Archive for February, 2016
A Spring Break Shopping Stop on a Private Tour
Our next busy season is almost upon us. Four to six weeks of families with young people visiting Los Angeles when school is on break. The period is extended these days as every school takes a different week or weeks to send its students back out into the world. We will be setting up private Los Angeles tours for Spring Breakers from Europe, Australia and New Zealand and for families from all over the world. One thing kids like to do when exploring Los Angeles is to shop for the latest L.A. fashions. What the celebrities are wearing, that’s what they want. Where are the film stars and professional athletes buying their kicks and gear, that’s where we head for a bit of shopping as part of a custom tour. Melrose Avenue and Sportie L.A. is one of those great unique boutiques that identify Melrose as a shopping heaven where chain stores are not welcome. Where else would a young rocker want to look for stage wear? Shoes and jackets for men, women and kids are available. We can spend a good deal of time exploring and shopping along Melrose (and we have space in the SUV for lots of bags and packages) but there are several other exciting places to visit, too, where the theme can be shopping.
Remember When Ellen Degeneres Hosted the Oscars?
Our private Los Angeles tour guests are impressed with the preparations for the Academy Awards ceremony that will be hosted by the Dolby Theatre this Sunday night. The streets around the theater are slowly and methodically being closed while workers, machinery and security personnel are everywhere to be seen. In fact, it is a bit difficult for us to navigate to our favorite Hollywood landmarks at this time of year. It is a problem and it is a joy because the whole world will be watching this weekend and we are a part of this Hollywood. We are here all year long. The Oscars have been here at the Dolby all of the years we have been providing custom tours around Hollywood so we, like the producers of the program, really know the ins and outs of what we do and show our guests everything they want to see plus more: red carpet, giant Oscar statues, really big signs and banners. If they watch the Oscars on television they will recognize the area around the theater for the celebrity arrivals as well as the entrance to the theater and have a good understanding of the gauntlet of security and the logistics of getting everyone to the theater on time. Chris Rock will be a terrific host as he was a number of years ago but we pulled this photo from our tour files just for fun.
Our Private Tour Guests Can Take Off Their Sunglasses
Cloudy skies over Los Angeles are a welcome sight in these days of our extended drought. Despite an ocean full of water we in the City of Angels are responding to the deficit of drinking water by conserving any way we can. When the skies darken and rain falls we rejoice. We hope that our private Los Angeles tour guests do, too. So far we sense they are sympathetic as they continue to join us to sightsee around downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the beaches when it does rain. We provide umbrellas and know where to stop and explore so that even a drenching downpour does not bedevil us. However, even El Niño created storms fly through Los Angeles pretty quickly. In fact, so fast that we seldom have to cancel our luxury helicopter tours. Beneath the clouds the skies are clear and we can dispense with having to wear sunglasses. The advantage to that is we get better photographs of our guests enjoying their tour and it is easier to operate our camera. Even our pilots like getting to fly without sunglasses from time to time. The Santa Monica Pier with its oceanside Ferris Wheel and rollercoaster shine colorfully even in the winter gloom. People still visit the pier and come to the beach despite the prospect of rain. It is not cold and there is fun to be had in Los Angeles during a wet winter.
Spring Break for Skateboarders on Private Tour of the Beach
Los Angeles is a capitol of outdoor recreation. We have it all. You name it and we can arrange it for a part of your private Los Angeles tour. Skiing, surfing, horse riding, motorcycle riding, hiking, sailing, scuba, snorkeling, parachuting, bicycling and skating….inline and skateboarding. A much loved destination for us during the summer months and also during Spring Break (which is coming right up) is the Venice Skate Park on Venice Beach. Our custom tour guests are welcome to bring along their own skates and try out this well designed and highly favored bowl and street facility. A description from the Los Angeles Park Service reads, in part:
“The park is complete with plenty of smooth banks to gain a ton of speed in the flow bowl. There is also a large pool that we would not recommend for beginners but is a popular spot for the qualified vert riders. The street skaters love Venice too, there is a large street section with stair sets, ledges, rails, and boxes. Size: 16,000 sq.ft.”
We are not skaters ourselves so are not exactly sure what this means. However, our skating enthusiasts sightseeing with us do get the idea and take to the facility like seals to the bay (very nearby).
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Our Young Private Tour Guest Knows
As it turns out, our young guest was quite a big fan of Marilyn Monroe and could sing the songs from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her immediate target when her private Los Angeles tour arrived in Hollywood at Grauman’s Chinese Theater was to locate the hand and footprints of Marilyn Monroe and have us take numerous photographs of her posing with the ever popular cement block. She was a big fan of many of the old movie stars. Not so much of the famed courtyard’s most recent addition, Quentin Tarantino. However, the Hunger Games stars (Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson), another recent addition to the celebration of great movie stars (mostly), was another important find for her. Our guides know where the stars handprints are so their guests’ favorites can be quickly found just as they can get their groups to the block on the Walk of Fame where a treasured celebrity has a star and even drive to a local cemetery and visit a star’s final resting place. We understand the importance of connecting our custom tour guests to the great entertainers and filmmakers they love however we can.
Hearst Castle as a Private Tour Destination
We can list about five or six estates in California that can qualify as castles but only one of them is known that way – Hearst Castle (we are not including Hollywood’s Magic Castle in this discussion). Hearst Castle was built in 1919 on a 40,000 acre estate located roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco near the tiny coastal town of San Simeon. Famed architect Julia Morgan worked with the owner, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, over many years creating the palatial structures which have been maintained by the California State Park Commission since 1958. Hearst Castle is both a national and state landmark and is completely open to the public for tours. The four-hour drive from Los Angeles is remarkable with breathtaking views along our Highway 1 following the Pacific coast. For our guests wanting to arrive more quickly we can make use of one of our luxury twin-engine helicopters to fly up the coast and land at the castle’s airport much as the Hollywood movie stars and world dignitaries did in Hearst’s day. There are numerous tours we can join once we arrive at the mountaintop so that we can explore with our private Los Angeles tour guests everything there is to see. An indoor tour allowed us a chance to photograph the Roman Pool which really exemplifies the artistry and craftsmanship that is evident everywhere we explored throughout the estate. Does Hearst Castle put the other California castles to shame? We think so and we expect that our custom tour guests who have journeyed with us to Central California would agree.
Our Private Tour by Helicopter Gets Great Shots of Mansions
“Who lives there?” is an oft repeated question as we fly over some of the fanciest neighborhoods of Los Angeles (Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Palisades, Malibu) in our luxury helicopter. More often than not we have an answer. We make these flights regularly and study and read real estate news and share information at our office. We know. What is fun is how many times our guests will write us with an aerial photo from their custom tour attached to an email asking the same question. We get it. We take a lot of photographs on a one-hour trip around Los Angeles and we understand that our private Los Angeles tour guests will not remember all the homes we point out to them. Their tour album photos are identified by number and not named as we provide them to our guests almost immediately after their tour. We welcome their inquiries, though, and get back to them quickly with the identity of the residents of the home. We also generally drive back to these neighborhoods after the flight to see the entrance to the property (yes, often just a gated driveway). Still, our guests are thrilled and they have wonderful memories of their sightseeing tour of Los Angeles and its celebrity neighborhoods.
Good Grub and Fun for Lunch on Private Tour
The Sunset Strip between Hollywood and Beverly Hills is an exciting adventure in sightseeing for our private Los Angeles tour guests. Restaurants, hotels, night clubs, boutique shopping and the billboards and banners make it one delectable boulevard of eye candy. When we are here around lunch time and our guests are in a mood for grilled meat and barbecue in a country rock setting then we pull over and hitch up at the Saddle Ranch Chop House. Fine food and good music (country rock is a mainstay), a mechanical bull and the beautiful people of Hollywood providing us excellent service make this a destination we can recommend to anyone. Sometimes our more adventurous guests, many who remember Urban Cowboy, want to reenact a scene as John Travolta (or Debra Winger) and ride the bull. The kids love the food and the decor. There is nothing more Hollywood than a rock ‘n roll western grilled meat restaurant amidst all the glitz and glamour along Sunset Boulevard in this part of town. Do you remember the Saddle Ranch reality series on VH1? There is drama and comedy served with every meal.
Private Tour in Hollywood Can Mean Tour of Grauman’s Chinese Theater
There are not many movie theaters across America that offer tours of their premises. Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood does…and it should. One of the most historic movie palaces in the country it is also one of the finest movie theaters. Film lovers in the region go out of their way to see a movie here in Hollywood. The studios themselves love to schedule grand Hollywood premieres here as they have throughout film history. And, of course, there is the courtyard with the hand and footprints of Hollywood’s greatest movie actors and directors. If we can, and if our private Los Angeles tour guests wish, we love to join the small group tours of the movie theater so we can view the auditorium, one of the biggest there is, and remember back to the days of Sid Grauman and his wishing to design and construct great themed palaces where he could exhibit the latest blockbuster films. For Hollywood he built the Chinese and the Egyptian. Our guides (and the theater guides) add the history and stories that go with this great theater. Our guests just imagine what it is like to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX (largest in the world) in this beautiful space.
Our Private Tour Takes to the Air to Get to the Winery
The drive from any of the fine hotels where our private Los Angeles tour guests stay up into the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu is beautiful. We travel along the Pacific Coast Highway with the sights, sounds and ocean smells of the bay and then explore assorted canyon roads. The twists and turns reveal hidden ranches, celebrity homes and extraordinary views of Los Angeles and the Southern California Coast. It takes a while but we eventually arrive at one of many excellent Malibu wineries to enjoy some mouthwatering vintages. Or….we can skip the long drive and just fly to Malibu in one of our luxury helicopters. Right behind our favorite winery is a verdant pasture just perfect for a soft landing after the short and scenic flight. This means more time to enjoy a private tasting session with the professional staff of the winery. We also provide our guests with a gourmet picnic lunch to complement the wines we sample. Plus some samples will go home with our guests as a part of the tour. Wine, full stomachs and a tour album of fabulous aerial photographs and pictures of the happy, satisfied faces of our guests. Besides the Malibu wineries we can also fly or drive to wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara or head south from Los Angeles over to the Temecula wine region. We know our guests love wine as much as we do and we are always delighted to extend our knowledge for their private wine tour of Los Angeles.