I bet you didn’t know that flying to LA can be cheaper than flying to some parts of Europe. With fares starting from as low as €350 direct to LA with Aer Lingus out of Dublin or with British Airways with via London you would be mad not to consider West Coast USA for a sun holiday. If you are more of a business class seat traveller then you can get fares from as low as €2,200 with United Airlines, €2,500 with British Airways/American Airlines or €2,750 direct into LA with Aer Lingus. Take my recommendation however and wait for a business class sale to grab a seat for under €2,000.
I stayed in Los Angeles for the weekend before I travelled elsewhere so I needed to make the most of my time during my stay. I hired a car (which I recommend when visiting LA) through Alamo in LAX Airport who were very efficient and helpful when collecting the car and even gave me a complimentary upgrade to an SUV.
My favourite place to stay is in Beverly Hills / West Hollywood which I think is the most fun and upmarket area to stay in, so this time I decided to stay in the fabulous Sofitel hotel in Beverly Hills.
The Sofitel hotel on the corner of La Cienga and Beverly Boulevard and directly across from the Beverly Shopping Centre (very important) is is a stunning hotel offering elegant luxury accommodations and dramatic decor with a French flair. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and a fabulous Spa. Rooms are spacious and some even have a with a view of the famous Hollywood sign in the LA Hills. There is also a valet service with the Sofitel hotel so if you are hiring a car there is no problem with parking. What I love about this hotel is the friendliness of the staff, the excellent service and I really like the breakfast dining area in the morning out in the garden area in the LA Sunshine. You can have a choice of a buffet breakfast or an a La Carte, but to be honest the buffet breakfast is substantial enough. What I also like about this hotel is the location and walking distance to West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. Other hotels to consider is Sixty Beverly Hills and Viceroy L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills (often home to the Rich Kids of Beverly Hills).
Our first tourist activity in LA was to go on a TMZ Celebrity Tour. You are picked up in the Grove Shopping centre or Hollywood Boulevard in LA by a TMZ celebrity Minibus and a presenter from the TMZ TV programme guides you around the hotspots of LA including Rodeo Drive, Hollywood’s walk of fame, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills plus more on the hunt for celebrities and giving you all the latest gossip from LA. Machine Gun Kelly was spotted by TMZ the day we were on the bus and he actually jumped on the bus and got a lift to his car. This is really good fun, lasts about 2 hrs and costs about $58 per person.
When I’m in LA I always like to take a drive along the coast drive to Malibu. My favourite spot in Malibu is Nobu. The restaurant with a view of the Pacific Ocean is frequented by celebrities such as Kanye and Kym so even if you don’t see any on your TMZ tour you might spot them here! Make sure you book well in advance.
Night one we decided to dine in Lisa Vanderpump’s eatery Pump Restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Lisa graced us with her presence in the restaurant that evening and I have to say was very accommodating with diners for selfies etc. Check out the Pumptini cocktail before you start! For dinner try the Heirloom Tomatoes with Creamy Burrata or Rock Shrimp Tempura and for Mains followed by the Warm Pistacio Crusted Salmon Salad, the Pinky Pump Burger or my favourite Pan Roasted Filet Mignon . We all loved Pump Restaurant and will be returning again and again. This place has been voted the sexiest restaurant in LA and is often frequented by the stars. Check out www.pumprestaurant.com
After Pump why not try The Abbey or The Chapel (all part of the one) Bar/Nightclub next door to Pump for drinks and great music in West Hollywood.
Day 2 in LA and we decided to check out Universal Studios this time. For Adults and Teenagers Universal Studios is far better than Disneyland. I would also recommend you also buy front of the line passes which means there is very little queuing to jump on the rides! The rides include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (great fun), The Walking Dead, Fast & Furious, King Kong 3D, Despicable me, The Simpsons Ride, Jurassic Park, Revenge of the mummy, Shrek 4D and not forgetting the Studios Tour (where you can see filming of some of your favourite shows). What is also good about Universal Studios is that is only a 30 min drive from West Hollywood/Beverly Hills. One day admission is approx. $105 with font of line increasing this to about $179. Various offers apply for two days passes etc so ask your travel agent for the best deal! You can also upgrade to the VIP experience!
If you have time I would also recommend you check out Venice Beach area with the beach bodybuilders, the street artists and why not take a stroll up to Santa Monica Beach and Pier. If you are hungry check out “Shutters” beside Santa Monica Beach for a nice relaxing brunch or dinner overlooking the sea!
Night 2 in LA started off with a bump (that’s Bump not Pump). We decided to visit the famous “Mr Chow’s” restaurant in Beverly Hills. Let’s just say between the poor service, overpriced and cold food we left Mr Chow’s after our starter and went to the fabulous “IVY Restaurant”.
The Ivy restaurant situated on North Robertson Boulevard is one of the leading celebrity hangouts. The quaint restaurant with its white picket fence looks after guests as soon as they arrive, with a complimentary glass of champagne (take note Mr Chow’s). The service in “The Ivy” was impeccable with our waiter explaining very informatively of the choices on the menu and recommending wines to suit each dish! When leaving the restaurant our waiter handed us a box of delicious homemade warm cookies to take away with us on our way back to the hotel, another nice little touch by this fab restaurant. Check out www.ivyrestaurants.com
I have to say I really like LA and like spending time in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area. I will be back again and again, not to mention that I will be returning to the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills.