Archive for November, 2016
Our Private Tour Guests Reflect on Families as the Sun Sets in Santa Monica
Wilshire Boulevard is the “Main Street” of Los Angeles. For 18 miles the wide roadway connects downtown Los Angeles to the ocean in Santa Monica. Traffic on this main road of a major city can often leave our guides praying for salvation as they bring their Los Angeles private tour families through Beverly Hills and West L.A. into Santa Monica, talking about the rich history, lucrative businesses and wealthy neighborhoods, telling stories and adding anecdotes, our guests never have any idea how fraught a particular journey has been. We have great guides who are all excellent drivers. But still, when they get to the end of Wilshire Boulevard there is a statue of Saint Monica, the bay spreading out behind her to the horizon, and our guides can offer up their thanks. The city is named for this patron saint of difficult marriages and wayward children but sometimes any connection to the sublime when arriving at Palisades Park is worth paying tribute to. Our guests on their custom tour often choose to walk along the palisades to admire the sea and the city, to look down over the beach and the homes of Hollywood stars built along the Pacific Coast Highway below them, to enjoy the sea breeze and, if they are lucky to be out late in the afternoon this time of year, enjoy a beautiful sunset. We are pleased to talk about the creation of the art deco Saint Monica statue by sculptor Eugene Morahan back in 1934 with money from a federal public arts project. As we parade along the cliff edge towards the Santa Monica Pier there are other interesting landmarks to pass by including a camera obscura. The lights on the pier come up to make it look like a dazzling scintillating jewel against the golden sky. Children with us are always attracted to the Ferris Wheel and the roller coaster. Thank you, Saint Monica, for having a fun and beautiful city on the sea.
Private Tour Enjoys Tea Time at the Pink Palace
Before there was a Beverly Hills there was a Beverly Hills Hotel. In 1912 the area looked nothing like the plush, verdant luxury neighborhood it is today. Nor did the hotel. More like ranch land and wide open space, even a race track for automobiles. But the years have been kind to the hotel and the city. A hideaway for movie stars (numerous bungalows and suites) and royalty from around the world this exquisite Mediterranean Revival structure captures the eyes and imagination of anyone traveling along Sunset Boulevard. Our office was abuzz this morning with discussion of an interview with Warren Beatty about his new film RULES DON’T APPLY. Ostensibly about Howard Hughes and Hollywood the hotel was often occupied by Mr. Hughes. Really occupied. As Mr. Beatty tells it, he, a brand new Hollywood star after the success of his first film, Elia Kazan‘s SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, was staying at the hotel…in one room. However, all the neighboring rooms were assigned to Howard Hughes. Mr. Hughes was unique. The stars still come out at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We often stop for lunch at the Polo Lounge and will subtly point out not only the celebrities but faces our Los Angeles private tour guests might not know, those belonging to studio executives and talent agents. Our tour guides not only follow the industry closely (it IS our bread and butter, after all) but most of them have years of studio and entertainment industry experience behind them and have closely encountered many industry people “doing lunch” at the Polo Lounge. Lunch on a private tour can be arranged or even a late afternoon visit for tea. We are very careful with our camera at the hotel. We respect the privacy of those staying there and do not wish to encumber our welcome at the hotel when we visit. However, outside the hotel, even on a rare windswept day with a rainstorm imminent, we can take great pictures of the hotel and our guests.
Our Private Tour Can Be More Than a Walk
We understand that sitting in a tour bus with a bunch of strangers, looking out the windows while listening to a scripted description of what is passing by can be, well, boring. Why not enjoy a custom private Los Angeles tour with a guide who will not only take you to the best sightseeing destinations in and about the city but let you get out of our luxury SUV and walk around. Feel free to pose for pictures taken by your guide that can go into your photo album along with all the candid photos that you will not have noticed being taken until you share your album with friends and family. More than just walking around Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach we can lead you on short (or long) hikes through the hills to see Los Angeles from places where only the locals know where to go. For instance, we can hike up a service road, past the old Batman television series Batcave (and other notable films and shows) all the way to the top of Mt. Lee where our guests will find themselves right behind the Hollywood Sign – Raise the “W”! Another easy and fascinating hike is up into Runyon Canyon where Hollywood and history come together. Plus, it’s good exercise. Eating the fancy snacks we keep in the vehicle will be negated by the good workout from our hikes. Enjoy VIP treatment on a luxury tour designed to suit your interests…from Hollywood to the stars (at Griffith Observatory or the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel).
Our Private Tour Guests Love This Photograph We Take
So many of our guests are wearing sunglasses on their Los Angeles private tour that when we drive into the hills to show them the Hollywood Sign up close we have an opportunity to not only capture their first look at the great historic billboard but we also can see the sign reflected in their Ray-Ban glasses. This is always a favorite photograph among all the photos we take of our guests as we explore Hollywood and Beverly Hills and then maybe head over to the coast for some sightseeing through the L.A. beach communities. Their tour photo album from us is always treasured even when they are taking their own photographs. We can tour for hours if our guests are interested. That’s a lot of pictures. Maybe today, after all the Thanksgiving feasting, doing some hearty walking around and hiking in the hills and along the ocean’s edge will be a good way to spend the day. Of course, it is also Black Friday, so it’s a good thing we have a lot of spare room in our SUVs for packages if sightseeing becomes shopping on Rodeo Drive, Robertson, Melrose and Montana and other exclusive shopping areas where the movie stars roam. The beauty of our custom tour is we can change direction and intention as we go along.
Paramount Pictures Is the History of Hollywood for Our Private Tour
If we pass by any movie studio on a Los Angeles private tour it will be Paramount Pictures. One of the big six, this studio began here in Hollywood in 1912 and continues to produce movies and television shows every day. Originally known as Famous Players and helmed by Adolph Zukor, the production entity soon merged with Jesse Lasky‘s production company and the distribution company both producers used, Paramount Pictures. Through these gates the greatest stars and filmmakers of the earliest days of Hollywood came and went. The business flourished as the U.S. and the world developed a growing hunger for feature films. New studios opened in and around Hollywood and in 1923 the giant sign, Hollywoodland, appeared at the top of the mountain overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Hollywood was now the capitol of filmdom. Our luxury tour guests love to talk about their favorite Paramount films and television shows like The Godfather and Star Trek and our guides will bring up other movies and programs to talk about as we drive around the studio. The studio has a lovely walking tour of the lot where our guests can visit some of the departments in action and see what a working movie studio looks like. Right behind this landmark “dream factory” is Hollywood Forever cemetery which we can drive slowly through and remember many of the celebrated actors, directors and artists whose creative efforts are cherished today. Many of these famous people were themselves Famous Players at one time.
Bring a Puppy on a Private Tour of Hollywood
One reason to bring your dog along on a visit to Los Angeles is a custom private tour where your pet is not only welcome but we see that there is as much fun for the animal as for its people. Our hiking tours are especially good fun for our four-legged guests. Runyon Canyon in the Hollywood Hills is a moderate hike with lots of sights along the way that harken back not only to old Hollywood and the likes of Charlie Chaplin but even to a notorious outlaw who made this canyon and park his home until, well, the law won. Now we are more likely to pass by young Hollywood stars out for a nature walk with their pets up and down the steep hillside. There are also the outdoor yoga classes. The views of the Los Angeles basin are spectacular as well as a a nice look at the Hollywood Sign to the east high atop Mt. Lee. If we head up early then the morning clouds will cool us down. We have water and snacks for everyone (yes, pet snacks, too!) and our guests will have a number of good photos of them and their doggie with Hollywood in the background.
Perfect Weather and Empty Beaches in Los Angeles for Our Private Tour
Thanksgiving is coming up and that will begin a busy period for the hospitality industry here in Los Angeles until after New Years. Right now it is quiet here in town. As you can see from a recent photograph taken on a tour of the shore the beaches are empty, even famous Venice Beach. Yet the weather is perfect. Perfect for long strolls along the water’s edge, perfect for sitting out in the sun with a good mystery novel, perfect for volleyball and frisbee or skating along the sinuous bike path winding through the palm trees lining the boardwalk. There are no crowds, no waiting in lines and, for sighteeing we have a private VIP tour available for you and your family on any day and at any time you want to go. If you have plans to visit Los Angeles during the holidays it is best to contact us early and reserve a day and time for your luxury tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills or, as we are suggesting here, a long visit to the beautiful beaches of our fair city.
A Favorite Home to Pass By on A Private Los Angeles Tour
The front lawn of 10000 Sunset Boulevard in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles seems always to be quite busy. People, children and pets are all engaged in life activities in a perpetual tableau. These are all sculpted works on display in front of this Wallace Neff designed home that has been occupied at one time or another by Vincent Minelli and Judy Garland, Howard Hughes and Jennifer Jones. The driveway was used in a scene in the classic film Sunset Boulevard. The work featured in this top photo is by J. Seward Johnson, Jr., scion of the bandaid empire and titled “A Little to the Right.” Below is the playful work of Mexican artist Victor Salmones, “Curiosity.” This is just one home we can visit during our Los Angeles custom tour that features significant art on display. Sometimes we can only see the art and not much of the home behind and the “life” of the house stand in suspended animation in a silent welcome to passersby and visitors.
There is Always Time for Tiffany & Co. When Your Private Tour Gets to Beverly Hills
Early is always a good time to arrive at the exquisite outdoor, top tier shopping area that is Two Rodeo in Beverly Hills. We can first pop in for breakfast at 208 Rodeo Restaurant and watch the early visitors to Tiffany & Co. next door. The morning sun illuminates the nooks and crannies of this European cityscape that is as much fun to walk through as to surrender to luxury consumer desires and enter the shops along the pathway. Besides Tiffany there are Versace, Brequet, Lladro, Jimmy Choo and Porsche Design (and a number of other fashion and design creators) ready to welcome discerning high fashion lovers. Two Rodeo is right in the center of Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle and at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard across the street from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Our Los Angeles private tour generally explores all around this part of Beverly Hills besides driving up into the mansion district to look at movie stars’ homes. Our guests can see where the celebrities eat, shop and live and experience some of the amenities themselves at the same time as they are enjoying the VIP treatment we give them.
Private Tour + Theater Tour + Movie = Strange
One of the great movie palaces of the world is the El Capitan in Hollywood where movie lovers and moviedom’s greatest filmmakers have been entertained since the first days of Los Angeles filmmaking. This incredible theater, opened in 1926 and later owned by Paramount, is now in the competent hands of the Disney Corporation. As we tell our Los Angeles private tour guests that means they can expect the best conditions and service possible even in a classic theater. Throughout the year there will be stage shows, special guests, movie premieres and all sorts of wonders and surprises above and beyond just showing in the best of auditoriums with the best of projection and sound equipment the best Disney movies. Since Marvel is a Disney operation that means that when Doctor Strange comes to town he gets a seat at the El Capitan. Our guests, instead of visiting a Hollywood museum, might want to spend some tour time with us in a great Hollywood movie palace. After a tour of the exhibits and premises we can marvel at the live organ raising and lowering from below the stage as if by magic. The waterfall curtain and lighting effects as the film program begins leaves the audience gasping in delight. The magic of Disney and the magic of Doctor Strange are a special combination that our guests can enjoy right now while they are visiting Los Angeles.