For a quintessential LA experience, follow the expert’s guide. Abbas Golestani of The Beverly Hills Hotel gives us the brief.
A visit to Santa Monica is a must and it’s best to head there between 10am and 3pm on a weekday or from noon to 7pm on the weekend. If you’re looking for a place to take your family, I recommend the Annenberg Community Beach House. You get access to their private beach and services right on the oceanfront – they also have a great pool, beach volleyball, surfing and paddleboard classes. The dining scene in Santa Monica is really special, too. My pick is Huckleberry Bakery & Café for breakfast, lunch or amazing pastries. For dinner, go to Capo for fantastic Italian fare and a wonderful wine selection.
The Hollywood sign
There are several ways to get close to this cultural icon. If you fancy a hike, follow one of the trails from Griffith Park that leads to a lookout just behind the sign – you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of LA. For something a bit different, head to Sunset Ranch Hollywood, just below the sign, and take a horse ride around the area. If you’d prefer to travel by car, my pick is a private tour with Tour du Jour. They can take you through the residential areas around the Hollywood Hills to a secret spot that gives you a great view of the sign.
Shopping on Melrose should definitely be on your list. While many flock to the high-end luxury retailers that line the avenue, LA locals frequent the smaller boutiques and vintage stores. One of my favourites is Reformation Vintage, where you can pick up one-of-a-kind upcycled clothing from the sustainable fashion brand. Melrose is also home to Decades Inc., a staple of the city’s vintage clothing scene since 1997 and home to a range of luxury pieces ready for a new life – expect brands such as Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. To skip the crowds on Melrose, head up side street North Sycamore Avenue to Just One Eye - a trendy place for designer clothes, jewellery, art and home décor.
Beverly Hills is known for style, fashion and glamour. After checking out Rodeo Drive, take a stroll up the cobblestoned Via Rodeo. Enjoy lunch at Avra Beverly Hills on North Beverly Drive, which serves a fantastic Greek-infused menu with great seafood. If you’re after the star treatment, engage a personal shopper for access to the top places in Beverly Hills. This is obviously an area I’m very familiar with and I don’t think you can visit the neighbourhood without stopping by one of LA’s best-known power spots, the Polo Lounge at our hotel.