When in Los Angeles, stopover in the leafy, refined, hangout-of-the-stars – Beverly Hills. It is more than just a pretty face with a high price tag, with plenty of things to do.
Shop till your stilettos hurt
Yes, the first place that comes to mind when you talk about shopping in Beverly Hills is Rodeo Drive. This rarefied street has more designer boutiques than handbag dogs, with everything from Tiffany & co., Gucci, Prada and Valentino. Check out Two Rodeo Drive – and don’t be surprised if you think you have suddenly been teleported to Italy. This beautiful centre recreates that European feel and you might be on your feet so long you will need some new shoes – Jimmy Choos no less. You will also find Galerie Michael in here, which has been selling beautiful art to the well-heeled for over 40 years. Before you head back to LAX for the Qantas flight home, explore the Beverly Center on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, which has another hundred shops just in case your plastic is not worn out yet.
Visit Greystone Mansion
If you love your movie history, and who doesn’t, Greystone Mansion and Park will have your head spinning. The 55-room mansion was built in 1928 by an oil baron, and while visitors can’t tour inside its hallowed halls, you can stroll around its beautiful parkland. Explore the formal gardens complete with fountain, and the inner courtyard area. So many movies have been shot here, including Air Force One, Spiderman, The Holiday, The Social Network, Indecent Proposal (Robert, I would have said yes), Ghostbusters and The Bodyguard.
Walk and walk some more
There are several walking tours that show off Beverly Hills and other areas, and you can either grab a map and guide yourselves or choose the guided tour option so at least you know what you are looking at. There are tours of movie locations including the Beverly Wiltshire (Pretty Woman put it on the map), tours for families, art and culture tours and one that appeals to me – the Sweet Treats tour. A highlight is the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM which dispenses its divine contents 24 hours a day. It has an ice cream shop too – not an ATM – as that would be a little messy. If you don’t want to walk, there are Segway tours, bike tours or grab an Uber, or perhaps a limo.
And the Oscar goes to
Pretend you are a star and check out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Strut down do the Margaret Herrick Library after that for a look at the huge collection of motion picture records. In mid-2019, the Academy Museum will open. This spectacular building, designed by Renzo Piano, will shoot to the top of the must-do attractions in Los Angeles once it opens, with the six floor Saban Building offering a huge amount of exhibition space, an education studio, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, and a restaurant and café. The Sphere will take your breath away with the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater set to host a range of premieres, performances and events, and step out onto the Dolby Terrace for beautiful views of the Hollywood Hills. The Museum is in good hands with Tom Hanks on the board, and Tom can do no wrong.
Stay in style
Let’s face it. Richard Gere is not going to come sweeping in to be our Prince Charming in the penthouse of the Beverly Wiltshire, but you can certainly stay there should you want to pretend. Beverly Hills has 2,200 hotel rooms and has one of the largest concentrations of five-star hotels in the USA – only New York City has more. There’s the aforementioned Beverly Wiltshire, the Bevery Hills Hotel, the Beverly Hilton, Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, the Waldorf Astoria, Montage Beverly Hills and some charming and quirky boutique hotels such as Maison 140 – the former home of Lillian Gish. One of my favourites is The Peninsula Beverly Hills, where I could quite happily have stayed forever. The Peninsula does the little things so well. They even monogrammed a pillow with my initials. How cool is that!
Beverly Hills Tourism: Find out more by clicking HERE