Archive for July, 2015
Late Private Tour Brings Golden Beauty
Our private Los Angeles tour guests were awed by the spectacular beauty of Los Angeles as the sun went down. We were aloft in our luxury helicopter as the golden sunlight bathed the city and the neon lights were lit. The famous Hollywood and Vine intersection is featured in this photograph from their tour just up from the circular Capitol Records building. The Pantages Theater appears just above the landmark round tower where Frank Sinatra and Beatles recorded so much great music. Just above the Pantages is the W Hollywood. The red building to the right of Capitol Records is the Redbury, a recent boutique hotel addition to the Hollywood scene. The Knickerbocker is a Hollywood destination for our guides to tell stories about Harry Houdini’s ghost and other strange spirits of old Hollywood. A ground tour following the 1-hour helicopter ride takes our guests back to this neighborhood for a street-level look at the buildings and businesses and for a real taste of old and new Hollywood.
We Park Here Sometimes for Our
Beverly Wilshire Private Los Angeles Tour Guests
We just had to snap this image of the yellow Ferrari 458 Italia parked on Wilshire Boulevard in front of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire hotel because it so perfectly suited the decor of the building with its yellow striped awnings. It is also the kind of automobile you expect to see in the vicinity of this grand luxury hotel. In a world of Bugattis, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis and Maybachs we find a particularly heavy concentration of these highly engineered expensive vehicles around the five star hotels where we often meet our private Los Angeles tour guests to begin their tours. In this part of Beverly Hills, the Golden Triangle, shopping, dining and accommodation are all top notch and their clientele arrive in some of the finest cars we get to see on the road. With the exception of restored classic cars, the late model vehicles populate the streets in Beverly Hills and Hollywood and the streets often resemble a cruising Concours d’Elegance. Join us on a custom tour and let’s see how many fancy cars we can spot together. Of course, we can also visit the Beverly Hills car dealers and the Nethercutt Collection nearby to see luxury cars on display.
Our Private Tour Guests Enjoy
Europe in Los Angeles
It is a taste of Italy as designed by a far-seeing developer at the turn of the last century. Abbot Kinney wanted to create the Venice of the West and so earmarked coastal wetland, a trolley car ride from downtown Los Angeles, as the location for a new Venice. Complete with canals and gondolas, restaurants, hotels and stores, there was also a giant wooden pier stretching out into Santa Monica Bay upon which arose the carnival atmosphere of the time. Venice was a place to go to get away from the rigors of city and Hollywood life. Before the term was coined here was the ultimate Los Angeles “staycation.” It remains so to this day though considerably changed. Gone are the pier and most of the canals. Gondolas for public use are now privately owned duck boats and dinghies. The central plaza and waterway are only remembered in paintings, drawings and photographs. Remaining, though, is a vibrant boardwalk (though not constructed of wood any longer, just boring asphalt). Restaurants abound. A magnificent beach. A bike/skate path meanders along the coast between the boardwalk and the beach and there is a world class skate park. Muscle Beach still beckons the strong and handsome physiques of body builders. It is a playground, really, still to this day. We entertain many “staycations” on our combination air + ground Los Angeles tour and give locals a chance to enjoy the scenery in the beach community without having to think about directions and parking.
Private Tour Guests Enjoy Great
Advertising is big in Hollywood where movies are on the minds of everyone. There probably are people seeing this giant banner ad for Ant-Man who worked on the film. I’m sure Paul Rudd drives down Sunset Boulevard on this part of the Sunset Strip regularly. He might even notice that the Ant-Man on the side of the building is about his height. Our private Los Angeles tour guest wondered aloud what would happen if the switch was turned off. His guide replied, “A movie theater would dim. Only Ant-Man can save the summer.” We will read later in Variety if he is right and it is looking good so far. But Tom Cruise has not weighed in yet. There is still a lot of summer fun, summer movies and summer tours of Los Angeles yet to enjoy.
Our Private Tour Guests Enjoy the Rare
Summer Rain in Los Angeles
We do not think that anyone traveling to Los Angeles in the summer expects it to rain. There are songs, poems and entire novels written about our coastal desert city and how dry it is. The truth is it does rain here in the summer from time to time. After all, south of us in Central America and Mexico it is hurricane season. These storms generally dissipate long before arriving north of the border. The remnants turn inland and become the beloved monsoons of Arizona that bring them relief from the blazing summer heat. But now and then the storm survives and makes it up past San Diego and into Los Angeles. We had several welcome days of rain recently. More welcome than usual as we are in the midst of a devastating drought and every drop of water is wished for and welcome. Does the rain affect our private Los Angeles tour guests? Not much. We carry umbrellas aboard our vehicles throughout the winter rainy season and know to repack them when these unexpected summer rainstorms appear. We also know the best “cover sets” (that’s a Hollywood term for secondary locations to film when the weather turns inclement) to take our guests to see if the worst of the storm is pelting us during their tour. The only downside, really, is that the first rains raise lots of dust that requires an additional washing of our luxury SUVs.
Our Private Tour is a Modern Family Home Tour
When our private Los Angeles tour family that day settled into our luxury SUV and we inquired about any particular things about our city interested them they answered quickly, “We love Modern Family.” As it turns out we know where all the Hollywood area locations are that fans of the show know so well. Along with the usual sights and destinations of Hollywood and Beverly Hills we made sure to get to a number of these easily recognized production locations. Above, the Dunphy house. Along the way we made quick stops at Cam & Mitchell‘s house and the Pritchett house. Our guides take great pride in following new television shows and movie productions to learn the homes and important locations. We share the information at our regular staff meetings so that we can instantly respond to any request by our guests. Sometimes our guests arrive with a particular star in mind which allows us to create a very special custom tour for them. Who is your favorite star? What is your favorite television series?
A Private Wine Tour Is for the Birds
Big birds. Really big birds. Ostriches and emus. They reside at a 33-acre ranch just outside the famous Santa Ynez Valley wine region of southern California. Favorite stopping points around here are Solvang, a Hans Christian Andersen Danish village with all the appropriate storefronts and foods you would expect and Pea Soup Andersen’s where the best pea soup you can imagine is waiting for you at the restaurant beside the windmill. But back to the ostriches and emus and why a private Los Angeles tour might be up in this part of the state. We feature a number of wine tasting tours. Our most popular is the Sideways tour up to this wine region just north of Santa Barbara. It is very drivable and even more easily arrived at in one of our luxury helicopters. Sideways you should remember is the critically-acclaimed independent movie celebrating wine and old friends. The film was about a wine tasting expedition through the beautiful landscape of this valley and we duplicate it in part. After several visits to sumptuous vineyards and appropriate sampling of their vintages we offer our guests a little sidetrip to see the giant birds of Ostrichland USA. Four dozen or so of these birds reside here on a brushy plain much like their native Australia. Ostriches made their first appearance in Anaheim back in the 1880’s when ostrich feathers were a common fashion accessory for women. Today they are farmed more for their eggs and meat. However, Ostrichland USA is more a zoo and natural habitat for the tall fast birds and a wonderful fun destination while tasting the wines of Santa Barbara county.
Our Luxury Tour Guests in L.A. Enjoy
Their First Huevos Rancheros
Even in the thick of summer when the inland temperatures rise into triple digits and the crowds throng to the coast to cool off we can still find ourselves looking over Santa Monica beach early in the morning while it remains calm and unpopulated. This is the best time of day to head to one of the little restaurants along the beach to enjoy a barefooted breakfast on the sand. Our custom Los Angeles tour guests often take advantage of the “custom” part of our tours and we park and order a typical Los Angeles breakfast – eggs Mexican style, maybe with some chorizo and hot salsa. Spicy food makes you sweat which makes it seem cooler outside. That is not really the problem so close to the beach where the temperature is always moderate throughout the year but as we head to Beverly Hills and Hollywood the temperature can really rise. If it gets too hot then that’s when we start looking for lemonade or milkshakes and other Los Angeles cool treats. Our guides know all the best places to stop and we encourage our guests to speak up when they want something fun to eat or drink.
Beauty Is in the Eye of Every Beholder
on Our Private Tour
Most days a walk along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is just a peek into the shopping preferences of the world’s wealthy. Remember Julia Roberts in PRETTY WOMAN shopping on Richard Gere‘s dime? It’s like that. From lingerie to leather wallets to watches delivered by Brinks trucks, Rodeo Drive is a Mile of Style not to be forgotten. We usually window shop and sometimes venture into the designer boutiques for a closer look. Occasionally we even plan shopping trips here with our guests. There are not too many retail neighborhoods like this one. And sometimes something special happens. This day it was the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, a car show most fitting for this monied street in the middle of its little city. The only requirement for each vehicle was that it had to be beautiful. And they were. Cars from all ages of automobile history and lovers of cars of all ages. The old Bentley roadster pictured might have once parked on this street. Now it is one of a hundred extraordinary vehicles garnering oohs and aahs from the visitors to Beverly Hills including our private Los Angeles tour guests.
Our Private Tour Guests Love Blue
We flew low along the coast north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) past the wide waterway that connects Marina del Rey‘s expansive docks and moorings with Santa Monica Bay. The channel was busy with boating activities as it usually is but especially so on this nice summer day. The narrow ribbon of blue on the right in our private Los Angeles tour photo is Ballona Creek. We often see the UCLA crew out practicing in their sculls along here. Many of our guests stay in Marina del Rey and begin their tours here on the coast. We work inland in our road vehicle toward Hollywood, Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles. The helicopter tour gives our visitors a chance to see where all the neighborhoods are relative to one another as well as to take note of the rivers and coastal waters on this western edge of the city while appreciating the mountains to the north and east. Every view of Los Angeles is spectacular.