Like the most demanding movie starlet, Los Angeles loves being the centre of attention. And there’s plenty to grab your interest in this sprawling city – from Hollywood glamour to beautiful beaches.
What to see and do
The tinsel is shining bright again in Hollywood after a massive facelift. A new tour of Universal Studios includes the set of Desperate Housewives and a 3D encounter with King Kong. Elsewhere, go star-spotting on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and check out the celebrity handprints outside Grauman’s (c) Chinese Theatre.
The film-star lifestyle is also much in evidence in nearby Beverly (c) Hills. Guided tours point out celebrities’ opulent homes, while the designer shops along Rodeo Drive specialise in telephone-number price tags.
As if to prove that LA’s cultural scene stretches beyond blockbuster films and soap operas, the Getty Centre and Getty Villa house breathtaking collections of historical treasures.
Beach lovers have a vast choice, from pumping iron at Venice Beach to cafe culture at Santa Monica and the chic surroundings of Malibu.
Where to eat
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has joined forces with celebrity chef Todd English to open Beso (www.besohollywood.com). The restaurant serves classic steakhouse fare with a latino twist.
Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Elton John are just a few of the stars who regularly dine at elegant Spago (www.wolfgangpuck.com) in Beverly Hills, which has a wide-ranging menu.
Pink’s (www.pinkshollywood.com) is a Hollywood institution. Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at this hot-dog shack, while Eddie Murphy, Kiefer Sutherland and Tom Hanks are among other famous followers.
Where to drink
Mood (www.moodla.com) on Hollywood Boulevard has a strong celebrity following. The dance floor is always packed at this chic, Balinese-themed lounge.
The Downtown district is fast becoming the latest fashionable area in which to hang out in LA. Relax on vibrating cushions perched on waterbeds and admire the view from the elegant Rooftop Bar at the Standard Hotel (www.standardhotel.com).
Point Moorea at the swish Wilshire (c) Grand hotel (www.wilshiregrand.com) is a Polynesian-themed sports bar with a ’50s and ’60s vibe.
Where to stay
The luxury Terranea (c) Resort (www.terranea.com) is one of the latest oceanfront properties to open in LA. The Mediterranean-style hotel on 102 acres of the Palos Verdes (c) Peninsula is just a short drive from the city’s cruise terminal at San Pedro.
With a rooftop bar and a luxury spa, the new W Hollywood Hotel and Residences (www.whotels.com/hollywood) is fast becoming a city hotspot.
The traditional elegance of the Millennium Biltmore (www.millenniumhotels.com) makes this hotel a favourite meeting place for Hollywood directors. No wonder the landmark property has featured in a host of films and television programmes including GhostBusters (c), The Bodyguard, 24 and Nip/Tuck.