmont, perfect for a late-night martini, a “damn good burger” or savory lamb ragout.

One of Hollywood’s most beloved stomping grounds is the Roosevelt Hotel (thompsonhotels.com). Bringing old-school glamour and glitz back to Hollywood Boulevard, this landmark property reflects the opulence of its fabled past. Popular celebrity haunts include the poolside Tropicana Bar, Teddy’s nightclub and the Spare Room, a speakeasy gaming lounge with vintage bowling lanes and classic cocktails. Sleeping rooms start at $249 per night.
Getting Around Town

If it’s your first trip to Los Angeles, you will quickly discover that getting around without a car can be challenging. For example, don’t expect to grab a cab right outside your Beverly Hills hotel and take off for an evening in neighboring Hollywood. You better order the taxi in advance and be prepared to pay an eyebrow-raising sum for round-trip transport.

If you’re game, just ask your concierge for a bus or subway schedule, but you’ll find that most tourists prefer to rent a car so that they can easily explore the city and surrounding must-see communities such as Santa Monica and Venice Beach. As they say, “Everyone drives in L.A.”


31 Bits jewelry is huge in L.A.

31 Bits jewelry is huge in L.A.

  • Denise Weaver, president of Pistol & Stamen PR on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, whose job is to know all the chicest people and coolest resources in town, shares a few of her best bets:
  • When you’re ready for your close-up, visit one of the many salons that cater to local glitterati. Check out Galvin Benjamin (galvinbenjamin.com) in West Hollywood, the go-to salon for many a celeb.
  • Shopping for upscale fashions and home furnishings? Walk along Melrose Avenue between La Cienega Boulevard and Doheny Drive, and don’t miss Melrose Place, a hidden gem of a street that boasts Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang and more.
  • Weaver says that “one of the best things on the planet right now” is jewelry by 31 Bits. She reports that L.A. fashionistas are wearing these handmade lacquered paper necklaces and bracelets that are created by impoverished women of Uganda. A portion of the proceeds helps empower Ugandan women to become independent. This super-hot jewelry can be purchased at 31bits.com.

If you like this article please share it.