Archive for May, 2016
Our Private Tour Arrives in Style at the Beverly Hills Hotel
The famous Beverly Hills Hotel, affectionately known as the Pink Palace, on Sunset Boulevard is very much a home to Hollywood history. Movie stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood all the way through today and other entertainment industry royalty, as well as real royalty from around the globe, make this hotel and its private bungalows a regular stop when they need hotel accommodations in Los Angeles. The grand opulence (California style) is evident as you turn off the wide boulevard across from the Will Rogers Memorial Park into the short driveway leading to the porte-cochère and an able crew of valets to see to the parking of your vehicle. Just for the fun of it the hotel has set up a red carpet arrival for guests and visitors. Our guests on their private tour of Los Angeles knew immediately how to walk the carpet, stop and turn in their light and pose for their tour guide/paparazzi so they would have a wonderful set of pictures to go in their tour photo album. After the photo session we headed in for lunch at the fabulous Polo Lounge. We had talked up the restaurant’s McCarthy Cobb Salad. Who would we be dining with today? Which stars and dignitaries would be at surrounding tables and booths?
Hogwarts Charms Our Private Tour Guests
Why would anyone be surprised that in a land of magic there rises up a magic castle? Hollywood’s Universal Studios theme park now hosts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the centerpiece is Hogwarts Castle. In the part of the San Fernando Valley where the soundstages not only of Universal Studio but also Warner Bros. and Walt Disney create movie and television magic the adventures of Harry Potter are now there to enthrall visitors to the park and provide a magical addition to the many other movie/tv themed attractions. The Mummy, the Simpsons, Jurassic Park, the Minions, Fast and Furious, Transformers, Waterworld and Shrek are all rides and attractions that can keep visitors busy all day long. Here is what we suggest to our private tour guests in Los Angeles. Sign up for the Universal Studios VIP Tour. This is a smaller group tour that gets its passengers not only through a visit to the inner workings of the studio but also guarantees that every attraction is seen in the most expedient way. The entertaining Universal Studios tour guide manages the schedule and with Front-of-Line seating there is very little if any waiting and always great seats. Plus, for live performances you get to stay after the show and have an opportunity to speak with the actors. Enjoy the magic of Hollywood soon and visit us here in Los Angeles.
Capitol Records Stands Out on a Private Tour in Hollywood
Visitors with us on a Los Angeles private tour always notice that the “action” on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood seems to be bounded by Highland Avenue on one side and Vine Street on the other. That is pretty much true. From the 1940s onward this part of the boulevard has always bustled. Despite a brief lull in activity in the 1990s the bustle is back and as exciting as ever. Nightclubs, restaurants, shopping boutiques and movie theaters make this area a destination all day long for locals and visitors. We are mostly around here in the daytime guiding our passengers to their favorite Walk of Fame stars along the gilded sidewalk known all around the world. When we get to Vine Street where there are now golden stars decorating the walkway going north we can enjoy the spectacular building rising up from the street, a building associated with great music and celebrated bands and musicians since 1956. The first “round” office building in the world it was also remarkable for its state-of-the-art recording studios that hosted the Beach Boys and the Beatles just to begin listing some of the great musical artists on the label. We also tell our guests about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and then jump to OK Go, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban. The Walk of Fame stars leading up to the entrance to the famed music capitol include many great musicians. A challenge we like to present to our musically inclined guests is to recall a tune from each artist as we pass their star walking along Vine Street. That really makes our custom tour into a musical mystery tour.
Helicopter Tour Is Cool Above Malibu
It’s beginning to look a lot like summer everywhere we fly in Los Angeles. The warming weather is especially enticing at the beach and there is no better beach to observe from our aerial tour than those up and down the coast that are a part of Malibu. From south to north there are 23 miles of coastline that are Malibu. The Malibu Colony and its lagoon are where many will seek the sea and catch up on rays and Vitamin D (oh so important) so they can look their very best in this season’s swimsuits and beach wear. A good point break here means lots of surfers. We remind our private Los Angeles tour passengers who are greatly enjoying the low flight over the bay (Santa Monica Bay) that the Malibu Colony was where early Hollywood stars had their beach homes (as current Hollywood stars still do) and that the drive from the studios to the beach took hours in the early part of the last century. Funny, there are days now when it takes hours to get from Hollywood to Malibu…even in a Ferrari. Those travel hours today can be productive though with a cellphone making business calls possible and routine even with the top down. Flipper’s agent does not want to be late to meet with his client.
Sightseeing can be hard work. All those great Los Angeles sights to look at. All the history to understand. All the funny stories to laugh at. A private Los Angeles tour is a lot like seeing the city through the eyes of a trusted family member who knows where everything is and is a part of the Hollywood scene, an entertainer. We stop regularly as we drive around to explore the places of interest in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, downtown and even out to the beaches from Venice to Malibu. If we start our custom tour in the morning then by lunchtime we might have some big appetites to contend with in a city full of fine places to stop for lunch. So we do. One of the most requested lunch stops made by our guests who so often seem to know exactly where they wish to eat is The Ivy on Robertson in Beverly Hills. Why this particular restaurant? Well, they know from following the gossip out of Hollywood that this place is popular with the glitterati, the stars and the people behind the scenes and the dealmakers of the entertainment industry. Plus, the food is excellent. An outdoor patio bordered by a white picket fence gives our guests a chance to see all the faces of passersby and those entering the restaurant. The funny thing about Hollywood is that everyone looks like a movie star even when they aren’t. The fine food is just a part of the enjoyment of stopping for lunch at The Ivy. Our custom tour allows our guests to enjoy a fine meal along the way anywhere they wish. From “A List” to “D List”, above-the-line to below-the-line, we know places to go to restore our strength for an afternoon of touring in Los Angeles.
Our Private Tour Folks Still Like Her Hot
Marilyn Monroe was a star of stars and continues to imbue the air of Hollywood with her beauty and style. She has been gone now more than 50 years yet we can expect almost daily questions about her from our Los Angeles private tour guests. We not only know much about her but we can take our guests to see the homes where she lived, where she succumbed to a drug overdose, where she is buried, where she met Joe DiMaggio, where she filmed Bus Stop and many more interesting places around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Along Hollywood Boulevard we might even run into a Marilyn Monroe doppelgänger happy to pose with visitors walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame in exchange for a couple of ducats. A girl has to make a living, after all, and diamonds are a girl’s best friend. She has a star on the famed sidewalk. Nearby her handprints in the Grauman’s Chinese Theater courtyard are unquestionably the most touched and photographed. Her grave in a tiny cemetery not far from Hollywood is always decorated with flowers, mementos and lipstick kisses on the granite face of her tomb. She is never forgotten.
Our Private Tour Guests Love to Goof Off
Sightseeing is fun. It is supposed to be an enjoyable way to learn about someplace you visit. On a private tour in Los Angeles, however, our guests REALLY have fun. This is not just a factor of our tour guides all being from the performing side of the entertainment industry though that might be a part of it. Always ready with a joke, funny anecdote or a quick bon mot, each guide makes certain that their passengers are entertained as well as informed and excited about the sights and people they get to see as they navigate Hollywood, Beverly Hills, downtown and the beaches. The warm sunny weather most days of the year brings out the joy in our guests. The smiles all around them as Los Angelenos go about their daily business contribute to a fun atmosphere for their luxury tour of the city. And maybe it is partly caused by the snacks we serve aboard our luxury SUVs. Perhaps it is the fact that we are photographing our guests everywhere we go and making subtle suggestions that they forget about the usual family poses and let their inner-child come out. We once had a physics student suggest that the gravity might be lower in Hollywood. Now that would explain everything and why the “Hollywood Jump” is such a popular response to “smile for the camera” when we arrive up at the Hollywood Sign.
Our Private Tour Caters to Kids
Most of the 2,500+ stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are known only to our more mature private Los Angeles tour guests. Folks who have been around a while (at least since 1965 when the first stars were placed in the now famous Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk), seen lots of movies and television and remember the great stars of those, and earlier, days smile and reminisce as we walk along. Kids, however, do not have the advantage of time and find so many of the stars, well frankly, dull. We, however, know where the stars are that will excite our young ones sightseeing with us. Even though Mickey Mouse is as old as the hills he is a regular friend of all children and they delight in finding this star. Godzilla, the Munchkins, Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Bugs Bunny, Snoopy and Snow White are a just a few of the Walk of Fame stars we can be sure to pass as we are exploring Hollywood. Even when we are in the courtyard of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater we can take the children to see the handprints of young movie stars recognized in their day and talk about them, maybe even get them interested enough to watch an old movie. What little girl doesn’t like Shirley Temple, after all?
Our Private Tour Visits the Beaches of Southern California
Summer is just about here and the weather is fine and clear all along the Southern California coastline including right here in Los Angeles. Just ahead is the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer when the beach crowds, growing already, will explode. We have extraordinary beaches from Malibu to Playa del Rey and beyond. In fact, there are grand beaches all the way to San Diego. On our private Los Angeles tour we love to get our guests not only out of the car to see the beach front properties but right to the shoreline for some walking in wet Pacific Ocean sand. From here we can admire the swimmers and surfers. Some beaches will also have windsurfers skittering across the water out beyond the waves. Parasailing is also a popular activity on some of our beaches along the Santa Monica Bay. It seems that every year brings new toys to the beach so we are eager to see what inventions will come along this summer. A very popular sightseeing stop for our custom tour guests is Venice Beach with its boardwalk, skate park, sidewalk cafés and shops and all kinds of arts and information stands. Oh, and entertainment running the gamut from musicians to jugglers, magicians to psychics, comedians to opera singers. Eat, drink and be merry!
Our Private Tour Guests Love L.A. Live
Some of our Los Angeles private tour guests even stay here in the heart of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). L.A. Live is more than a slick name and logo it is a considerable force in the renewed life of a once failing downtown core. Grand hotels (including the Ritz-Carlton), movie theaters, the Microsoft Theater for live performance and many of the award shows seen by millions on television, the Staples Center which is home to four professional sports teams (Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks) as well as a regular concert venue for mega stars (Selena Gomez and Carrie Underwood coming up later this year), the Grammy Museum for lovers of all kinds of music and the L.A. Convention Center all are part of this redeveloped quarter at the southern end of downtown. We can easily spend a half of a tour day exploring and enjoying what L.A. Live has to offer. We also like to show our guests the historic parts of town, too. Old Broadway (undergoing its own renaissance right now as former movie palaces become entertainment showcases once again), the great downtown library, Pershing Square and the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the former banking zone now an arts district of creatively reused office and business space, Chinatown with its important contributions to the history of Los Angeles and the birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street – all of these sights and destinations and many more can impress any visitor to Los Angeles easily as much as Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the neighborhoods where we showcase celebrity homes and hangouts. Just so you know, this is a photo taken from a tour helicopter as we came through downtown and will be a part of the tour photo album our guests will have by the end of the day.