This is the first of an upcoming series of posts from recent trips. Snippets and tips based on first hand experience…
This was a road trip in November 2013 flying in and out of Los Angeles with British Airways. Note one has to be the flight itself – outbound on one of BA’s new A380’s. This is a plane with wow factor, as in ‘wow its so huge, will it actually take off’!
Onboard and in flight though, what joy! We were in economy but the seat comfort bore no comparison to the return flight on an older aircraft. I don’t know what they’ve done to the seat design but, whatever, it has worked. Useful features include larger than normal overhead bins and a side storage bin eliminating the need to wedge stuff in the seat pocket (though not sure what you do if travelling solo and need to share it with a stranger??). The inflight entertainment, food and service on board were all terrific – and the crew seemed genuinely proud of the improved standards. Nice to see and a very pleasant flight.
Our LA highlight came on our first morning – waking up on UK time i.e. ridiculously early, we were disappointed to draw back the curtains and find dense fog. Luckily we resisted the urge to go back to bed and instead headed out and up to the Hollywood Hills. By the time we arrived (around 8am) the sun was working its magic burning off the fog and we got our first glimpse of that famous Hollywood sign. We’d read about a trail that takes you from the sign across to the Griffith Observatory. Detailed directions and parking advice here
Definitely worth doing – take around 60-90 mins at a steady pace and the reward is fabulous views back down to the LA ‘bowl’ – that particular morning still shrouded in fog. A great way to get the city overview. Best done either very early morning or late afternoon (to catch sunset)
We ticked most of the tourist boxes in the city but one of my favourite things in LA was people watching. Seriously, its endlessly fascinating. A great vantage point was the pavement bar of our hotel, The Luxe on Rodeo Drive. We spent a very ‘Happy Hour’ (or two) sipping a glass of something chilled and watching the world go by.
The Luxe also proved to be very well placed for shopping – not on Rodeo Drive itself of course (strictly window shopping there for the likes of us) but the road that runs parallel behind, North Beverly Drive, is a quality brand goldmine with the likes of Lucky Brand, Club Monaco, Roots, Banana Republic, Jigsaw and many more. I also loved The Grove shopping village – again, great variety of brands including my current US favourite, Madewell.
LA is awash with restaurants of course but our favourite foodie find was dinner at Scarpetta on Canon Drive. We hadn’t booked but, by chance, they managed to squeeze us in at the chef’s table – a ringside seat to the kitchen action. It was like being in an episode of MasterChef! Much more entertaining the watching other diners.
Scarpetta has a great Italian menu and super friendly, knowledgable staff. If we’d known the nibbles were so extensive – diabolo bread with cheese and pancetta, ciabatta with caponata and infused oils – we might not have ordered appetisers but my raw yellow fin tuna and my husband’s aubergine and quinoa salad were delicious, swiftly followed by equally tasty ravioli mains. Total bill including wine around $150.
And, lastly, as we were staying in Beverley Hills it would have been rude not to pop in to the Beverley Wilshire for a ‘Pretty Woman’ cocktail. Cocktail prices from $15-18 including generous nibbles and a great way to kick off an evening.
Coming soon… the trip cont/d in Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, San Diego and Palm Springs.