With the hustle and bustle, glitz and glam of LA, there are so many options of where to go, what to do, and where to see and be seen.
So I asked Brandon Perkins, Concierge at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, what are the top things to do in LA. And yes, they can arrange any and all of it for you. Here’s my “Convo with Concierge.”
How would you spend a Saturday never leaving the Beverly Wilshire?
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at our main restaurant, The Blvd, featuring Seasonal American cuisine, a stylishly sophisticated ambiance and a great patio overlooking Rodeo Drive. Boost your morning with one of our juices; perhaps a simple “White Peach,” or a blended “Purple Power,” made with acai, apple, banana, plum and grapes. Enjoy the Blvd Omelet made with wild mushroom and black truffle or the Crispy Belgian Waffle with fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup.
Next, why not enjoy a little pampering at our luxurious Spa, where you’ll enjoy an aromatherapy crystal steam room, ice fountain, experience shower and several incredible treatments to choose from. Try “The Ten Carat” facial, which incorporates real diamond dust or “The Aromatic Journey” massage, which uses floral soaked sachets and marble stones for the ultimate relaxation.
With all that pampering you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Head just a few steps to our beautiful Mediterranean style pool for an afternoon cocktail and casual lunch. For some sweet bubbly, try the “Rodeo Drive,” which includes vodka, raspberry, lemonade and prosecco; and for a light bite, maybe a delicious mezze plate or shrimp ceviche.
If you can bear to leave our pool, you may want to consider a stop at our gorgeous new Nail Bar for a “Coconut Pearl Deluxe” mani and pedi. While you’re there, treat yourself to a few mini cupcakes and a glass of champagne.
For pre-dinner drinks, make a stop at Sidebar –our intimate lounge featuring several unique cocktails and delicious little bites. Try the “Aviation Violette,” made with Hendrick’s Gin, Luxardo Maraschino and Pages Violette. Or, perhaps go classic with a “Quintessential Old Fashioned;” made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Druken Brook Cherries. Hopefully you’re hungry, because now you’ll get to enjoy one of the top steakhouses in the country: CUT by Wolfgang Puck. This Michelin star, contemporary restaurant features a twist on the traditional steakhouse. Start with the decedent Bone Marrow Flan or Maple Glazed Pork Belly. For the main event, perhaps enjoy a melt-in-your-mouth cut of Australian 100% Wagu Beef or the U.S.D.A PRIME 35 Day Dry Aged New York Sirloin. If you’ve saved enough room for dessert, the Banana Cream Pie and Valrhona Chocolate Souffle are musts!
What are your top five things to do within walking distance of the Beverly Wilshire?
• The Golden Triangle: Start the day off with a warm coffee and pastry at one of our city’s fabulous bakeries or coffee shops. There’s Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery charmingly located in the beautiful Beverly Canon Gardens, or the South Beverly Drive hot spots, Urth Caffe or Momed. Next, head to Rodeo Drive for some serious shopping. With over a hundred shops to choose from, including Prada, Cartier, Bijan, Tom Ford and Salvatore Ferragamo, it’s truly a shopper’s paradise. Now that it’s lunchtime, consider the lovely patio at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago or go for top-notch Italian cuisine at local favorite, E Baldi –there’s no shortage of dining options within the triangle! After lunch, satisfy your sweet tooth at the bakery that started a worldwide cupcake frenzy, Sprinkles –stand in line or order from their new cupcake ATM. Of course, there’s more than just shopping and food. If you’re a television buff, stop in the Paley Center for Media to explore the television archives and enjoy their latest exhibit. If art is more your thing, pop in the Gegosian Gallery to see the great works on display. Or, if you want a little Beverly Hills history, hop on the Beverly Hills Trolley tour for a brief ride around the triangle and beautiful surrounding neighborhoods. A perfect day in Beverly Hills!
• Music & Martinis: The Peninsula Hotel is lucky to have one my favorite pianists in the entire city, Antonio Castillo de la Gala. With over 2000 songs committed to memory, he dazzles local patrons nightly in the Peninsula’s elegant lobby lounge. Sit by the fireplace, sip a martini and listen to Antonio play the night away. A true treasure of Beverly Hills!
• Visit the Neighbors: Just a mile east from the Beverly Wilshire, you’ll find a small neighborhood of several sky-rise buildings which people call, Century City. Here you’ll find a couple gems including the Annenberg Space for Photography, which features fascinating digital and print photography exhibitions, and the Westfield Century City –an all outdoor, modern shopping center which showcases a nice mix luxury and family friendly shopping, as well as the closet movie theatre to Beverly Hills: the state of the art AMC/IMAX Century City 15. For a little nibble, take a little jaunt across the street to experience one of LA’s best to-die-for bakeries, Clemintine.
• Rooftop Sunset: There are few places to catch an eye-popping sunset in Beverly Hills and The Thompson boasts the best. Take a five-minute walk to this stylishly sleek hotel and take the elevator up to the rooftop level. Nine floors above the city, you’ll enjoy a sexy pool deck, delicious drinks and a view that will knock your socks off.
• Peruse the Farmers’ Market: Every Sunday, Beverly Hills hosts a fabulously festive Farmers’ Market. Filling several blocks of Civic Center Drive, the market features over 60 California farmers and vendors each week, selling a wide variety of delicious organically grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as other unique specialty food items. Make sure to pick up some berries from Harry’s Berries, sample a pretzel roll from Rockenwagner Bakery, visit the cheese stand by Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, and of course, bring home a bundle of fresh flowers. There are often activities for the kids too, including biweekly pony rides and petting zoo.
What are your top five things to do in LA on a Saturday?
• Cruise to “The Bu”: Rent a car (convertible suggested!) and take a scenic drive through the Westside to Malibu, or as many call it, “The Bu.” Cruise along the famed PCH (Highway 1) experiencing 26 miles of costal beauty. Stop by the quaint Malibu Country Mart, where you’ll find high end boutiques such as John Varvatos, Planet Blue, and Ron Herman or the contemporary Malibu Lumber Yard featuring Maxfield, La Perla and Intermix. If you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to dine at the always relaxing, Geoffrey’s, where you’ll enjoy an incredible ocean view at this quintessential Malibu hot spot. A perfect way to spend a relaxing Saturday.
• Music & Stars: Experience world-class entertainment at the largest outdoor amphitheater in the country – the Hollywood Bowl. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra reside at the Bowl from June through October, presenting the best in jazz, classical, Broadway, world music, interactive sing-a-longs and fireworks. The major headliners and shows almost always fall on a Saturday. Add to that, the lack of traffic and the usual good weather, and what you have is a perfect Saturday night out. Make sure to bring a picnic basket, grab your favorite bottle of wine, wrap a blanket around you and enjoy entertainment under the stars!
• Hollywood Night Out: Saturday is perfect for a night on the town, and there’s no better place to dine with the scenesters and party the night away than in Hollywood. Try Cleo, the modern Mediterranean hot spot at the uber sexy Redbury Hotel or enjoy sushi at the ever-trendy Katsuya across the street. Afterwards, why not sample some of Hollywood’s hottest nightclubs. For off-the-wall entertainment, try the wacky and wild Beacher’s Madhouse at the famed Roosevelt Hotel. For a cool speakeasy lounge and funky live music, make sure to visit The Sayer’s Club. If you love house music and want to dance, don’t miss the modern and chic, Supperclub, where some of the industry’s hottest Dj’s perform. When the party ends, make sure to stop in to Fuku Burger or In-N-Out –many claim these two late night burger joints to be hangover preventers.
• Visit The Getty: There is so much amazing art to experience in this city but The Getty Center Museum has it all. Situated in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, The Getty Center Museum features a vast collection of Impressionist paintings, European drawings, contemporary photography and more. Not only that, but the museum boasts beautiful botanical gardens, stunning architecture and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. While you’re there, be sure to dine in the lovely restaurant. It offers floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the view, and quite possibly, the best Cobb Salad in LA.
• Brunch: One of my favorite things about Saturdays in LA: brunch! There’s nothing like spending a beautiful relaxing Saturday afternoon on the terrace of a fantastic restaurant, enjoying delicious food and drink with friends, family or loved one. Try the hip and rustic patio at Gjelina in Venice, the stylish sun-lit atrium at Tavern in Brentwood, or the casual beach side restaurant, Coast, at Shutters on the Beach Hotel in Santa Monica. Bloody Mary’s mandatory.
What are the top five things for a family to do in Los Angeles?
• Experience Movie Making Magic: Go behind the scenes of one of LA’s most famous tourist attractions – Universal Studios Hollywood. Families will enjoy the VIP Experience tour where they’ll receive an in-depth look at some of their favorite movies and television shows. In addition, they’ll zip past the lines in the amusement park and enjoy the many movie-themed rides and attractions. Valet parking, VIP lounge and gourmet lunch provided too.
• Get Cultured: LA has museums galore, many of which that offer several exhibits for the whole family to enjoy. There’s the Skirball Cultural Center which features dynamic exhibits, music, theatre, film and their most popular attraction: Noah’s Ark –a fabulous interactive experience for children and families. Fossil fanatics and animal lovers will love the Natural History Musuem and the Page Museum which showcases an incredible collection of dinosaur fossils and other mammals, habitat dioramas, insect exhibits and so much more. Especially curious kids will be thrilled by the Kidspace Museum, which gives families a chance to play, explore, create and learn together in this interactive children’s museum.
• Have a Beach Day: Parents and children love Santa Moinca! There is truly something for everyone. Active families will enjoy a bike ride along the boardwalk to Venice Beach for some one-of-a-kind people watching and nice ocean views. Thrill seekers should not miss the famed Santa Monica Pier for a classic ride on the carousel, a few loops on the Ferris wheel, or trapeze lessons from a trained professional. Shoppers and gawkers will love the Third Street Promenade, where they’ll enjoy street entertainers, movie theatres, family friendly shopping and a plethora of casual eateries and restaurants to choose from.
• Tour the City: Navigating through LA’s traffic filled streets can be challenging, to say the least. Forgo the rental car and take the family on a tailor-made, private tour with one of our favorites, Tour du Jour. It’s a perfect way to kick off a trip and a super efficient (and fun!) way to check all the must-sees of the list.
• See Cirque: Take the family to Ciruqe Du Soleil’s stunning new show, Iris. Exclusive to LA, Iris takes audiences on an eye-popping journey through the world of cinema, featuring over 72 performers and a beautiful score by legendary film composer, Danny Elfman. It combines amazing dance, acrobatics, live video, film footage and interactive projections to create one of Cirque’s most visually stunning productions. Families love it!
What are the best restaurants in LA to take a business client?
LA is full of high-powered power business lunches. Here are some spots where the big wigs nosh and major deals are made:
The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Craft in Century City, The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills, Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, The Ivy on Robertson Blvd, Spago in Beverly Hills, Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, and of course, The Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
What are the best restaurants in LA to rub shoulders with celebrities?
The celebs that like to be seen usually frequent newer hot spot restaurants, such as Ink, Fig & Olive, and SoHo House, as well as many of the standards that have stood the test of time. These include, Chateau Marmont, Mr. Chow, The Polo Lounge, Madeo, Dan Tana’s, The Ivy, Mozza, Giorgio Baldi, and our steakhouse, CUT by Wolfgang Puck.
Best spot for a romantic dinner?
• The Little Door: This charming little French hideaway on Third Street has an oh-so romantic courtyard featuring a quaint garden, trickling fountain and plenty of candlelight.
• WP24: High above downtown LA sits Wolfgang Puck’s award-winning modern Chinese restaurant atop the Ritz Carlton. The gorgeous dining room features cozy booths, hanging lanterns and panoramic views of LA.
• Il Covo: The rustic patio at this Italian Third Street hot spot has it all: crackling fireplace, cozy candlelight and hanging lanterns strewn amongst the trees.
• Asia de Cuba: It’s all about the view here at this sexy Asian fusion restaurant at the Mondrian Hotel. Dine under an archway of fichus on their quite, candle lit patio and enjoy the breathtaking view of the twinkling city lights.
• Wolfgang Puck: Enter through the lush gardens, over the bridge, past the frolicking swans and you’ll instantly feel the romance at the newly opened Hotel Bel Air. Add to that, Puck’s decadent California cuisine and a beautifully landscaped candlelit courtyard, and what you have is perhaps LA’s most romantic restaurant.