Archive for the ‘Adventure Tours’ Category
Big Music Buildings Impress Our Flying Tour Guests
As any of our guests will tell you when they arrange a helicopter tour of Los Angeles with us, seeing man-made structures from above is completely different from nature’s landscapes. They are really surprised when they see what we captured in this aerial photograph over downtown Los Angeles. The odd structure of Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall across the street from the traditional architecture of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Both theaters host classical music concerts like the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as the L.A. Opera and ballet. However, the range of music hosted at these two venues far exceeds the confines of classical music. New symphonic works, jazz, world music – the range is considerable and there always will be something here for all musical tastes. The Walt Disney Concert Hall extends the opportunities for theatrical culture with its proximity to the Music Center which, besides the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, also includes the Broadway-style Ahmanson Theater and the more intimate Mark Taper Forum. The presence of these music and theater venues so near Grand Park create a wonderful focus of activity in the newly reinvigorated downtown. With this activity in the north part of the downtown area and L.A. Live occupying the southern portion there is so much more to see and do right in downtown Los Angeles there is almost no reason to leave…except maybe to visit Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the beach communities on our custom private Los Angeles tour.
The Getty Museum Impresses Our Los Angeles Helicopter Tour
Depending on which heliport we depart from on a luxury helicopter tour of Los Angeles (Santa Monica, Van Nuys, Burbank or a downtown skyscraper) we do not see the beautiful Getty Museum atop its mountain ridge in Brentwood until well into the hour-long flight. Our guests have already been impressed with the layout of this vast city (we only see a portion of the 500 square miles of the city proper). We have probably seen (custom tours is all we do so our routes are not determined in advance) downtown Los Angeles with its gigantic modern towers (the brand new and not quite opened Wilshire Grand Center) and now not so tall historic towers (the infamous city hall building everyone remembers from the television cop show Dragnet). Other grand buildings and extraordinary homes have been pointed out along the way. Then we find ourselves following the mountains and there atop a tall ridge overlooking the entire Los Angeles Basin is the Getty Museum. It is composed of a wild mixture of rectilinear and circular structures with beautifully landscaped gardens all around. We see the snaking path of the electric funicular that delivers visitors to the museum from the parking area below. The wide swath of the Santa Monica Freeway curves up through a canyon just to the east of this museum and art conservation facility. And this is just the jawdropping beauty of the outside of the Getty. Imagine what our guests get to see when they visit the museum (either with us or independently) and walk through the galleries. This is what $1.3 BILLION dollars will get you (and that’s 1997 dollars). But since 1.3 million visitors enjoy the museum each year the price was well worth it. Plan a visit next year for the 20th anniversary and see for yourself what everyone is so excited about. We will be flying over and driving over with our guests. Join us.
An Early Helicopter Tour Means Calm Air and Sea in Malibu
Malibu lies like a ribbon along the top portion of Santa Monica Bay. For twenty-seven miles the city encompasses a narrow swath of beach and mountain. The bay’s shoreline runs from Point Dume down through Santa Monica, past Venice and Manhattan Beaches and all the way to Point Vicente on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Our private tour guests who wish to enjoy a luxury helicopter tour of Los Angeles really get to appreciate the scope and beauty of the coast along this metropolis. There are wide sandy beaches in some places, steep cliffsides in others. Surfing enthusiasts will probably already know the names of the point breaks and beaches beloved by the salt water athletes who come here from all over the world when the storm wells arrive. We always can play some of the better known surfing tunes to remind our guests. From our helicopter we can look from over the water to the coastline to see the magnificent beach mansions down below and the even larger homes built up on the ridges and in the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains higher up. We generally fly up the coast from Long Beach or Marina del Rey (depending on our departure heliport) and then turn inland when we get to Pepperdine University so we get to see both sides of the narrow city of Malibu. The mornings are especially beautiful this time of year with the very clear cool air and calm seas.
Beautiful Views of the Bay on This Helicopter Tour of L.A.
We go on and on here about how perfect the Los Angeles weather is and how much our Los Angeles private tour guests appreciate the warm, clear days that greet them all through the year. What we have learned is that even on days where we complain of a little rain or fog our guests still think the weather is extraordinary. It is all relative. Our extremes of weather do not range very far so we see cool days as a threat to our existence. We have to wear jackets and caps? Oh, no. We need to find the umbrella. Heaven help us! Ok, admittedly we are weather sissies here in Southern California. Thankfully our guests bring some sense to what variations in weather mean. They are ready for a tour of Hollywood on a day when the thermometer in the SUV tells us it is only 64º by wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals. They think it is beach weather. They look down from our luxury helicopter to an encroaching fog bank along the bay and only notice how beautiful the sight is. The Santa Monica Pier rises up where the fog seems to part and spread around but not over this funtastic beach entertainment center. They want to visit the pier when we complete our aerial tour to experience for themselves the attractions built on this local landmark. We will also take them to the Third Street Promenade to enjoy a city street turned into an outdoor shopping and entertainment mall. We are delighted they are enjoying the winter weather. After we drop them back at their hotel we can stop for a lavender hot chocolate at Demitasse.
A Giraffe on Our Wine Tasting Tour in Malibu
Meet Stanley. He just one of the happy folk that we get to visit when we take our Los Angeles private tour on a wine tasting expedition to one of our favorite Malibu wineries, Malibu Family Wines. We know he hears us coming because we like to fly in on one of our luxury helicopters and land in his back yard. He does not seem to mind unless we disturb his kickball exercise. We think he understands that despite the disturbance there will be some fawning attention and food treats to come. Smart animals, giraffes are. Smart people our guests are who allow us to bring them up here into the Santa Monica Mountains above the Pacific Ocean to sample some extraordinary local wines. We fill up the picnic table with a fine gourmet lunch to accompany the wine and encourage them to explore the grounds filled with movie props and a happy and friendly menagerie of beasts. Of course, there are vineyards to marvel at on this relaxed wine expedition so close to the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles.
The Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton is Perfect for Our Private Tour Guests
Los Angeles is fortunate to have not just one but two Ritz-Carlton hotels to serve visitors to our part of Southern California. We love them both. The downtown Ritz-Carlton is a central part of the new L.A. Live center in the southern part of the city core where all new buildings and activities have been springing up of late. Restaurants, museums, theaters are making downtown alive even after hours and one weekends. For a more placid stay in the area there is also the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey (“MDR”), right on the ocean. The luxury hotel is walking distance to Venice Beach and the bohemian seashore energy that has always been there. Or guests can enjoy the offerings of the largest man-made marina in the U.S. We run our yacht tours up and down the coast and to Catalina Island from here which makes it very convenient for our guests staying at the Ritz-Carlton MDR. The hotel is also close to the Santa Monica Airport where we can board one of our spacious twin-engine helicopters for an aerial sightseeing adventure up to Malibu and then over Beverly Hills and Hollywood to downtown before circling back. We notice at this time of year that the NBA teams here to play the Lakers or Clippers seem to like the Ritz (is it the large beds or the nutritious servings in the hotel restaurant, the Cast and Plow). If you are planning a visit to Los Angeles you should consider staying where tours by land, sea and air are equally convenient.
The Most Exciting Helicopter Tour of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a sprawling city. 500 square miles of urban expanse from the ocean toward the desert with mountains to the north and south. We call it the Los Angeles basin. About 18 miles from the sea is downtown Los Angeles (“DTLA”). Believe it or not there is a river running through it that was the historical location of the first settlement that would become the City of Angels long before Los Angeles was so closely associated with Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Today there are skyscrapers including the tallest building in the west (the new Wilshire Grand Center). At the top of the former tallest building, the U.S. Bank Building, there is a new glass sliding board. Just for thrills. We think the best thrill, though, is our private helicopter tour of the city that begins on the top of one of downtown’s tall buildings. Or concludes there. Or both. That is up to our guests. However, we have this landing pad as a choice among other heliports in the area to satisfy the curiosity and thrillseeking of those with us choosing to see Los Angeles by air. Even better, we can combine the aerial portion of the tour with a ground tour of three hours (or more) and visit closeup some of the wonderful sights we saw from above as we flew over the city, the sea, the forests, the mountains and the beaches. We will also see some pretty extraordinary buildings including movie stars’ mansions and remarkable structures that are museums, office buildings and businesses. We are delighted to inform, entertain and excite our visitors who are just getting to know this magnificent city.
Our Private Tour Can Be More Than a Walk
We understand that sitting in a tour bus with a bunch of strangers, looking out the windows while listening to a scripted description of what is passing by can be, well, boring. Why not enjoy a custom private Los Angeles tour with a guide who will not only take you to the best sightseeing destinations in and about the city but let you get out of our luxury SUV and walk around. Feel free to pose for pictures taken by your guide that can go into your photo album along with all the candid photos that you will not have noticed being taken until you share your album with friends and family. More than just walking around Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach we can lead you on short (or long) hikes through the hills to see Los Angeles from places where only the locals know where to go. For instance, we can hike up a service road, past the old Batman television series Batcave (and other notable films and shows) all the way to the top of Mt. Lee where our guests will find themselves right behind the Hollywood Sign – Raise the “W”! Another easy and fascinating hike is up into Runyon Canyon where Hollywood and history come together. Plus, it’s good exercise. Eating the fancy snacks we keep in the vehicle will be negated by the good workout from our hikes. Enjoy VIP treatment on a luxury tour designed to suit your interests…from Hollywood to the stars (at Griffith Observatory or the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel).
Our Helicopter Tour at Sunset Above Hollywood
Now that Daylight Savings Time is over for the winter our Los Angeles sunset comes very early. A private custom tour late in the afternoon will get to enjoy our beautiful sunsets. Even more exciting is the view from above from one of our luxury helicopters. We can look down on the landmark intersection of Hollywood and Vine just above the cylindrical Capitol Records building on Vine Street. That is the Pantages Theater just above and to the left of Capitol Records. The Redbury Hotel is the red building across the street. The historic Knickerbocker building gets our attention when we drive by on the ground tour portion of our sightseeing expedition. A good thing about this time of the year is that with cooler weather the air is clearer and visibility is excellent. From this point above Hollywood we can see Catalina Island (25 miles off the coast) and the entire length of Sunset Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard (and other major roads we will show you) from the beach to downtown Los Angeles. Set your sights high and enjoy a combination aerial and ground tour of Los Angeles when you visit.
This Private Tour is Private at the Destination
We have this extraordinary luxurious estate all to ourselves for an exclusive wine tasting as we watch the sun set. The drive itself from Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway (“PCH”) and then up through the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu itself is amazing, jawdropping to our private tour guests visiting Southern California from their far away home. Our staff is split trying to decide if the drive is more awesome than flying by helicopter to Malibu Rocky Oaks, a mountaintop vineyard and estate. Either way, getting here is an adventure but only part of the fun.
Spreading out into the living areas of this Tuscan-style home, enjoying the wide open decks that overlook the vineyards and steep hillsides all around, we sample wines made from the grapes growing all around us and soak in the golden colors drenching the landscape as the sky darkens. The beauty of the region is inspirational. We are blessed to have access to this one-of-a-kind destination and are delighted to share it with our guests who love wine, fine weather and the world of Los Angeles.