Something about October always makes me think of couples trips. I don’t know whether it is the fact that we have the kids back in school and into a routine, or just that Christmas seems so far away and its nice to have something to look forward to between Summer and the holidays. Either way – October is a beautiful time to get away for a little one on one time with your hubby. Of course, the crowds of summer have subsided, kids are back at school, flights are cheaper – and in general the weather in some of the warmer climes is still stellar. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself with the opportunity to meet my hubby at the end of a business trip to LA – and as much as I would love to regale you with the details of an entire weekend, I thought a 24 hour sneak peak into one of the most famous areas of LA might be fun. I also thought seeing the “adventures” or lack thereof, of a 40 something couple might be slightly different from what you might typically find in the LA search engines. Also, if you are travelling to Beverly Hills, most likely you are not looking for an adventure holiday, nor a real cultural experience (lets be real – Beverly Hills is all glitz and glamour) but you might be looking for these things… STAY, EAT, SHOP, CONNECT, RELAX…
Here is a quick recap from our adventures:
And so – here is 24 hours in Beverly Hills via Mojo and Moxie!
I arrived in LA via Westjet around lunch- a painless 2 3/4 hour flight into LAX and considering LA traffic, an equally painless 30 minute drive into Beverly Hills. LA is so interesting in that you can be on the freeway – looking at literally nothing but old Doritos bags flying around, to coming off an exit to a green, lush oasis with perfectly groomed trees and beautiful flowers. This perfectly describes the road leading into the Beverly Hills area. Since it was just the two of us (and as a family of 5 we are used to having to get 2 hotel rooms each and every time we travel together) we decided to splurge a bit and stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
We had stayed there previously and just loved it, so I knew what to expect. If you love history, or a vintage old-Hollywood vibe – you will love this hotel. Of course, this is the hotel of legends. This is the hotel where Marilyn Monroe famously lounged in bungalows, and sought refuge from both her fans and the media. Affectionately known as the “Pink Palace,” stars have come and gone on the famous red carpet entrance for over a century. If you want the true Beverly Hills experience, I can’t stress enough – you need to stay here.
Of course, if you grew up with the movie Pretty Woman (like many in our generation did,) you may have a soft spot for the “Regent Beverly Wilshire” which does exist in the midst of downtown Beverly Hills as a Four Seasons. An equally beautiful hotel – less history, but lovely.
The big difference between these two hotels is location. It is a bit of a commitment to stay at the Beverly Hills hotel, because it is nestled into the residential part of Beverly Hills – just over a mile to the “downtown” shopping area. If you like to leave your hotel and have direct access to shops and services, you might be better choosing a hotel downtown. There are many – a few reasonably priced, and a few more in the luxury, 5 star range.
But back to the Pink Palace. I have to say – there is nothing like pulling up to this hotel, the red carpet beckoning and having their amazing staff take care of you from the moment you step from the cab.
I was checked in quickly and efficiently – the staff wear ear pieces, so when you arrive at the front desk they call you by name which is always awesome. They also had records of our previous visits and compared / discussed our room from last time to this time – which was personal and nice. Because we had booked with American Express Travel – we were offered a room upgrade, as well as complimentary breakfast, a $100 spa credit and a 4pm late checkout – no questions asked. We were also (due to this reservation) allowed to check in to our room at noon. A very nice set of perks, which when you see the price of breakfast and the spa, you WANT to take advantage of! 🙂
Because hubby was in LA on business, he was in meetings elsewhere until 2pm – so I had some time to get comfy and freshened up in the room and to get re-acquainted with the hotel. I wandered down to the Polo Lounge – the celeb sighting mecca for lunch. In our past trip we glimpsed an epic number of A List clientele and this trip was no exception. I was promptly seated next to Steven Spielberg and (I’m sure) 3 other members of Hollywood royalty having the stereotypical “business” lunch. I know there were several other “celebs” lunching as well, however this is a place where you play it cool. You need to act like you see Spielberg at lunch all the time and no one flinches at Jennifer, Angelina, or George wandering the hotel, or having drinks at the bar. This is NOT the place you ask for autographs or even act like you recognize them. To be frank, the Polo Lounge is an oasis for the famous – and I have yet to see anyone disrespect that. I sat in the courtyard outside. It is beautiful. Flowers, trees, just enough sun – but shade to keep you comfortable. Perfect.
Lunch was nothing to write home about in the food department – an overpriced tasteless salad, but the company was nothing short of extraordinary 🙂 And I’m a sucker for a great “by the glass” wine list!
Okay – full disclaimer – I love to shop. I could shop for 24 hours straight and still want to shop some more. AND – who are we kidding, you don’t go to Beverly Hills and not expect some sort of shopping expedition to take up a good part of your 24 hours. Once hubby joined me, we had the hotel car take us downtown Beverly Hills for some “sightseeing” – but sightseeing in my books and in this area, really revolves around retail therapy.
The main street of Beverly Hills is of course, the famous, or rather infamous, Rodeo Drive. This is a beautiful street that holds in its grasp all of the luxury retailers of the world. Gucci, Prada, YSL, Chanel – you name it – they are all here. Of course, this is not a street for the average shopper and if you are not in the market for a $5000 plus bag, feel comfort in knowing you will see your fair share of tourists / window shoppers. There are also some cute cafes and wine bars with fantastic views of the shopping spectacle, so husbands can feel free to find a spot and people watch.
We (and I say WE because this was something my husband also enjoyed) loved the Sak’s 5th Ave Mens Store, D-Bar. This is a basement denim bar transformed into a “real” bar – pool tables, gin, scotch and denim. Not a bad mix, and a chance for my hubby to have fun picking out some casual threads and feeling like he was cool again. Great vibe, and we didn’t feel too old (which was also cool!)
I hit the women’s store as well – not nearly as much fun as the mens, but multiple floors of selection is always a good thing. 🙂
RELAX and CONNECT:
After our fill of retail therapy, we felt no pressure, or urgency to get back to the hotel – thanks to our childless status and late lunch. We opted to walk back to the hotel. If you were paying attention earlier, you would know this was about a mile walk – no biggie if you are not in a rush and have comfy shoes. This might have been my favourite part of our entire 24 hours. We walked straight up Rodeo Drive, into the residential area of Beverly Hills – where we spent time looking at the amazing real estate, talking, laughing and re-connecting. Now THIS was couple time.
Arriving back at the hotel, we had worked up an appetite and also (after a day of travel, shopping and walking) a desire to stay close to home and not venture from our hotel. We chose to get dressed up, but to eat at The Polo Lounge for dinner. We sat in a prime cozy bar booth and enjoyed a simple, but tasty meal followed by the most incredible chocolate / butterscotch soufflé. Wine and chocolate and a sprinkling of celebrity sightings – what more could you ask for?
So for us – this wasn’t our first time in Beverly Hills, so we didn’t have the desire to go off property and explore… There are tons of restaurants worthy of your Canadian (or US) dollar – I’ve mentioned a few in the summary – check them out if you choose to be more adventurous than us.
The morning dawned with neither one of us wanting to extricate ourselves from the most comfortable, luxurious bed ever created. I’m telling you – this bed could have it’s own postal code. Thick duvets, sumptuous pillows, crisp luxurious sheets. This was a bed worth writing home about. If you can manage to pull yourself away – a little (not fancy but acceptable) gym beckons to work up a sweat. Just the thing needed to justify a morning at the spa!
Hubby enjoyed a 90 minute deep tissue massage that he didn’t stop talking about for the remainder of the day – and I enjoyed a longer workout, glorious shower, breakfast in the courtyard and a walk around the pool area.
So in the hunt for a bit of a more mainstream shopping experience, we ventured out in the late morning – again with the hotel car and driver – to The Grove. The Grove is a fun out door mall – more approachable for the average shopper with Zara, a massive Top Shop, Banana Republic, Nordstrom etc. But also with a few interesting boutique shops we don’t see in Canada – Vince, Elizabeth and James, Paige, American Girl, DVF… Being from Canada, I love an outdoor mall – and I love a place where we can go and walk around, enjoy the weather and get a great glass of wine and nice lunch. Our concierge recommended The Whisper Lounge because of it’s extensive wines by the glass menu and healthy lunch options. We were not disappointed. As a side note, if you do have younger children here – there is a cool Farmer’s Market, trolley from one end of the mall to the other, and gorgeous fountains to keep even the grumpiest member of the family occupied!
When we return, we are making time for the West 3rd Street Shops – a surprisingly walking friendly area between Beverly Hills and the Grove. A funky, restaurant, boutique filled area – this looked worthy of our attention but we ran out of time to explore. And really – who can resist an area that has a breakfast place called EggSlut – sounds like a “do not miss” place to me…
As we returned back to the hotel – we couldn’t pass up one last glass of vino at the Polo Lounge before heading out – enticed by the chance to complete unfinished conversations and truthfully by which celebrity might be lurking in the adjacent booth…
Life is always an adventure… grab it and go