Archive for September, 2013
Extend Your Catalina Island Tour for the Jazz Festival
Starting this weekend and for two weekends after that, 12 days in all, the 27th Annual Catalina Island Jazztrax Festival will feature 30 wonderful jazz musicians who will perform Thursdays at the Descanso Beach Club and Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Avalon Casino Ballroom. Music to groove by 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles in what has been voted before the Best Jazz Festival in America. We know about music lovers from our years providing private luxury tours of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and all around Los Angeles. We design custom tours of Los Angeles featuring historic music destinations and sights relevant to current music industry activities. We expect guests to be in Los Angeles specifically for the JazzTrax Festival. The ferry boats will be running late and on strict schedules but our helicopters and yachts will leave the island when our guests are ready to go. We will make all the arrangements for our guests so that only have to sit back and enjoy the shows.
Los Angeles Tour Guests Collect Cars
We often spend a lot of time on our tours talking about cars. Our private luxury tour guests come from all over the world and are infatuated with America’s attraction to automobiles. They love our cars, too. As we have posted so often in this blog, we like cars and grab photos of them regularly as we drive throughout Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This photograph was recently taken on a tour as we were at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The ’78 Volkswagen microbus was stationed alongside high end Mercedes and BMWs like a happy family of German autos. Sadly, the VW bus will be no more. The last of its kind will roll off a Brazilian factory floor later this year. But do not lament. More than 10 million Volkswagen Transporter vans (“Kombinationsfahrzeug” in German) have been manufactured since they first hit the road in 1950 and many of them just keep on going. Easy to repair and maintain millions of these iconic vehicles putt-putt along roads throughout the world. They are still a regular part of the California beach and surf scene. Maybe a modern (safer) version of the bus will return some day like its forerunner, the VW bug.
Flying Helicopter Tours in Friendly Skies Up to Malibu
For the technically inclined, this larger aircraft pictured above is the most recent addition to our air fleet, the only Sikorsky S76 luxury corporate jetcopter on this side of the country. Beautifully appointed, speedy and quiet, we can fly to the Santa Barbara and Temecula wine districts comfortably for private tasting sessions at notable wineries. We can also quickly cross the channel to Santa Catalina Island for touring, ziplining or to attend a local festival. Also shown is one of our Eurocopter Twinstars, a smaller yet very luxurious jet helicopter that we use often for flying tours over Los Angeles from downtown to the coast and up to Malibu with great views from above of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This bird is perfect for our Malibu winery adventures. For those of you not so technically inclined, these are very pretty aircraft looking from the outside and extremely spacious and comfortable when looking at the Los Angeles sights from inside. Even if you think you do not like to fly in helicopters a tour aboard either of these two will surely change your mind.
Our Luxury Tour Guests See Miss Congeniality Get the Wet Cement Treatment
Hollywood has been busy lately putting stars in the sidewalk and handprints in wet cement. Yesterday our private Los Angeles tour guests were delighted to find themselves at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in time to see Sandra Bullock honored in what can be likened to Hollywood’s Hall of Fame – the Chinese Theater forecourt. Photographers from journals published around the world (as well as our intrepid and pushy guide) and plenty of fans and well-wishers were also there to see the beautiful actress make yet another mark in the history of Hollywood films. With a poster of her newest film behind her (Alfonso Cuaron’s outer space thriller GRAVITY with George Clooney) she graciously posed for the cameras and then knelt to place her hands in the wet goop for posterity.
Private Tour to Beverly Hills Number 1
The Pink Palace (or the Pink Lady depending on who you talk to) was designated Historic Landmark No. 1 by the Beverly Hills folks in charge of protecting their architectural history and culture. Of course, as anyone might guess when we bring our private Los Angeles tour guests to this photogenic corner in Beverly Hills, the Pink Palace is the Beverly Hills Hotel, a business many would consider the Number One hotel in the city. Steeped in elegant design and dedicated to guest comfort and luxury, you cannot help but feel special just entering the premises. We often enjoy lunch with our guests at the Polo Lounge, the hotel’s fine and recently remodeled restaurant and patio so favored by movie stars and entertainment industry movers and shakers. For 100 years this building has served its high class clientele and we expect that to continue for another hundred years. We hope to be there that long, too!
Hollywood & Highland Is a Grand Private Tour Destination
How else would you expect the escalator area to be made interesting in the heart of Hollywood? With a floating piano, of course. A grand piano and candelabra is suspended between the levels of the grand Hollywood & Highland Center, a superb location for shopping, eating and being entertained. There is always something going on at the H&H Center – music, magic, special events. So many interesting businesses are packed into this corner at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue (thus the name!) that we can bring our private Los Angeles tour guests here and spend a great deal of time, not even thinking about Grauman’s Chinese Theatre next door or the El Capitan Theater right across the street. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is very nearby as are three wax figure museums and the Hollywood Museum (in the pink art deco Max Factor building). Needless to say, this is a major sightseeing destination for anyone visiting Hollywood. Allow plenty of time to see it all!
All Our Los Angeles Tour Guides Say “Si” to Osteria Drago
Driving all the neighborhoods of Los Angeles regularly, especially along Sunset Boulevard, we note immediately when a new restaurant appears and make a point to get there if we believe it is a place our private luxury tour guests would like. That is definitely the case with Osteria Drago on the Sunset Strip just below Sunset Plaza. Celestino Drago, a renowned local chef with a wide range of successful Italian restaurants throughout Los Angeles, has done it yet again. With an ambiance he describes as “casual luxury” this comfortable establishment puts food and wine before its customers that quenches their thirst, satisfies their appetites and leaves them with an unremitting desire to return. The squid ink pasta with clams and white wine is squisito. Offering both outdoor and indoor seating we urge our own guests (and staff) to visit Osteria Drago for a very satisfying meal and some good people watching on the Sunset Strip. The restaurant is located between Beverly Hills and Hollywood so being anywhere around this lively part of Los Angeles will present an opportunity to stop in for a meal.
Salute the Women as You Enter Hollywood on a Private Tour
The Hollywood Gateway sculptures marks a starting point for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Often referred to as the “four ladies sculpture” (it really is five) the artwork on a traffic island in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard at La Brea captures the attention of every one of our private Los Angeles tour visitors to this glorious part of Hollywood. Designed by Catherine Hardwicke and built by Karl West it was dedicated in 1994. The featured women are women who distinguished themselves in the relatively new film industry with not only their beauty and talent but their business acumen as well. They were Dorothy Dandridge, Mae West, Anna May Wong and Dolores del Rio. This multi-talented, multi-ethnic group of actresses lead your eyes up to the top of the gazebo where there is a golden replica of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic subway grate pose from The Seven Year Itch. The Beatles and Elvis Presley are among the Walk of Fame celebrities with stars placed in the sidewalk near the sculpture. If you walk the Walk of Fame be sure to venture out to the island to enjoy the structure and design of the gateway.
Our Canine (“K9”) Tour Finds Beverly Hills Squirrel
Graffiti art is everywhere in Los Angeles and our private tour guests get to see numerous examples of this urban art on every tour. In fact, we can devise an entire luxury custom tour of Los Angeles graffiti and mural art if our guests are interested. Plus, if we have their dogs with us, we will be sure to take them by to see this lovely squirrel painted on an alley wall off Brighton Way in Beverly Hills.
Hollywood Farmers’ Market Has Exceptional Desserts for Our Private Tour
Our private Los Angeles tour guests are always curious about the Hollywood Farmers’ Market as we show them through Hollywood on Sunday mornings. Why is there such a large crowd south of Hollywood Boulevard around Ivar Avenue? Well, for more than 20 years (they were one of the first urban produce markets of this kind) Los Angeles has enjoyed fresh farm produce, crafts and artisan cooked and baked goods available in this central Hollywood location. Today there are over 160 stands situated along the blocked off streets. One of our favorites is Exceptional Desserts by Marybeth. Baking from natural ingredients (including vegan and gluten-free choices) her tangy lemon crunch bars are to-die for and the chocolate chip cookies mouth-watering. So good that Marybeth is now bringing her fine desserts to the cast of the new sitcom Surviving Jack. You don’t have to be a television actor to enjoy these treats. If you are out on a private custom luxury tour of Los Angeles with us on a Sunday morning each of our guides will suggest stopping at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Take them up on it! We’ll get the coffee for you.