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Malibu is pretty narrow in parts as seen in this helicopter tour photograph

Our Private Tour from the Air

Sees the Los Angeles Coast

We fly low and slow along the Los Angeles coast to allow our private Los Angeles tour guests time to get a good feel for the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) through Malibu.  Malibu is 27-miles long and very narrow because so much of it is built on the beach below steep mountainsides.  Our most violent winter storms threaten the wonderful beach homes on two sides: storm surge waves from the bay and mudslides from the Santa Monica Mountains.  Road closures during the rainy season are not uncommon.  Everyone along the highway is familiar with alternative routes to work and school.  However, despite the apparent difficulties of living on the beach in Malibu, as you might expect, most of the year, throughout the years, beach living is everything anyone wants.  Moderate temperatures, a beautiful blue ocean, long sandy beaches (at low tide), and access to everything in the way of entertainment, services, dining and activities that Malibu, Santa Monica and Los Angeles have to offer.  Very few of our luxury tour guests say they would never want to live here.

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Where some NBA playoff action will be taking place in Los Angeles

L.A. Live is the Place for

Our Private Tour Guests

NBA fans in southern California, or with connections here, or just basketball lovers who also want a vacation in paradise, are here in Los Angeles to enjoy the playoffs and watch the L.A. Clippers at the Staples Center.  We will be embarking on many a private Los Angeles tour from the Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott nearby.  This whole area of downtown Los Angeles is known as L.A. Live and offers, besides professional sports and luxury accommodations, restaurants, movie theaters, the Grammy Museum, the Nokia Theater and the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Lots to do.  Lots to see.  We can create an entire day custom luxury tour of just downtown Los Angeles for urban anthropologists interested in learning the history and future of Los Angeles.  Art and architecture, popular and ethnic culture, our city’s history and development are all centered in this densely populated point in the middle of the 500 square miles designated as the City of Los Angeles.  We can also venture west to visit Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  Our helicopter tour gives our guests a good look at this part of the city.  Who knew there were so many parking spaces in the middle of downtown Los Angeles?  With us parking is not a problem.

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The big yellow Tokyo Doggie Style food truck

Custom Hot Dogs and Bowl Dishes

Impress our Private Tour

Chef Keith Yokoyama put all of his experience and Culinary Institute of America training to work in creating the Tokyo Doggie Style food truck that people all over Los Angeles chase after and line up for to enjoy his Japanese comfort food creations.  This season’s menu includes a number of delicious hot dog preparations and an Asian homage to the Philly cheese steak sandwich.  Also, if you prefer your food out of a bun, there are several very tasty bowls to choose from made of salmon, beef, chicken or curry.  Fancy fries, of course, and something we are not certain of (yet!) – Crispy Octopus Balls.  Vegetarians and vegans can join in the fusion fun, too, with hot dogs and bowl dishes just for them.  Do you like boba (iced milk tea and tapioca)?  Enjoy something cold and delicious to accompany your food.  Chef Keith is on our speed dial for catering special lunches and events that we get involved with and we recommend the big yellow truck for your party if Japanese comfort food is going to please your guests.  A number of our “adventures” include a catered lunch and we consider Tokyo Doggie Style a nice choice.

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Early morning mist and the Hollywood Sign

Early Bird Tour Guests Get the Mist

Misty water-colored memories of the Hollywood Sign will fill the photo albums of our private Los Angeles tour guests getting early starts on their custom tours.  There are a number of advantages, however, of having an early start.  Our guests arriving from points east are still in their own time zones and so up and at ’em when Californians are just beginning to think of a cup of coffee.  We can avoid a lot of traffic.  Most of our tour destinations are completely devoid of visitors.  Night location shoots are just wrapping their sets and the dawn locations are going strong so we have twice the chance of running into some Hollywood street film production.  Finally, we might see a coyote heading home in the hills.

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Pretty sunset at the Santa Monica Pier

The Days Get Longer, The Private Tour

Can Begin Later

The setting sun in Los Angeles casts a golden glow over everything but the draw of the beach is particularly strong at this time of day.  Most of our L.A. beaches are south facing so dusk moves left to right as we stare off into the Santa Monica Bay.  At the same time as the colorful lights begin to illuminate the attractions along the Santa Monica Pier the rides are getting busy as visitors want to witness the setting sun from the top of the Ferris Wheel.  Like the shore birds our guests also begin to have urges for a seafood dinner and our guides know the best food stands for a quick meal as well as fine  restaurants for something more elegant.  The world is their oyster for our private Los Angeles tour guests.

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The Bonaventure Hotel is an easy to find landmark in downtown Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles Hotel is a True Gem for

Our Los Angeles Tour Guests

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel is the largest hotel in Los Angeles (1,300+ rooms) and also one of the most distinctive both from the busy downtown streets around the hotel and, as seen here, from the air on one of our private helicopter tours of the city.  Even if we are not meeting our luxury tour guests at this hotel, when we find ourselves exploring downtown Los Angeles we always make a point to drive past the vast John Portman designed structure with its five tall cylindrical towers that offer vast comfort and amenities to its lucky guests.  With more than 19 restaurants and bars, a shopping gallery and easy access to the Los Angeles Music Center (Ahmanson Theater and Mark Taper Forum, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Disney Concert Hall) and all the rest of downtown Los Angeles, this hotel is a worthwhile stop on our tour just to spend time enjoying the spacious lobby.  We can point out the five elevator banks and talk about the films made here at the hotel (TRUE LIES, NICK OF TIME, INTERSTELLAR).  The building in the photograph (right of the hotel) with the pyramid crowned tower is the historic Los Angeles Public Library, definitely worth visiting for the look and design of the building and to do some quick reading up on Mr. Portman’s other notable architectural gems.

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It is time to think about the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl

Plan a Private Tour Around all that Jazz

The first Playboy Jazz Festival back in 1959, hosted by Hugh Hefner, was set in Chicago which was Playboy headquarters at the time.  Then Hef moved the business west to Los Angeles and settled in the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, a popular destination with most of our Los Angeles private tour guests.  He resurrected the tribute to great jazz music in 1979 at the Hollywood Bowl and the tradition was started and continues to this 37th annual jazz music festival.  On June 13th and 14th the show will continue with two long days at the most historic music venue in Los Angeles, The Playboy Jazz Festival Logo for 2015an outdoor Eden for music lovers of all kinds but especially for jazz music lovers that weekend.  The eclectic collection of musicians will offer something for every ear and every heart.  Among the talent: Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri, Ozomotli, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tower of Power, Snarky Puppy and many more.  Two days.  Outdoors in beautiful weather.  Picnic.  Wine.  The good company of music lovers from all over the world who plan to be in Los Angeles just for this occasion.  Make your own plans and get your tickets early.  There is seating for only 17,000 or so jazz fans.

 

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Our Sikorsky helicopter beats traffic

No Traffic in the Sky for Our Private Tour

Our private Los Angeles tour guests are almost always aware of how congested L.A. traffic can be but until they experience it they have no idea how bad bad can be.  One way to beat the traffic is to join the birds above in one of our luxury tour helicopters.  The largest aircraft we fly for our custom helicopter tour of the city (generally in combination with a ground tour) is a Sikorsky S76.  Leather seats for six, the same number we carry in our luxury SUVs.  At the helipad we simply transfer everyone from the car to the helicopter and off we go.  The aerial portion of our tours lasts an hour or so as we circumnavigate the city.  Our guests enjoy birdseye views of downtown and the historic core of the city as well as the new L.A. Live entertainment and sports district.  Then on to USC and the Los Angeles Coliseum, over the Baldwin hills to the coast at Marina del Rey.  We dip down over the sea and ride the waves, wave to the whales, and fly along the sandy groomed beaches to Malibu before turning inland again to explore the Santa Monica Mountains and the canyon homes above the sea.  Other notable sights along the way include the Getty Museums (yes, both of them), the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory and Dodgers Stadium.  Our guides point out celebrity mansions along the way, too.  Of course, the freeways connecting Los Angeles to the rest of southern California and the city boulevards are all inching along as we cruise comfortably above them.

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Tiffany & Co. – a Palace of Jewels on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Shopping for Jewelry on a Private Tour

in Beverly Hills

Tiffany and Co. has been associated with the best in fine jewelry in our country since they began in 1837.  That is a long to time to perfect the design and manufacture not to mention the display of the finest of fine jewelry.  From its origin in New York City, where the flagship store continues to stand at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, Tiffany & Co. has notable showcase buildings all around the world.  Here in Beverly Hills the company that designed the New York Yankees logo caters to our private tour guests sightseeing (and shopping) in Los Angeles at their store on Rodeo Drive right across the street from the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  The store occupies a corner location and two levels of the little European street mall known as Two Rodeo.  If you are arranging a private custom tour of Los Angeles around a special occasion, like an engagement or wedding, perhaps a visit to Tiffany & Co. is in order to look at rings.  On the other hand, baseball season has begun so perhaps a diamond encrusted Yankees logo brooch might be a worthwhile purchase.

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Our guest poses in front of a celebrated home in Holmby Hills

Some Private Tour Guests Just Like

to Look at Large Homes

Movie stars’ homes, celebrity homes … we hear all the famous and infamous personalities associated with Hollywood regularly requested on our private Los Angeles tour.  We drive through tiny winding streets up in the hills above Beverly Hills and Hollywood, through Bel Air and Brentwood and Holmby Hills, even Malibu, to make sure our guests have a chance to see the homes of their favorite stars.  What we find that our guests really enjoy is seeing all the other homes in these neighborhoods of fabulously expensive mansions with acres of expertly designed and maintained yards and lawns.  Wealthy people live there but not necessarily known to us.  Business magnates, foreign potentates, lottery winners – we cannot even begin to guess who the residents of these exquisite homes might be.  That does not seem to matter to our guests who are delighted to “oooooh” and “aaaaaah” as we pass by driveways and gates and sometimes stop to take a photograph for their tour album.

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