With the Hollywood sign gleaming under a Californian sun, and open-topped supercars cruising down Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles is the most aspirational city on the planet. Many who come to LA pack little more than dreams and a modeling portfolio or a hastily-scrawled script. This is a place to live life in the fast lane, partying hard at exclusive parties, before detoxing with the latest macrobiotic fad. But it has that laid-back Californian spirit too, with a stretch of surf-ready beaches.
Things to see
When you first catch sight of the giant letters high in the hills, it’s a surreal experience. Seeing the Hollywood Sign in the flesh is a surreal experience, but it is confirmation that you have arrived in the city of dreams. Once you’ve snapped some pictures, you can get even more star-struck on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which stretches for 15 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard. You’ll have to step over and around tourists posing with their idol’s pink star, but that’s part of the fun, and you know you’ll do it too. Introductions made, you can live the full LA experience by cruising down Sunset Boulevard, the towering palm trees whizzing past the windows. Then mingle with the stars on Rodeo Drive, where Ferraris roar up outside top-end boutiques. Sunglasses are more or less obligatory, and once you have a designer purchase on your arm, you’ll fit right in.
If it’s the full star treatment you’re after, then you’re in the right place. The luxury hotels in Los Angeles hit new heights of opulence. Spacious suites are furnished with an eye for contemporary elegance, with crisp, white bed linens and piles of satin cushions adding to the class. You’ll be treated like a member of the A-list, with spa services, health clubs, and concierge services to get you the best reservations. If you’re on a budget, there are numerous cheap hotels in Los Angeles too, with familiar brands competing to offer all the extras, like free WiFi, parking, and leisure facilities.
Where to stay
For the best luxury hotels, it has to be Beverley Hills. You’ll be staying right among the stars, in one of LA’s most exclusive neighborhoods. It’s a short whiz in a limo or taxi to all the attractions in central Hollywood, and Santa Monica Beach is a short drive in the other direction. Hollywood has hotels to suit every budget, and you can stay just steps away from major sights, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and there are endless dining and entertainment options nearby. Downtown Los Angeles also has a great range of hotels, and offers a more down-to-earth atmosphere.
How to get to Los Angeles
Los Angeles boasts several international airports within its metropolitan area, the largest of which is Los Angeles International. It’s a global hub, so easy to reach. It’s located about 12 miles from Hollywood and 18 miles from downtown, and there’s a slew of ground transportation, from shuttle buses to public buses and taxis. Many run specific routes to popular destinations. Bob Hope Airport is even closer to Beverley Hills and Hollywood, and offers a more relaxed start to your vacation. It also connects directly with the LA train and metro system; you can reach LA’s Union Station in about an hour.