Beverly Hills: Top Attractions
|Shop 'til you drop (or the plastic melts) in Bev Hills (PhotoDisc)|
This stretch of blocks compose one of the world's greatest concentrations of luxury shops, inhabited by such names as Christian Dior, Bvlgari, Prada, Gucci, and Chanel. Anchored at its southern tip by The Regent Beverly Wilshire, this exclusive commercial enclave is essentially the international jet set's sun-drenched shopping mall. Prominent retailer Harry Winston, for example, bejewels Academy Awards nominees, winners, and presenters, including such notable figures as Drew Barrymore, Melanie Griffith, and hip-hop icon Usher.
Rodeo Drive: www.rodeodrive.com
The Regent Beverly Wilshire
This stately property bordering Rodeo Drive hosts countless celebrities and is where Julia Roberts and Richard Gere filmed Pretty Woman. Warren Beatty, Elvis Presley, and even John Lennon each spent months residing amongst the opulence. Follow suit in the ornate, yet classic Wilshire wing, or the cool and contemporary Beverly wing. Or indulge yourself; reserve a Presidential Suite. One of them has nearly 360-degree views of L.A., along with a sunken marble bathtub and elegant antique décor.
This artful, toney, and trendy restaurant founded by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is a key gathering spot for the Beverly Hills and Hollywood set. Elton John once hosted his post-Oscars party here; Billy Crystal celebrated a birthday here; and DreamWorks and Universal Studios threw a bash at this Beverly Hills landmark. Specializing in fresh, innovative California cuisine with occasional Asian influences, Spago offers a sophisticated-yet-warm atmosphere with premium outdoor garden seating. It's also a great place to people watch.
Spago: 310.385.0880, www.wolfgangpuck.com
Spa at the Four Seasons
Tranquility greets you at the front door of this towering, white hotel, and permeates throughout the elegant spa, filled with deep-cushioned wicker furniture, flowing green plants, and French doors that open to the outdoor fitness center and pool. Unique treatments include the healing Punta Mita massage with sage and tequila. For a sybaritic L.A. spa experience, order the outdoor California Sunset Massage as daylight wanes and candlelight fills your private poolside cabana.
Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County
Some of the nation's best theater premieres at the Music Center/Performing Arts Center, whose venues include the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a recent design from inventive architect Frank Gehry. The Taper is renowned for launching new worksthree have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and several have won Tony Awards. The Chandler Pavilion, home to the L.A. Opera, also hosts companies like American Ballet Theatre. The Ahmanson hosts Broadway and other plays.
Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County: 213.972.7211, www.musiccenter.org
Skybar at Mondrian
A key place to check out the hottest L.A. stars, Skybar at Ian Schrager's Mondrian on Sunset Boulevard is a quick drive from most Beverly Hills hotels. Deceptively simple and rustic, the open-air bar is surrounded by trees, gardens, and a pool. It also boasts outstanding views of the city. Since the odds of rubbing elbows with TV and film celebs are quite favorable, it's tough to gain entrance. Ask your hotel concierge for help.
Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows
Follow in the footsteps of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Yoko Ono at this exclusive playground for the rich and famous. Exuding classic, Old-World Hollywood grace since it opened in 1912, this resort epitomizes pure indulgence and spa sensuality. Private cabanas surround the pool at this oasis where over-the-top spa treatments include caviar facials. For max luxe, consider the President's Bungalow, a private residence with a private pool.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
Revel in luxury within walking distance of Rodeo Drive at this gracious hotel with 36 suites and 16 private villas. Soak up the rays and the views of downtown L.A. from the tropical rooftop garden, pool, and spa; seek quiet respite indoors at their elegant afternoon tea; and dine onsite at the deservedly award-winning Belvedere. The ultimate is the Peninsula Villa and adjoining Villa Suite, essentially a 3,215-square-foot private residence.
Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall
One of the world's great orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic focuses on orchestral classics as well as new music, with Consulting Composer for New Music Steven Stucky, winnerthe 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Music, braving the path. The 2,265-seat Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, an innovative structure of grand and glorious arcs, justifies a visit on its own. The Philharmonic, by the way, holds its summer season at the outdoor Hollywood Bowl.
Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall: 323.850.2000, www.laphil.org
This grand former family estate is now an 18-acre public park overlooking Beverly Hills that plays host to summertime Beverly Hills Symphony concerts and other societal events. Built in 1927 at a then-whopping $3 million, this 46,000-square-foot mansion hosts the annual Beverly Hills Garden and Design Showcase each fall. Stroll the grounds for "High Tea on the Terrace," held one Saturday a month from May through August, or charm the ears at one of the Beverly Hills Symphony concerts in the mansion's courtyard. The Greystone Mansion estate also holds a springtime "Music in the Mansion" series.
Greystone Mansion: 310.550.4654, www.beverlyhills.org
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication