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Archive for May, 2016

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 16 May 2016

Tower Records – A Hollywood Dream

It looks like Tower Records has returned to the Sunset Strip in W. Hollywood

Our Guests on Their Private Tour Remember the Halcyon Days of Tower Records

The great music store is long gone and well remembered.  Tower Records was once a focal point of musical activity on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood but it is now just stories, books and a well-received documentary by Colin Hanks (All Things Must Pass).  As a part of the festivities surrounding the premiere of the film the currently unused building was repainted in the grand yellow and red banner so familiar to anyone who bought music during the 45 years that Tower reigned in music sales.  Begun in Sacramento, the business by the late 60’s was in major cities around the U.S. and soon thereafter in countries all around the world.  The Sunset Strip store is probably considered the most iconic of the stores located as it was in the heart of the Hollywood music and entertainment scene.  There were impromptu concerts and appearances by music greats.  You never knew who you would bump into in the stacks of records and later on CDs.  Our private tour of Hollywood had aboard this day some folks who were so excited to see the store and then so disappointed to learn it was just an empty building where Tower Records once flowed with the rhythm of rock ‘n roll.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 13 May 2016

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

This is an aerial view of Dodger Stadium early on game day

Dodger Stadium – Impressive Even to Our Private Tour Guests Who Aren’t Baseball Fans

Those of us who do appreciate America’s National Pastime think of Dodger Stadium as the home of Vin Scully and lots of incredible baseball history.  There are Dodgers games and players we were fortunate enough to see in person and those we read about or saw for the first time in a documentary film.  Everyone knows that the team began back in New York, in Brooklyn, as the Trolley Dodgers way back in the earliest days of professional baseball.  We are talking the late 1800s.  But as the nation grew and the baseball market expanded there was an opportunity for the team to move to the west coast in 1958 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were born.  This gorgeous stadium was built in Chavez Ravine, just north of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) and right off the Pasadena Freeway.  Cozily nestled in this verdant valley, the freeway and the Arroyo Seco on one side and Elysium Fields and the Los Angeles Police Department Academy on the other, the view afforded to the comfortable crowd is quite special.  We can fly over the field before the crowds arrive so that our Los Angeles private tour guests can look down from our hovering helicopter into the perfect field of play and imagine the dulcet tones of Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully making the game in front of him an integral part of the entire history of baseball.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 12 May 2016

All Things Disney Start Here

The front gate to the Walt Disney Co. in Burbank

A Private Tour of Movie Studios Brings Us to Disney

There are five major movie studios in the world that anyone can likely name: Universal, Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers and … Disney.  Ask a young person to name the major movie studios and you probably only get one name back.  Yes, Disney.  We grew up with Disney in our parents’ days and the same for most grandparents around today.  Of course, young folks have even more Disney films, television, music and products than ever before.  When we have a family on board enjoying a private custom tour around Los Angeles we get lots of Disney-related questions from the youngsters.  Often that means we will journey to Burbank and drive around the The Walt Disney Co. studios.  We can point out the features of the lot that speak to our young guests and impress their parents with stories, facts and statistics that make this studio facility stand out.  This particular studio has been the home to Disney films since 1939, constructed with the profits from Walt Disney’s hugely successful first full length animated motion picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Last year revenue for the studio exceeded $50 BILLION.  That’s incredible when you think of Walt’s modest start in a Los Feliz garage (ask and we will take you to see that).  Disney really is everywhere in our lives and especially around Hollywood.  Of course, Disneyland is less than an hour away.  Yes, we like to think of ourselves as an “E-ticket” ride through Disney’s world.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 11 May 2016

Lollipop Trees in LA-LA Land

Perfectly coifed trees line this portion of a Bel Air road

A Favorite Bel Air Road on Our Private Tour

Bel Air is a neighborhood in Los Angeles.  A very nice neighborhood.  Mansions, swimming pools, gated driveways, security guards, prep schools for the rich and famous and a favorite destination on a Los Angeles private tour.  Sure, Beverly Hills has celebrity homes that we often take our guests to see.  Beverly Hills has wide palm tree-lined avenues city parks and the Golden Triangle, the business and shopping district that includes Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard.  Bel Air, on the other hand has the Hotel Bel Air, distant and secluded, a beautiful and fancy hideaway for the five-star hotel crowd.  Otherwise, we show off narrow twisting streets passing by homes of historic Hollywood importance.  There are also fabulous gardens and lollipop trees.  Join us on an inspection tour when you visit Los Angeles and we will see where Fresh Prince lived, the home of Ronald Reagan, where the Beverly Hillbillies lived (sorry, not in Beverly Hills at all), the ruins of the estate of Johnny Weissmuller and many other great homes and gardens to go along with all the stories our guides can share of the residents, then and now, of Bel Air.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 10 May 2016

Forever Blowing Bubbles

Bubbles float like snow at the Grove in Los Angeles

Always Surprises When Our Private Tour is at The Grove

The convenience of our private Los Angeles tour is that we meet our guests at their hotels when they are staying in the area.  We also meet them at whatever time of the day they want.  That is the essence of a private custom luxury tour.  From their hotel we show them around the city visiting all the destinations they express an interest in seeing.  No set route, no set itinerary.  We can proceed, double back and stop whenever our guests wish.  Now, sometimes our guests are driving into the city just for the day and request that we meet them where they can park their vehicle.  That is pretty common.  One of our favorite rendezvous locations is The Grove.  This wonderful outdoor shopping mall is unlike any other (except for the developer’s equally impressive mall in nearby Glendale, the Americana at Brand).  Designed to be like a village there is dining, entertainment, shopping and apartment-living all in one location.  The mall is extremely walkable but there is also a double-decked trolley that circumnavigates the mall to save some wear and tear on the soles of our guests.  The Grove is immediately adjacent to Los Angeles’ famed Original Farmers Market which only adds to the pleasure of spending time here.  We find that the ample parking (most important, a valet service!) and assorted activities make this a perfect place to meet our guests.  They can really enjoy themselves before and after our tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and wherever else in Los Angeles they want to visit with us. And who knows, they might find themselves there the day a giant bubble-making machine is rolled out.  Bubbles in spring, as joyful as the manufactured snow that falls here during the winter holidays.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 9 May 2016

Ready for Some Music in Hollywood?

The Hollywood Bowl is ready for an exciting season ahead

Our Private Tour Looks Close at the Hollywood Bowl

We are only a month away from the start of the 2016 Hollywood Bowl Season.  The kickoff event is always the Playboy Jazz Festival hosted once again this year by the hilarious George Lopez.  This two-day event brings to this historic location the best music and the best people to enjoy an ongoing feast of sounds in beautiful Los Angeles weather.  Less than a week later the official opening of the Bowl will be an evening with Steely Dan and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Enjoying a concert is this grand outdoor facility (a city park in actuality) is fun for the music and for the opportunity to be somewhere where people have been gathering under cloudless skies for almost 100 years.  There is even the Hollywood Bowl Museum that we take our private Los Angeles tour guests to visit.  Everybody who is anyone in the musical world feels wildly fortunate to be invited to entertain at this venue.  But music comes in many forms and in a neighborhood famous for creating film blockbusters you must consider coming here for a movie sing-a-long.  The first is at the end of June – the Sound of Music sing-a-long.  Itself an annual event (one of Hollywood’s favorite things) the audience comes dressed in lederhosen and habits, full Austrian attire, and with picnic baskets filled with foods suitable for an outing in the Tyrolian Alps.  This is just the start of a summer full of classical, ethnic, country, rock ‘n roll and special events.  We love our summers when the Hollywood Hills are alive with the sound of music.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 6 May 2016

Appreciating Don Knotts in Los Angeles

Our private Los Angeles tour visits the grave of Don Knotts

Our Guests Direct Their Private Tour to Visit Don Knotts

We are generally not very far from our guests’ hotel by the time we already have determined who their favorite celebrities are.  Some guests board our luxury SUV with very complete lists of who their favorite movie stars are, which television shows they grew up loving and what they like to watch now.  Favorite musical performers, radio personalities…we generally have wonderful suggestions as to where to take them as we enjoy a private custom tour around Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  This day we were talking right away about the Andy Griffith Show and funny man Don Knotts.  “Would you like to visit him at a tiny little city cemetery?”  Our guide was astounded by the joyful response from his large group.  They were like kids again excited about meeting a movie star.  Well, almost.  But as you can see above this was the top spot for them at the Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery.  Sure, we went to see Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Farrah Fawcett and many other important and familiar Hollywood names while we were there but it was Barney Fife and the Incredible Mr. Limpet that our guests were most pleased to spend time with and we were happy to give them all the time they wanted.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 5 May 2016

Downtown Los Angeles in the Mist

Like Oz, downtown rises through the morning mist as we fly over Echo Park Lake

Our Private Tour Gets Awesome Aerial Photographs

Los Angeles is probably one of the most photographed cities in the world if only because this is a major media center.  Movies, television, and news networks create millions of photographs and film sequences a year.  Add in the fact that everyone has at least one camera equipped cell phone with them at all times and we can hardly imagine the number of images that are created every single day here in Los Angeles.  And we contribute to that.  Our guides all carry with them very high quality digital SLR cameras and as part of their duties photograph their guests and the places they go throughout their private Los Angeles tour – even from inside their tour helicopter as seen above while the tour group flew toward downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) and were nearing Echo Park Lake.  All of these photographs go into a digital tour album that the family can share and distribute as they wish.  Imagine photographs of the entire family all the time, no missing persons.  Imagine having someone taking photographs who does it every day and knows the best places and angles to take pictures of all the famous locations in and around Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Venice and downtown Los Angeles.  We do this so often our pilots know exactly where to slow or hover so that the best aerial photographs are possible.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 4 May 2016

Up in the Sky Even Before Takeoff

Pretty girls prepare for a helicopter tour of Los Angeles on top of a skyscraper

Hundreds of Feet Up Already Our Private Tour Prepares for Flight

The skies are clear and the wind is calm at our rooftop helipad in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).  We are taking photos of our guests posing with their luxury helicopter before we take to the sky for a one-hour flight around Los Angeles.  We are ready to show them several local universities from the air: USC, UCLA, Loyola and Pepperdine.  Maybe they will want to go to school in this wonderful city.  We will also get a good look at the Los Angeles beaches from Marina del Rey all the way to Malibu.  We will encourage them to compare celebrity homes on the surf and movie star mansions in the hills nearer Hollywood Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Brentwood, Bel Air… there are some amazing properties to see from above as we soar over the traffic on Sunset Boulevard.  If our guests think the rooftop departure was exciting, suddenly seeing themselves way above the sidewalks of downtown, then just wait until we circle in between the tall buildings enroute to our gentle landing on what seems at first way too small a landing zone.  This is better than an amusement park ride.  We’ll finish off the tour with a sightseeing excursion in our SUV to see close up some of the wonderful sights of the city we just saw from the air.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 3 May 2016

Guys, Get Your Nails Done Here

Where guys get their nails done on Melrose Ave. – Hammer & Nails

Where Husbands on a Private Tour Can Get Their Nails Done

In a city of beautiful people we know where to go for shopping so that our private Los Angeles tour guests can dress like the celebrities whose homes we have just visited.  One wonderful street full of cutting edge fashions and designs is Melrose Avenue.  Most fashion boutiques are there for women, as you would expect.  But there are still plenty of places where men can shop (or be taken for shopping).  From hippie to hipster, from dealmaker to doctor, there are stores along this mile long stretch of retail businesses for every look.  And now, to counter all the store fronts catering to female grooming (hair and nail salons) there is now a nail salon just for men.  Hammer & Nails is modeled after the ideal man cave to let guys let their hair down as their finger- and toenails are shaped to perfection.  If you are a fan of Shark Tank then you might have seen this unique concept featured back in September, 2014.  Since then the Melrose store has flourished as Michael Elliot, its creator, envisioned.  Not to be a shill for this manly business, there really is more to having pedicures than looking good in sandals (pretty much yearlong footwear in Los Angeles).  There are a good number of health benefits attributed to well cared for feet and nails.  Health is important so feel free to make an appointment even during a custom tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills with us and we will deposit the men here and carry on shopping along Melrose with the women.

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