Feb 4, 2011
Initially when planning our itinerary, we intended to continue south along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego, then northeast to Palm Springs, then west to finish our trip in Hollywood. However, upon trying to book a hotel in Hollywood, we found all the hotels we want to stay in were filled due to the National Basketball League convention. As a result we had to totally change our itinerary. Once again we found that booking hotels prior to booking the airline is a must when planning a trip.
THE W HOLLYWOOD
There are three choices for good hotels in Hollywood - the W, the Marriott, and the Roosevelt. We chose the W as we are a top tier members of Starwood and therefore get the most benefits, it is a new hotel, and it is located at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Marriott is also an excellent choice. The Roosevelt is a throwback to times past for those who want a unique Hollywood experience.
W Hotels are super modern, chic, and in the case of the W Hollywood, glamorous.
The hotel’s restaurant, Delphine, is a perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
There is a rooftop pool, restaurant, and nightclub with fabulous views to Los Angeles.
We had a glamorous corner suite with a view to the famous “HOLLYWOOD” sign on the hill. Rumor has it that Sandra Bullock, the Academy Award Winner in 2009, stayed in our suite when attending the event.
At a cocktail reception for Starwood Platinum members we met Christopher Nelson who was hired by W Hotels to create new and interesting events and activities for members. He is a very charming and interesting individual, well suited to his position.
Kenan Jones, Front Desk Manager, was very helpful in making our stay a very pleasant experience.
WALKING TOUR OF HOLLYWOOD
As you start a walking tour of Hollywood, the first thing you see are the stars in the sidewalk, with the name of the famous movie stars past and present, one every step along the way. You find yourself looking down and reading one after the other and beginning to look for your favorite star. Then you realize you are getting a stiff neck and missing everything else you came to see. However, we did take a picture of the star of one of both of our favorites.
Everything you might want to see in the heart of Hollywood such as the Kodak Theatre, where the Academy Awards event takes place, and Grauman’s Chinese Theater is located on Hollywood Blvd.
An interesting feature of the Kodak Theater is the display of the names of past Academy Award films and spaces for ones to come far into the future when some of us won’t be around to see them!
If you are walkers like we are, you will enjoy the two mile walk from downtown Hollywood to the Hollywood Bowl. If you still have enough energy you can walk back as we did, or take a taxi if you can find one.
If you stay in Hollywood, you must take a day to visit Universal Studios, located just a few miles away, but only a couple of metro stops away. The concierge at our hotel made us feel very safe and comfortable going by metro rather than driving there. Also, the metro stop was next to our hotel. Upon exiting the metro, there is a free shuttle bus to Universal Studios. The challenge is finding it. It is located on the opposite corner from where you exit the metro. If you still can’t find it, ask, as we had to.
We arrived around 10:00 am when Universal Studios opens and stayed through the afternoon returning around 5:00 pm and enjoyed every minute of it.
There isn’t any reasonably easy public transportation from Hollywood to Beverly Hills. Rather than drive there and try to find parking we decided to take a taxi. Coming back we went to the Beverly Hills Hilton to get a taxi which we recommend rather than trying to hail one on the street.
Rodeo Drive is the main street for the rich and famous to shop and eat so, of course, that’s where we headed.
Tours of the homes of the rich and famous are available from there.
While on our walking tour of Rodeo Drive, we notice a photo-shoot taking place with a cameraman, a “director”, and a family of eight. We were able to get the inside scoop on what was happening and found out that they were filming for one of the “Extreme Home Makeover” shows. While the home was being renovated, the family was sent to enjoy a few days in Beverly Hills. The next part is hard to believe, but we confirmed that it was true. The family’s’ last name is “Hill” and one of the women in the family was named, yes, you guessed it, “Beverly”!
The show was scheduled to air in April.
We finished our afternoon in Beverly Hills with lunch at the posh restaurant, Rodeo, of course, on Rodeo Drive.