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Archive for December, 2016

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 30 December 2016

Get to the Getty in Los Angeles

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles

Vincent van Gogh’s Irises Touch Our Private Tour

This was at one time the most expensive painting ever sold (~$54M in 1987).  Painted in 1889 by Vincent van Gogh while he was institutionalized before his death, this painting is part of series painted in the asylum garden.  Our Los Angeles private tour guests were especially moved by this beautiful work as so many of the 1.3 million visitors to the Getty Museum every year find themselves to be.  We appreciate that so many of our guests understand that a private custom tour of this magnificent Southern California city can (and we think should) include visits to any number of our impressive museums.  Besides the two campuses of the Getty Museum (the Getty Center in Brentwood and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades), major art museums include the Broad Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum.  There are many more fine art museums and galleries as you would expect.  In fact, there is a whole art district in downtown Los Angeles.  Besides art museums, there are science museums, natural history, ethnic origin and Hollywood history museums.  We like to say there is a museum for everyone, even a kids’ museum.  We suggest a visit to a museum of interest to you as part of your private tour so you do not have to worry about driving, parking or timing.  We take care of that for you.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 28 December 2016

Fog Spares the Pier

The fog comes to Santa Monica but spares the Santa Monica Pier

Beautiful Views of the Bay on This Helicopter Tour of L.A.

We go on and on here about how perfect the Los Angeles weather is and how much our Los Angeles private tour guests appreciate the warm, clear days that greet them all through the year.  What we have learned is that even on days where we complain of a little rain or fog our guests still think the weather is extraordinary.  It is all relative.  Our extremes of weather do not range very far so we see cool days as a threat to our existence.  We have to wear jackets and caps?  Oh, no.  We need to find the umbrella.  Heaven help us!  Ok, admittedly we are weather sissies here in Southern California.  Thankfully our guests bring some sense to what variations in weather mean.  They are ready for a tour of Hollywood on a day when the thermometer in the SUV tells us it is only 64º by wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals.  They think it is beach weather.  They look down from our luxury helicopter to an encroaching fog bank along the bay and only notice how beautiful the sight is.  The Santa Monica Pier rises up where the fog seems to part and spread around but not over this funtastic beach entertainment center.  They want to visit the pier when we complete our aerial tour to experience for themselves the attractions built on this local landmark.  We will also take them to the Third Street Promenade to enjoy a city street turned into an outdoor shopping and entertainment mall.  We are delighted they are enjoying the winter weather.  After we drop them back at their hotel we can stop for a lavender hot chocolate at Demitasse.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 20 December 2016

Love the Beach in December

Our private tour family poses above Santa Monica Beach

Enjoy Quality Beach Time on a Luxury Private Tour in Los Angeles

Visiting Hollywood is great fun.  Movie palaces, stars’ names along the sidewalk on the Walk of Fame, stars names in cement in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, wax museums, historic hotels and the keen sense that Hollywood awards season is about to start.  Beverly Hills, too, is exciting.  We are talking about big celebrity homes with expansive manicured gardens, fancy boutiques, famous hotels, restaurants and bars.  However, as the days have become short and the weather throughout much of the northern hemisphere has gotten cold and wet we offer our Los Angeles private tour guests a chance to do their sightseeing where the waves are breaking and the sand is warm.  If you are planning a winter visit to Southern California be sure to bring your shorts and sandals.  Oh, and your sunglasses.  We can take you along Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood, through Beverly Hills and other ritzy movie star neighborhoods all the way to the ocean in Santa Monica.  We like to park and walk along the palisades in a long park overlooking the bay just to point out some historic homes and buildings right on the beach as well as the somewhat well known beaches visible along the coast from this vantage point.  From here we can head north to Malibu or south to Venice and Manhattan Beach (or we can go both north and south – it is your custom tour, after all) and find the perfect spot to enjoy the warm weather, fresh sea air, and the outdoors and beach culture that Los Angeles is famous for (Baywatch, anyone?).

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 19 December 2016

Smiles in Front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Our private tour family poses in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater

No Private Tour of Hollywood is Complete without this Picture

Even on an overcast, colorless day there is plenty of color in HollywoodGrauman’s Chinese Theater has been a rainbow of dazzling hues since it was opened in 1928.  The grand movie palace that Sid Grauman built (along with the Egyptian Theater just a block down Hollywood Boulevard) remains not only an operating movie theater but one of the best theaters to see a movie anywhere.  Especially a big noisy movie.  That’s why Hollywood movie premieres are still hosted here.  The big crowd of Hollywood insiders will watch the film on the giant IMAX screen with all the technical bells and whistles that makes every seat perfect for sight and sound.  Throngs of spectators will gather in the forecourt along the red carpet paying respects to the great actors whose handprints mark the cement slabs and along the Hollywood Walk of Fame lining both sides of the street outside the theater.  When our private tour of Los Angeles gets to Hollywood we walk around and explore Grauman’s and we always gather the guests for photographs commemorating their visit here.  We will also walk to other nearby historic and popular sights like the El Capitan Theater, the Dolby Theatre and the Roosevelt Hotel.  For some modern fun we will spend time looking around the Hollywood & Highland Center, as much a tribute to old Hollywood as it is an exciting outdoor shopping mall (with some fine restaurants and snackeries).

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

Good morning, Mr. Giraffe

This is a happy giraffe we see at a local Malibu winery

A Giraffe on Our Wine Tasting Tour in Malibu

Meet Stanley.  He just one of the happy folk that we get to visit when we take our Los Angeles private tour on a wine tasting expedition to one of our favorite Malibu wineries, Malibu Family Wines.  We know he hears us coming because we like to fly in on one of our luxury helicopters and land in his back yard.  He does not seem to mind unless we disturb his kickball exercise.  We think he understands that despite the disturbance there will be Stanley the giraffe bends them like Beckham as we arrive at his winerysome fawning attention and food treats to come.  Smart animals, giraffes are.  Smart people our guests are who allow us to bring them up here into the Santa Monica Mountains above the Pacific Ocean to sample some extraordinary local wines.  We fill up the picnic table with a fine gourmet lunch to accompany the wine and encourage them to explore the grounds filled with movie props and a happy and friendly menagerie of beasts.  Of course, there are vineyards to marvel at on this relaxed wine expedition so close to the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles.

 

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 15 December 2016

Yippee Kay-yay! Saddle Ranch – Sunset Strip

Our private tour guest rides the bull on the Sunset Strip

An Action Lunch on this Private Tour in Hollywood

One of the most entertaining “theme” restaurants around Los Angeles, this one right on the Sunset Strip, is the Saddle Ranch Chop House.  From our real cowboy guests enjoying a luxury private tour of Los Angeles to those who are only urban cowboys and wannabees, here is a fun saloon with good food, good music and, yes, a mechanical bull right in thYou can't miss the Saddle Ranch Chop House on the Sunset Stripe center of all the action.  Los Angeles does “faux” right as you would expect in our city of make-believe.  The Sunset Strip has always been a stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Hollywood and Beverly Hills where entertainment was the principal objective.  Bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters… it is difficult to characterize or even remember from day to day what choices are available for visitors and locals alike looking for something fun to do.  If our guests are hungry as we cruise along the boulevard and if they are in a Texas frame of mind then we can pull right into the Saddle Ranch for some good grilling, beers and maybe a little bull-tussling.  For our guides it is always fun to see their guests enjoying themselves in a rodeo way and even a little two-stepping to country-western music is a nice change from, say, the Hard Rock Café.

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Luxury Tours of Los Angeles - 3:00 14 December 2016

Hotel Fit for the King

That's the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey seen from our luxury tour helicopter

The Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton is Perfect for Our Private Tour Guests

Los Angeles is fortunate to have not just one but two Ritz-Carlton hotels to serve visitors to our part of Southern California.  We love them both.  The downtown Ritz-Carlton is a central part of the new L.A. Live center in the southern part of the city core where all new buildings and activities have been springing up of late.  Restaurants, museums, theaters are making downtown alive even after hours and one weekends.  For a more placid stay in the area there is also the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey (“MDR”), right on the ocean.  The luxury hotel is walking distance to Venice Beach and the bohemian seashore energy that has always been there.  Or guests can enjoy the offerings of the largest man-made marina in the U.S.  We run our yacht tours up and down the coast and to Catalina Island from here which makes it very convenient for our guests staying at the Ritz-Carlton MDR.  The hotel is also close to the Santa Monica Airport where we can board one of our spacious twin-engine helicopters for an aerial sightseeing adventure up to Malibu and then over Beverly Hills and Hollywood to downtown before circling back.  We notice at this time of year that the NBA teams here to play the Lakers or Clippers seem to like the Ritz (is it the large beds or the nutritious servings in the hotel restaurant, the Cast and Plow).  If you are planning a visit to Los Angeles you should consider staying where tours by land, sea and air are equally convenient.

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

Harry Potter Was Here and There

Harry Potter fans visit Grauman's Chinese Theater

Our Private Tour‘s Harry Potter Fans Love Los Angeles

Harry Potter is alive and well and all around Los Angeles these days.  FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is playing at both the Arclight Theater and the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood and at other neighborhood theaters.  But getting connected to past Harry Potter and Hogwarts characters is possible, too.  Grauman’s Chinese Theater has the hand- and footprints of Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint (Hermione, Harry and Ron, as if we had to remind you).  Everyone who visits the famous theater’s forecourt speeds to their favorite actors no matter which generation of filmgoer they are.  Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Gere, Johnny Depp…there are photos to be taken for everyone of those famous signatures.  The kids love the Harry Potter actors.  And that’s not all.  Next door to Grauman’s is Madame Tussaud’s wax museum where there is more Harry Potter to see and experience.  And then – Universal Studios now has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, a 3D ride and experience that will fulfill all the fantasies of everyone who grew up with the Harry Potter library in their bedroom.  If that wasn’t enough, our Los Angeles private tour guides know a spell or two that will make a sightseeing adventure of Hollywood and Beverly Hills especially meaningful for our young Harry Potter fans.

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

Solvang for Æbleskivers

Our private tour goes to Solvang where aebleskivers are on the menu

True Taste of Denmark for Our Private Tour from Los Angeles

A group of Danish settlers purchased a Mexican land grant in the Santa Ynez Valley back in 1911 and Solvang was officially a California town.  Farming in the verdant valley supported the population and the town grew in size.  Construction of the buildings, as can be seen in this tour photograph, emulated designs from the “old country” and a wonderful destination for visitors from all over the world came to be.  We arrive in Solvang because many of our wine tours head to this area renowned (almost as notable as the Napa Valley) for its myriad appellations of fine wines.  Our SIDEWAYS tour visits many of the wineries noted in the book and movie.  However, a wonderful part of any tour to this area just north of Santa Barbara (and about 140 miles from Los Angeles) is a look around Solvang.  Of course there are lots of wine stores but even better are the Danish bakeries.  We always love directing our guests to try what we consider to be the best baked good there is, æbleskivers.  Somewhere between a pancake and popover this baked doughball is served with jam or honey.  Around this time of year one should enjoy their æbleskiver with a glass of gløgg (mulled wine).  We can walk around to see a replica of the famed mermaid statue from Copenhagen and tributes to Hans Christian Anderson.  Very close by is the Mission Santa Inés for our guests who might be traveling the mission trail through California.  For our guests wanting to spend a day sightseeing out of Los Angeles we will always suggest a private tour of the Santa Ynez Valley for the beauty, the history, the wine and the æbleskivers.

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

We Will Meet You at LAX

An aerial view of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX – Gateway to Los Angeles and Start of Private Tour

Think about it – 75 Million people in and out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last year.  Talk about busy airports.  LAX is the largest and busiest airport on this side of the country and handles domestic and international flights from all over the world.  With its four runways and six main passenger terminals the airport is a major hub of activity all hours of the day and all days of the year.  It can be a bit intimidating to less experienced travelers on the best of days.  Considering there are constant construction projects and you can understand why passenger flow and traffic in and around the terminals can be daunting.  We offer to help our guests who manage their arrival time to also be a start time for a private tour of Los Angeles.  That way we can meet them at the airport, show they the best parts of the city, and at the conclusion of their tour drop them and their luggage at the hotel where they are staying.  We make these arrangements often because our guests appreciate the service.  We can also plan the converse where we pick up our guests and baggage at their hotel, go sightseeing, and then drop them off at the airport before their return flight home.  Since our guests also arrive in Los Angeles by cruise ship and train we can make similar pick up and drop off plans at Union Station or the Cruise Ship terminals in San Pedro and Long Beach.  When these arrangements work out just right it is absolutely the best way to go.  See you at LAX.

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