Posts Tagged ‘hotel’
Helicopter Tour Reveals the Marvels of the Sunset Strip
We like to fly. We have luxury twin-engine helicopters at our disposal and know Los Angeles as well from the air as we know it driving on the wide boulevards and narrow hillside streets. A private tour combining both an aerial circuit of the city from downtown to the coast plus a ground tour in our smooth driving SUV truly allows our guests to really get to know Los Angeles. One of the fun “pathways” we like to follow as we fly low over the city is along the Sunset Strip. This stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Beverly Hills and Hollywood is famous throughout the world thanks to the countless films, television shows, commercial advertisements and photographs created along this glitzy roadway. The Strip is forever populated by fashionable restaurants, luxury hotels, bars and nightclubs and every block, every building, has a story to tell. Pictured above is the Sunset Tower. A notable art deco structure located on a gentle curve along the famed boulevard it commands your attention as you fly over or pass by. The address and the building was an easy sell to celebrities happy to call it home: John Wayne, Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and too many other famous names to list. Opened in 1931 it was THE place to live for a long time…but not forever. The 80s saw a decline in the property that ultimately ended in its conversion to a hotel. That seemed to do the trick and a new cadre of famous players turned out to spend their Hollywood days and nights here. With its charm and excellent location the Sunset Tower is a wonderful accommodation that well suits many of our Los Angeles private tour guests. If staying here is not in your plans at least plan to drop in for a drink and soak up some fine Hollywood history.
Our Private Tour Guide Recommends the Santa Barbara Inn
You might call it a busman’s holiday but sometimes we at Elite Adventure Tours just need to leave Los Angeles and become sightseers in another city. One recent holiday by a member of our staff was to Santa Barbara, the American Riviera. This beautiful city on the Pacific is less than two hours drive away. That means a weekend away really means most of the weekend will be spent in Santa Barbara. Stearns Wharf, State Street, the Santa Barbara Mission, the Santa Barbara Zoo and the shoreline from Montecito up to the University of California Santa Barbara and Isla Vista offer plenty to see and do when relaxing away from the hubbub of Los Angeles. Like our City of Angels there is swimming, surfing and many different kinds of ocean recreational boating for the adventurous folks who like heart-pounding exercise. There are also tidepools galore and whalewatching (seals, sea lions and porpoises, too) for those of us seeking more placid recreation. Now, where to stay? Our guide says that the newly renovated Santa Barbara Inn is the BEST. The Santa Barbara Inn is right on the beach, walking distance to State Street shopping and dining and also has its own fine restaurant, Convivo. Of most importance, we are told, the inn is quiet. Elegant and comfortable, too, but mostly it is quiet. Asked if the serenity was just a matter of a wintertime visit we are assured that even at full capacity the design does not transfer sound from the bar into the guestrooms or from one room to another. Since we are often in Santa Barbara on the way to or from the nearby Santa Ynez Valley for our wine tours knowing firsthand where we can stay on an overnight private tour from Los Angeles is terrific information. So, if you want to know where to stay when visiting Santa Barbara, we suggest following the recommendation of our own guide and making reservations at the Santa Barbara Inn.
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.
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.
How About a Private Tour of Paris (from Los Angeles)
It turns out that a taste of Paris is not that far from here. We are talking about Paris – Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. With its half-sized Eiffel Tower, a mini-Arc de Triomphe, a suggestion of the Montgolfier balloon, a facade of the Louvre, replica fountains and bridges – this is Las Vegas at its best – much like the collection of souvenirs your aunt and uncle brought home to you from their European tour. Giant kitsch. We love it! Everyone does. One does not go to Las Vegas for historical accuracy. We go for the fun of it. We want to be transported to Paris for a night or two or to Camelot or Venice. Las Vegas makes Los Angeles seem stalwart and pious which it definitely is not as we so ably demonstrate to all of our private tour guests enjoying a custom tour of the city with us. And if our guests request that we take them to Las Vegas for some gambling and big name entertainment accompanied by superb wining and dining then we can do that. Las Vegas is a short charter flight away. We have all the connections to extend a private Los Angeles tour to our neighbor state and continue the VIP treatment that our guests expect. Even more…we can arrange a private helicopter tour and catered lunch on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Nothing “reduced scale” about that! If you are feeling like une nuit sur la ville, Paris then let us make that happen for you.
Our Private Tour Flies Over Long Beach
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are impressive and their combined enormity can really be appreciated from the air. Our private tour of Los Angeles by helicopter surprises our guests when we tell them about the importance of shipping to the economy of Los Angeles, California and the United States. Even more eyecatching, though, is the stately Queen Mary moored just south of the giant ports in a harbor adjacent to the city of Long Beach. The great sea vessel is now a hotel, conference center and museum very much worth visiting, or, as many of our private tour guests do, staying at while in Los Angeles. The ship has 346 unique and distinct staterooms as well as multiple restaurants and cafés. As you can see in the above aerial photograph from a recent tour flight the Queen Mary is right beside one of the local cruise ship terminals where today’s ocean liners stop on their journeys up and down the Pacific Coast. The Long Beach harbor is visible as is the aquarium and city cultural center. We are always happy to meet our Los Angeles private tour guests at the Queen Mary for an excursion by air and/or ground all around Los Angeles. See the studios, the celebrity homes, the museums and even explore downtown for an exciting look at this great city on the sea.
Fun in the Sun on the Sunset Strip Lures Our Private Tour
We might have stopped but with the prospect of the beach ahead we decided to pass by the line to get into Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip. Those waiting know how beautiful the view from the poolside is and how wonderful the drink selection is to go with all the sunshine and frolicking at this hip bar on the Strip. The nighttime crowd can be pretty much the same except for the fashion…less pool and more evening and cocktail attire. However, it’s always hip at Sky Bar. We made sure our private Los Angeles tour guests saw some of the other evening places to rub shoulders with the Los Angeles “in-the-know” crowd as we proceeded along Sunset Boulevard and into Beverly Hills on the way to the beaches in Santa Monica and Venice. There our folks will see the same people but with fewer prospects for mixed drinks near the water.
Our Private Tour Likes the Look of the Chateau Marmont
We are always pleased that so many of our guests have heard of the Chateau Marmont, one of the most elegant hotels in Los Angeles. Even so, when the beautiful structure appears on the hill as we drive into the notorious Sunset Strip we can sense how impressed our Los Angeles private tour passengers are. The building, constructed in 1929 and modeled after a real chateau in the Loire Valley of France (a wine growing region like our Santa Ynez Valley), rises up from Sunset Boulevard like the grand doyen of the entertainment district beyond and welcomes everyone to come on and enjoy the Strip’s offerings. We will often pull over to tell a story or two from our vast collection of anecdotes. Sometimes, we will drive up to the entrance, entrust our luxury SUV to the parking genius of the valets and head into the hotel and Bar Marmont for a drink and some more tales of Hollywood. The long history of the hotel is full of entertaining and sometimes sad stories of Hollywood and its stars. The list of famous guests and residents, even neighbors in the surrounding Hollywood Hills, is long, dating back to those earliest days of Hollywood when “talkies” were just becoming known until more recently when the Entourage crowd filmed and partied here. Planning a trip to Los Angeles and Hollywood? Do you want to be right in the heart of everything? Then book a room at the Chateau Marmont and arrange a private luxury tour of Los Angeles with us.
A Public Lunch on a Private Tour in Hollywood
Sightseeing in Los Angeles can make anyone hungry. Our custom tours can involve a lot of walking around if our guests are so inclined which allows us to get them to see some very cool out-of-the-way places that only the most knowledgeable guides know about. We also know where to take our guests when hunger strikes. Sometimes a quick snack is in order and sometimes something a little nicer and in keeping with experiencing Los Angeles is the best way to go. If we are walking around Hollywood visiting Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theatre, the El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood and Highland, counting the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, anywhere near here even, then a visit to the Public Kitchen & Bar off the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is a place we like to suggest our guests try. This wonderful brasserie has the most amazing salads and sandwiches on their lunchtime menu and oysters for those of us so inclined. With the historic Roosevelt Hotel as the backdrop our guides have wistful and romantic stories to tell to make the lunch a tasty continuation of a private Los Angeles tour.
A Private Tour of Beverly Hills Means
Looking Up to See Santa
A drive down Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills means traveling right below Santa Claus upon his sled pulled by eight tiny reindeer and led by Rudolph and his shiny red nose. This particular flying elf sculpture has been around for decades, as far back as the times before color film. It is a truly grand tradition and well known signal of the approaching yuletide. It’s not like we get cold weather, falling leaves or snow. The holiday lights and decorations are here and showing up everywhere on a private Los Angeles tour. Our guests love the sights and colorful displays. The tours during and after sunset are spectacular. We can even drive to specific neighborhoods with our guests where the residents and businesses go all out to ring in the holidays. The hotel on the left beyond Santa is the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel. We consider the holiday lobby display there worth visiting on any luxury tour we do. There remains a tribute to Pretty Woman, as always, which we are proud to point out to our guests and there are the regular sightings of familiar faces from the world of entertainment, but the tree, the lights, the colors and the aromas make the Beverly Wilshire lobby a remarkable destination for sightseeing and getting to know Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.