Archive for January, 2013
The Hotel Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is a favorite place for us to stop and pick up guests. The large open porte-cochère in front is populated with friendly valets which makes it easy for us to pull in, locate our guests and make them welcome in our custom black vans for their day of sightseeing on a private luxury tour of Los Angeles. The look and feel of the hotel is a combination of Hollywood celebrity chic blended with European style and grace which is comforting to the eye, body and soul throughout the hotel. Our guests rave about the rooms and service which is all we need to know to recommend the hotel when travelers call us during the planning stages of their trips to southern California. Speaking of service, Nestor, Zervando, Meghan and Dana are some of the finest concierges we work with — they are knowledgeable, efficient and friendly — the perfect liaison between Sofitel guests and Elite Adventure Tours. Centrally located on the border of Beverly Hills and Hollywood, with Estérel, a fantastic French restaurant and Riviera 31, their atmospheric watering spot, the Beverly Center across the street, no wonder our guests are always happy and enthusiastic when we embark from the hotel to see the celebrity homes nearby in Beverly Hills.
While California wrestles with the expense and technology of high speed rail, in downtown Los Angeles we can stop with our private luxury tour guests at Angel’s Flight, the shortest (and possibly slowest) railway in the world. Measuring 298 feet long at a 33% grade, the funicular saves considerable effort for anyone walking between Hill Street (below) and California Plaza (above). The two railway cars, Sinai and Olivet, make the trip throughout the day, every day, between 6:45 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. A steep hillside block for only 50¢ — we say that’s a great bargain. It’s fun and scenic, too. We are only too happy to usher our sightseeing guests out of our custom van and into this historic train car for the short ride. We know they will be talking about their Angel’s Flight ride for the remainder of their tour with us to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
Visitors to Los Angeles enjoying a private custom luxury tour with us through downtown are awestruck by the beauty and convenience of our Music Center. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theater are all connected within a wonderful central plaza and are just across the street from the magnificent Disney Concert Hall. Since 1967 the Los Angeles Music Center has entertained, inspired and moved millions of theater, ballet, music and opera lovers in southern California.
The Ahmanson Theater has the largest theater subscriber base in California. Hosting a season of major theatrical productions every year the best of Broadway comes here as well as original west coast theater destined for the Great White Way. Currently playing at the Ahmanson Theater is the musical BACKBEAT, a loving look at the Beatles when they were five people (John, Paul, George, Pete and Stu) and just getting started. Get your tickets now for an evening of music you never tire of, know all the words to and enjoy tapping your toes to the backbeat. The production runs through March 1st.
That is the distinctive Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in W. Hollywood in the center of this cool aerial photograph snapped on a recent helicopter tour of Los Angeles. Originally opened in 1929 to be an elegant and distinctive Hollywood residence, business conditions during the depression forced the conversion of the building into a luxury hotel. Now officially a cultural landmark the hotel is rife with great tales of Hollywood celebrities past and present. Our private luxury tour guests had already seen the downtown skyline (from between the buildings) and the beach along Venice and Santa Monica from just above the waves all the way up to the Malibu Colony. Rising up into the Santa Monica Mountains they flew over elegant hidden estates in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air and Beverly Hills before getting to this part of Hollywood. From here they flew over to the Hollywood Bowl and saw the Hollywood Sign from a birds’ eye view. This popular flying adventure is in combination with a 3-hour private ground tour back through Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see everything again from street level.
There was no talk of climate change in 1949 when the unusually cold weather greeted a precipitation front and, voila, snow in Los Angeles! This archival photograph taken that winter shows downtown’s City Hall surrounded by ice and slush on the roadways. Imagine the paralysis today if traffic was confronted with icy conditions. Everyone knows that southern Californians can’t drive in the rain. Snow? Forgedaboudit! Among the myriad topics likely to be discussed during a private luxury tour with our guests around Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and especially when we get out to the beaches of Venice and Malibu, the most likely subject is our weather. People from all over the world are fascinated by the southern California clime — 330 days of 70° temperatures on average. We aren’t known as sunny southern California for nothing.
There are so many occasions to celebrate here in Los Angeles (probably because of the Hollywood media machine) that we do it up for all of them. Today (January 26) is Ellen’s birthday and we are going to pull over all of our private luxury tours today and take a moment to thank the stars for giving us this doyen of comedy and mirth who deserves so much more than her own studio at NBC. We are declaring it ED day here at Elite Adventure Tours. If you see a distinctive black van pulled over to the curb in Beverly Hills and several people dancing around just know we are celebrating her birthday as she would want us to.
There were days in the mid-1960s when this beautiful custom car could be seen racing out of a tunnel in Hollywood’s Runyon Canyon where the Batman television series was filming on location. Holy dustcloud, Batman! Adam West and Burt Ward spent countless hours seated in this George Barris creation which started with a 1955 Ford concept car, the Lincoln Futura. Decked out with all the superhero accessories needed to impress the show’s audience this car was sold to an Arizona fan of the series for $4.2 Million. What would the Penguin or Catwoman say to that? Our private luxury tour guests sightseeing in Los Angeles who want to walk up by the Batcave entrance will enjoy a wonderful stroll through the Hollywood Hills below the Hollywood Sign. Of course, the same hillside opening has been seen in innumerable sci-fi films and westerns over the years. That’s Hollywood for you.
We always stop on our private luxury tour of Los Angeles at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine as we enter Hollywood. Just the name of the intersection is familiar to almost every guest we bring here. We point out the Pantages Theater, the Frolic Room, Capital Records and the Walk of Fame and the four corner spotlights. The intersection is much changed from this 1950 archival photograph (right) and the 1962 photo (below). The W Hotel is here as is the Redbury Hotel. The Brown Derby is gone but Dillon’s Irish Pub can feed and lubricate you at the corner now.
Some of the best Walk of Fame celebrities surround the intersection where the star studded sidewalk extends north and south on Vine Street. No sightseeing tour of Los Angeles should miss a visit to this special intersection. Celebrity homes, Beverly Hills and Malibu are all fun to see but standing at Hollywood and Vine is really connecting with Hollywood history.
In keeping with Hollywood Walk of Fame tradition, a memorial wreath has been erected on the sidewalk near Pauline Phillips‘ Dear Abby star. Ms. Phillips passed away last week. She wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle under the nom de plume Abigail van Buren. Her twin sister, Eppie Lederer, was advice columnist Ann Landers writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. Dear Abby in its heyday was the most widely syndicated column in the world appearing in more than 1,400 newspapers. For 12 years (1963-75) Dear Abby was carried on CBS radio to wide acclaim. Thus, the well deserved star here on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Street in front of the Roosevelt Hotel. While we prefer to take our private luxury tour guests in Los Angeles to see the star unveiling ceremonies we will note the memorials and draw our guests’ attention to them with a little story about the person.
Do you think he will devise a gag to have guest celebrities polish his Hollywood Walk of Fame star right in front of his studio? He could if he wanted to because this Friday, January 25th, Jimmy Kimmel will become the 2,489th star honored on Hollywood’s favorite sidewalk. His star will be on the ground right in front of his studio at the old Masonic Temple (now the El Capitan Entertainment Center) and just down from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, those good folks who count and maintain the sidewalk commemorations. The ceremony is bound to be raucous and fun and we and our private luxury tour guests will pause in our sightseeing around Hollywood to participate (laugh, take pictures, laugh some more). We love visiting these ceremonies even more than waving at the driveways of the celebrity homes in Beverly Hills and Bel Air because, well, you can see the people who entertain us. And they do entertain us at these events. We are only sorry there isn’t a star ceremony every day!