Archive for August, 2012

Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 2:25 31 August 2012

Los Angeles and Modern Architecture

Photo of the Frank Neutra VDL Research House

Richard Neutra is just one of the celebrated architects who created notable and even historic structures in and around Los Angeles.  Our custom private tours are frequently designed to satisfy the curiosity of architecture lovers coming to southern California.  Of course they want to see Hollywood and Beverly Hills and Venice and Malibu, but their interests are in the quirky, innovative, colorful, inspired, modern and just wholly imaginative buildings designed and built by masters of the art form.  The silhouette above is Richard Neutra who built this contemporary Silverlake neighborhood house twice.  The original home for Dutch philanthropist Dr. Van Der Leeuw (“VDL”) was built 80 years ago.  When it burned down in 1963 Neutra rebuilt and improved the home.  Today the structure is a research facility operated by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:13 30 August 2012

Jaws, Star Wars and E.T.’s Musical Daddy

Photo of conductor John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl

Lovers of film music will come to the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, an annual pilgrimage, to enjoy watching and listening as John Williams conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra playing elements of his own film scores.  Of course, there will be extended movie clips shown on large screens as the composer guides the musicians creating the music we all know and love.  This year a special tribute will be paid to E.T. the Extraterrestrial. Big music, big screens, what else would you expect at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl?

We have been lucky showing our private luxury tour guests around the bowl over the years to catch parts of rehearsals for John Williams’ show.  I dare say that our guests would then scramble for tickets so as not to miss seeing the full concert.  Get your tickets now before it’s too late!

John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl
8:00 p.m.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 2:55 29 August 2012

Wonder Woman Would Rather Be Shopping

Photo of Wonder Woman figure overlooking Rodeo Drive in the Paley Center

High above Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills the figure of Wonder Woman watches over the happy shoppers wandering in and out of fine boutiques and salons and galleries.  The figure is a part of the current exhibit at the Paley Center for Media called TV Out of the Box.  This extensive and exciting collection of props, costumes, photographs, video clips and set pieces is a fun multimedia and interactive way to explore great productions from Warner Brothers from the past (Kung Fu, Murphy Brown) to the present (The Closer, The Mentalist).  Over 60 series are represented.  Our private luxury tour guests are always shown the museum as we tour Beverly Hills and many make it a point to visit the exhibit or even attend one of the many lectures and presentations open to the public (now that’s a good way to see, and talk to, Hollywood celebrities).

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 28 August 2012

Running Around Los Angeles

Today, a first for us, a Guest Blog.  Mark Caplan of Merion, PA asked if we would publish a brief (somewhat) account of his recollections and experiences jogging and biking in Los Angeles.  Since we incorporate fitness tours (hiking, biking, skating, horseback riding, whatever our guests desire) into our offerings, and one in particular he enjoyed with us, we thought we would let Mark provide our blog entry today.

Los Angeles is by far one of my favorite places to run and bike.   From easy going jaunts along the strand connecting Marina del Rey to Hermosa Beach to hardcore vertical hell along the fire trails above the Hollywood Hills and Malibu, the land of silicone and stars has it all.

Nothing makes runners and cyclists happier than finding terrain that fits the mood.  Only problem when in a new location, how do you know where to go to start the sweat? does a great job sharing an amazing amount of diverse route options.  One of my favorite alternate ways to hook into local running and biking culture (be it L.A. or anywhere) and meet people with similar interests is to join a local club for a morning or afternoon cruise.

The best situation, though, is when you know someone local to show you the best spots.   A friend, a relative, or a luxury tour company like Elite Adventure Tours can get you to places you would never find even if you were Sherlock Holmes or Batman.  Their hiking expedition past the old TV series Batcave up to the Hollywood Sign is one of my favorite expeditions.  Let me say, too, there’s nothing like returning from a good hike to a luxury custom van with cold drinks, energy snacks and aromatheraphy towels and be driven back to where you are staying.  A private custom hiking tour — what a concept.

Photo of the Hollywood sign taken from behind during a hiking tour

Behind the Hollywood Sign with Elite Adventure Tours (click for more info)

My sister lived in Los Angeles a number of years.  As a former marathoner and triathlete she trained all over L.A.   This was (sort of) great for me because I would tag along and get to know some of the coolest routes I’ve ever taken.  I write “sort of” only because though I’m faster than my sister, she can go about 5 times farther.

Throw boring out the window!  You never know what (or who) you may come across when running and biking in L.A.

A couple of standout moments:

Mountain biking way above Pepperdine University in Malibu, I was cruising at a good clip along the fire trail at the top.  I looked up and saw a mountain lion staring me down and licking its chops not far above me.   Fortunately, I was not lunch that day, but I was given incentive to pedal a bit faster.

Running on the sand near Venice Beach a group of three super hot bikini clad gals thought it would be funny to flash me.  I didn’t think it was funny — I thought it was terrific!

I’ve biked and run by more celebrities around Griffith Park than there are plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills. Running the median in Santa Monica, Don Ameche walked toward me with a big smile and yelled “great job, kid, keep it going.”  I’m sorry he’s gone.  I once ran past Axl Rose on Franklin Avenue.

There was a time I was riding down Nichols Canyon and it started to rain.  My tires slid out and I crashed hard on my shoulder.  I was in a lot of pain. There were no cars until a rather large white Mercedes pulled over.  The driver got out and asked me if I was okay.  It was Yanni, the new age musician.  I told him I was fine and he drove off.  How cool that he stopped.  How dumb that I told him I was okay as I was close to passing out!  I recovered from my spill and am ready for my next trip to Los Angeles for more hiking and biking adventures.

What will your first standout moment be?

Enjoy them all!

Happy trails,

Mark Caplan

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:07 27 August 2012

Beat It! Just Beat It!

Photo of collection of old eggbeaters at the Original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market in Hollywood (“Meet Me at 3rd and Fairfax”) is a meat and produce market, shops, bakeries, an international food court, an entertainment venue in the summer and, since it has been there since 1934, a museum.  Perhaps not the curated facility you might think of but many of the shops display artifacts of earlier times for all to enjoy.  Here is a collection of kitchen implements, principally eggbeaters.

We like to meet our guests who are driving to Los Angeles from nearby areas for a private, custom luxury tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and other notable neighborhoods around town at The Grove, right next to the Original Farmers Market.  Easy parking first and foremost and a fine rendezvous spot, we will often begin the tour by cruising the Original Farmers Market.  We also might stop at the market for lunch if we need to on a long tour because we know everyone will find something they like to eat.  It’s fun!

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:14 26 August 2012

Who’s Eating at Le Petit Four?

Photo of restaurant Le Petit Four on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles

As we cruise along the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood on a private luxury tour of Los Angeles we invariably slow down as we pass through Sunset Plaza (traffic, pedestrians — it’s always busy!).  There we can count on seeing some very fancy automobiles parked in front of Le Petit Four, one of the several fine restaurants with extended sidewalk seating along the plaza.  Besides the terrific food they have served for more than 30 years there is also great people watching to enjoy as you dine.  You are bound to see a face you recognize at a nearby table no matter what time you are eating.  With plenty of easy parking behind the building and lots of nearby shops to visit as you walk off your excellent meal Le Petit Four is a destination restaurant you should make a point to visit.  So drop by sometime and tell them Elite Adventure Tours sent you.

Photo of interior of Le Petit Four restaurant on the Sunset StripLe Petit Four
Sunset Plaza
8654 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90069

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 2:58 25 August 2012

A Star is Born

Photo of a Walk of Fame Star under Construction

Here is a photograph we took while on a private custom luxury tour of Hollywood with a family visiting Los Angeles.  It is a Walk of Fame star while it is being constructed.  Who could it be for?  The next Walk of Fame ceremony, scheduled for September 4th, is for Ellen Degeneres.  Join us for a tour and we will arrange to be nearby for Ellen’s ceremony.  Who knows who else we might bump into.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 2:25 24 August 2012

Check Your Cellphone at the Door

Photograph of the front of Eva Restaurant in Los AngelesThere are far too many fine restaurants in and around Los Angeles for us to be able to know and recommend them all.  We learn of restaurants mostly from our private luxury tour guests but also from hotel concierges that we work with and in the course of living and eating in Los Angeles.  Eva Restaurant on Beverly Boulevard is new to us and we read about them in the newspaper…and not a food review.  They made the news recently when they adopted a new dining policy — 5% off your bill if you allow your server to take away your cellphone while you are dining.

We in the custom tour business live on our cellphones but that does not mean we would not appreciate sitting down to eat at a fine restaurant and not only not having our phone be singing and vibrating but fewer of the infernal devices around us.  Imagine intimate conversation at your table and around you without interruptions by an electronic device.  We consider this an elegant idea and hope more establishments adopt it.  Perhaps the same groups of people who sought out No Smoking bars and restaurants before it was the law will also be looking for No Cellphone facilities.  I guess we will see.  Try Eva Restaurant when you can and give your server your phone.  Call us after dinner.

Eva Restaurant
7458 Beverly Boulevard  Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:20 23 August 2012

Kids Love Shrek

Photo of kids posing with a life size Shrek outside Madame Tussaud's in Hollywood

Our private luxury tours of Hollywood are certainly fun for youngsters.  Besides keeping kid-friendly snacks and drinks aboard our vehicles we stop often for run-around and potty breaks.  Here we are at Madame Tussauds on the Walk of Fame stopping to get photos of the kids with Shrek.  We’ll deposit some bills into the hands of the costumed characters by Grauman’s Chinese theaters so the kids can be remembered shooting webs with Spiderman or standing in the shadow of Batman’s cape.  Then off to Nickelodeon and the Henson Studios and a visit to the La Brea Tar Pits to climb on the giant sloths.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 2:23 22 August 2012

Images of Rock ‘n Roll

Photo of Frank Zappa poster, part of gallery showWe specialize in photography as part of our work.  Each of our tour specialists carry high quality digital SLR cameras with them to capture the moments of our guests’ private custom luxury tours of Los Angeles and the celebrity neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Bel Air and Malibu.  We love taking photos and we really appreciate great photographic work.  That’s why we are so excited about the current exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City.

Now through the beginning of October the Annenberg Space for Photography is exhibiting WHO SHOT ROCK & ROLL, a large collection of images of musicians, bands, backstage antics and the lives of Rock ‘n Roll artists from 1955 to present day.  Some of the most illustrious names in music photography have their work on display.  Music is a large part of the exhibit, too, including soundtracks to photo displays as well as KCRW produced live musical events produced especially for this incredible exhibit.

There is still time to visit the galleries but be sure not to miss WHO SHOT ROCK & ROLL.

Annenberg Space for Photography
Century Park
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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