Archive for January, 2016
Our Private Tour Guests More Interested in Surf than Snow
We drive up the Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Wilson from time to time, generally in the summer. For fans of astronomy and science there is a very active facility consisting of numerous telescopes and measuring devices on top of the mountain above Pasadena that are used to measure and observe the heavens. During the summer the area is fully open to the public and many drive up to see what is going on and rub shoulders with scientists and astronomers. Others hike up the mountain. During the winter, though, it is a bit chilly and sometimes even icy and snowy. As you can see from this frame-grab off of the Mt. Wilson webcam there is snow in the area from recent storms. We all hope to see more as the winter progresses and El Niño drives more wet storms our way. Once up there the views of the Los Angeles basin are spectacular. An advantage we continually mention to visitors at this time of year is the clarity of the air and the distances we can see from high vantage points. Mt. Wilson has been a science outpost since George Hale brought his telescope up there in 1904 because of the clear air and good weather. We urge all our science nerds on a private Los Angeles tour with us to consider a trip up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory. We can make arrangements for a private tour of the facility any time of the year. It is a beautiful drive with numerous pullouts and vista points to enjoy along the way. At this time of the year, if our guests wish, we can be up in the snow in the morning and then on the beach to watch the surfers in the afternoon.
A Private Tour Through Palos Verdes Peninsula Goes Near
Before Shamu down at SeaWorld in San Diego there were Orky and Corky up here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula at Marineland of the Pacific. From 1954 until 1987 we had an oceanarium here in Los Angeles that drew multitudes to watch killer whales and dolphins perform in pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While it was sad to lose such a popular destination as well as a fantastic restaurant location with views of the sea and Catalina Island (on clear days), the idea of keeping such creatures confined in pools and performing tricks for the public is not as acceptable today as it was back then as seen by the problems arising at nearby Seaworld. We think it might be better that the fabulous Terranea Resort and Trump National Golf Course has taken the place of Marineland with its PGA level golf course and other luxury amenities. Many Terranea guests enjoy our private Los Angeles tour. We can pick them up at the resort in our luxury SUV or land in our helicopter to take them on an enjoyable aerial tour of Los Angeles.
Our Private Tour Guests All Brought Their Sunglasses
And a good thing, too. Sunny Southern California is not a Hollywood-created description but a real phenomenon. There is sunshine here even in the midst of a desirably wet El Niño which thankfully is returning our lawns to green and filling our reservoirs and aquifers. We even have snow once again sugaring the tops of our local mountains and the nearby ski facilities are all doing bustling business. As you can see, most days out on a private Los Angeles tour our guests would be squinting against the low rays of a winter sun if not for sunglasses. The weather is even warm enough for short sleeves for our hardier visitors (from the north). The best part of a winter visit to Los Angeles are the clear skies. Precipitation and cooler temperatures bring great visibility (for a coastal community). On clear days you can easily see downtown Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Hills and even the Santa Monica Mountains near the beach. Catalina Island is often plainly in view. Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains will be snow-capped and easy to locate. Besides seeing everything that is all around Los Angeles we like to show our guests important locations up close where we can take their pictures…with sunglasses on.
Every Private Tour by Helicopter Sees Downtown Los Angeles
Sometimes we begin our helicopter tour from on top of a downtown skyscraper. That really makes our aerial tour of the city an adventure. Then, of course, the first sights we enjoy are the city skyline and inner city landmarks. In our tour photo above we see the tallest building (for a little while longer) west of the Mississippi, the U.S. Bank Tower. The historic Los Angeles Central Library is the seemingly tiny white building to its right. The cylindrical Bonaventure Hotel is in the lower left corner of the image. Even if we depart on our luxury helicopter from one of the nearby airports (Santa Monica, Burbank, Van Nuys) we still will navigate through the tall structures and get a birdseye view of the birthplace of Los Angeles, Chinatown, Union Station, the Music Center, Bunker Hill, Broadway and L.A. Live before we head over to the University of Southern California (USC) and the L.A. Coliseum. An hour long flight provides our private Los Angeles tour guests with a good look at the major part of the city’s 500 square miles from downtown (DTLA) to the beach, the local mountains, and the interesting neighborhoods of movie stars in Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air and Holmby Hills. Naturally, we pull up in front of the Hollywood Sign. And to really make our tour a VIP experience we drive back after the flight for closer looks at many of the sights and landmarks we saw from our helicopter.
Our Private Tour in Hollywood Sees Oscars Preparation
Barely more than a month away and already the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is buzzing with activity and excitement. The Oscars are coming to town. Again. As usual. Since 2002. Years to go in the rental agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (AMPAS). This is a really big deal for Hollywood, for Los Angeles, for the United States and for the WORLD. Alright, alright. Really, we are used to the changes in pedestrian and street traffic by now. The Academy, ABC and the Dolby Theatre have the preparation, ceremony and clean up down to a science. The city knows traffic control, security and street cleaning. Business owners are familiar with sales patterns and marketing for the period leading up to the grandest of Hollywood traditions that will be watched and discussed by just about every living human being. And we really know how to excite and amaze our private Los Angeles tour guests visiting Hollywood between now and the week after the Academy Awards with insights, history, stories and secret places to visit to get an inside take on this Hollywood gala. We never know who we will run into arriving for rehearsals or even if we get invited into the auditorium for a sound check. We know people. We know Hollywood. We really love to share what we love with our custom (very custom) luxury tour guests.
Sometimes a Private Tour Guest Wants More Than a Great Photograph
Our private Los Angeles tour guests love that we take photographs all the time they are with us sightseeing or enjoying a Southern California adventure. We relieve them of the need to bring out their own cameras (or cellphones) all the time and, most importantly, we capture everyone in the group in our tour photographs. Best of all, we take these photos all the time and are very good at getting the best angle and composition (our high end digital SLR cameras makes shutter speed and aperture settings easy for us) even for our much practiced “candid” shots. Since we take so many pictures on so many tours our guides are constantly looking for new images to capture and new techniques which we then examine during our regular staff meetings. In other words, our guests have wonderful tour photo albums when they go home. However, we also have guests who journey with us with their sketch books in hand. They visualize and capture memories in their own special way. We love getting images back of their work. Barbara Simcoe, a Tucson artist, sent us this photo of her painting of Avalon Bay taken on a luxury tour over to Santa Catalina Island. Just another beautiful Los Angeles day rendered so colorfully in acrylic and canvas. Barbara was not on the island for the Eco-Ziplining experience but was instead interested in finding vantage points to capture island life only 23 miles from Los Angeles.
A Funny Los Angeles Tour Means Memories of Robin Williams
If we are not the capitol of funny here in Los Angeles, at least we have tour guides who know their way around a joke and funny story. If our private Los Angeles tour guests want to be amused while sightseeing in Hollywood and Beverly Hills then we have the tour driving comedians to do it. Our people also share a love of the history of comedy and its Los Angeles influences. We pay particular attention for our passengers so inclined to the world famous comedy clubs all around the city. One in particular is The Comedy Store right on the Sunset Strip in W. Hollywood. An important historic denizen of Sammy and Mitzi Shore‘s (Pauly’s parents) comedy palace was Robin Williams. His distinct comedy voice was tragically lost year and now memories of him here at the The Comedy Store are wistful. But what do we do when we get too sad thinking about what used to be? We tell a funny anecdote and focus on what comedians are present and dream of those to come. Whatever happens, The Comedy Store will be a guiding light of humor and fun on any dark Los Angeles night.
No FOR SALE Sign at the Playboy Mansion for our Private Tour to See
One of the most popular destinations on every private Los Angeles tour that we do is the notorious Playboy Mansion where Hugh Hefner reigns. Since 1971 he has been the owner and principal occupant of this magnificent Holmby Hills estate which Playboy purchased then for $1.1M. That’s quite a Return on Investment with the current sale price set at $200M. As the CNN video outlines you get an awful lot for your money:
- more than 5 acres of prime residential real estate bordered by the famed Los Angeles Country Club;
- 20,000+ square feet (29 rooms) in a fabulous Arthur Kelly-designed Gothic-Tudor home built in 1927;
- the pool with the famed grotto;
- an aviary and zoo;
- wine cellar;
- screening room;
- basement gym;
- basketball and tennis court; and, of course,
- fabulous neighbors (which we will identify on your luxury tour).
Oh, by the way, Hugh gets to live in the house as long as he wants. That’s part of the sale contract. If you wish to make an offer on the home we have the number to call. Or, just contact us to take a close look at Hef’s neighborhood.
The Holy Grail for Our Private Tour Music Lovers
Many of the Los Angeles tour companies overlook the Rockwalk in Hollywood. True, it has been a long while since an artist was inducted (the last was Yngwie Malmsteen on October 13, 2008). However, our private Los Angeles tour guests will be taken here if they express any interest at all in contemporary music so they can experience a wonderful Hollywood sightseeing destination and an amazing music store. We consider the entrance to the very first Guitar Center a pantheon of rock ‘n roll and rhythm and blues gods and goddesses. Every music lover should have the opportunity to examine the handprints of those who have made the music that shaped our lives. There were 183 inductees from 1985 until 2008 covering a wide range of musicians, composers and performers who greatly “influenced” the music scene. Like the nearby Grauman’s Chinese Theater courtyard where movie stars placed their hands into wet cement to immortalize their place in Hollywood film history, here at the Rockwalk messy hands left a mark that loving visitors can touch and then remember, even sing and hum, the tunes that changed their lives.
Our Private Tour Guests Get to See the Walt Disney Concert Hall Inside and Out
We urge all of our private Los Angeles tour guests to take advantage of our custom tour style (no set itinerary, no predetermined route) to avail themselves of short tours of some of the many places we visit during their tour. For example, a visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH) in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) should be more than a walk around the extraordinary music facility famous for its eye-catching design by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry. The Music Center, of which the WDCH is part (as well as the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theater), offers regular tours so that our guests can see the beautiful auditorium and learn about the scientifically engineered acoustics that make this one of the best concert halls in the world for both the audience and the artists. Of course, even better than a daytime tour would be attending an event. We can make those arrangements for our guests if they wish. We also love to encourage interior tours of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theatre and the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, not very far from DTLA.