ROWEN CARR-ALLINSON follows Cheryl and Victoria to America's A-list mecca...
Hot on the heels of Catherine and William’s historic visit, Cheryl Cole and Kimberley Walsh’s girlie getaway at their lavish hotel, and Victoria Beckham celebrating the birth of her daughter Harper Seven, Los Angeles is obviously the place to be…
WHY SHOULD I GO?
Los Angeles is a vast sprawling metropolis on America’s West Coast. Some first-time visitors may find this a little daunting, so OK! suggests you focus on one neighbourhood such as West Hollywood (or WeHo as it’s nicknamed), which is actually a city in its own right, wedged between the Hollywood Hills (below) and Beverly Hills. It may only be 1.9 square miles spread over a few hilly blocks but it’s packed with iconic landmarks such as the 1.6km Sunset Boulevard (aka Sunset Strip), infamous hotels and legendary clubs. Celeb spotting is easy in Hollywood and you’re just as likely to bump into Cheryl Cole, Katie Price, Robbie Williams and the Beckhams as you are American stars.
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WHERE SHOULD I EAT?
If you want to bump into the Beckhams try their mate Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at The London hotel. OK! loved the plush ambiance at the Boxwood Cafe where we feasted on grilled octopus tagliatelle and beef risotto. Another hot new address in town is Eveleigh’s, where OK! enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere and delicious crispy squid. One of WeHo’s other famous hangouts is Dominick’s where Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore have been spotted – OK! adored Pink Elephant cocktails on the patio. For lunch, stop by M Café on Melrose to eat macrobiotic like Jessica Alba and Reese Witherspoon, or follow the Olsen twins and Sienna Miller who are fans of the Urth Caffé, which has appeared in TV show Entourage.
WHERE TO DRINK?
West Hollywood is renowned for its vibrant nightlife. If you want to boogie, head to clubs like Trousdale, Voyeur, Crown Bar or Mi6, or even the infamous Viper Room, were a young River Phoenix tragically died. OK! couldn’t get enough of hanging out at the swanky rooftop Skybar at the Mondrian hotel, enjoying the twinkling lights of LA.
If you’re staying at one of its participating hotels, such as the Andaz, the Sunset Strip VIP Club Pass will get you free access to many famous late-night joints such as Viper Room, the Comedy Store, Whisky A Go-Go, the Key Club, Cat Club and Rainbow.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT?
At the start of the year it’s the Golden Globes and Oscars season so this is the time to bump into the A-listers. The fourth annual Sunset Strip Music Festival (www.ssmf.com) runs from August 18-20, while America’s largest Halloween event, the Costume Carnaval, sees Santa Monica boulevard host a huge street party.
WHERE WILL I SEE A CELEB?
Everywhere! Cher, Sir Elton John, Joan Collins, Matthew Perry, and Brody Jenner all have condos at Sierra Tower in West Hollywood. During our trip OK! spotted model Amber Rose window shopping, Rachel Bilson outside her apartment and just missed Colin Firth celebrating his Walk Of Fame star dining at the Delphine restaurant at the W hotel.
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The Chateau Marmont has always been a celeb magnet. High up on Sunset Boulevard, this infamous Gothic-style hotel has been a temporary home to Greta Garbo, Keanu Reeves and Lindsay Lohan. Another celeb address is the Sunset Tower, an Art Deco residential building, where Frank Sinatra, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and John Wayne all stayed. Today the bar is still the place to spot celebs such as Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Cheryl Cole, J.Lo and Jennifer Aniston.
WHERE CAN I SHOP?
The hottest place to shop in WeHo is Melrose Avenue where OK! popped into the fab BCBG Max Azria’s store. At The Avenues, where Melrose meets Beverly and Robertson Boulevard, you’ll find Balenciaga and Alberta Ferretti. Further along, North Robertson you’ll find Armani IX, Dolce & Gabbana and celeb fave Kitson (Victoria Beckham is a fan). Another shopping haven is Sunset Boulevard’s Sunset Plaza, two blocks of fashionable boutiques al fresco cafés and restaurants.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I DO?
For film star looks book a facial at Ole Henriksen Face/Body in Sunset Plaza. Want to watch Hollywood magic in action? You can visit the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, across the road from the legendary Formosa Café. Also known as ‘The Lot’ it’s where iconic movies like West Side Story, Basic Instinct and True Blood have been filmed.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
West Hollywood is full of legendary hotels such as the Sunset Marquis, home to its celeb-packed Whisky Bar, and Mondrian. OK! checked into the Andaz Hotel West Hollywood, right in the heart of all the action on Sunset Boulevard. This hotel has had a notorious past having seen Keith Richards hurl a TV from the tenth floor and Jim Morrison dangle from a window!
Nowadays this sleek 238-room hotel oozes contemporary cool, where check-in is conducted by way of a laptop computer as you sip a drink. OK! adored the incredible views, the room service menu made to look like an LP sleeve and the beautiful bathrooms in white marble mosaic. By day, hang out at the rooftop swimming pool surrounded by cabañas and day beds, while by night dine at the hotel’s ultra-hip RH restaurant under the helm of a French Michelin-starred chef. OK! loved the seared foie gras with rhubarb compote and seared scallops on a bed of creamy celeriac. The cherry clafoutis, straight from the oven, was simply dreamy too.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Virgin Holidays (0844 557 3859; www.virginholidays.co.uk or in selected Debenhams and House Of Fraser stores) offers a five-night room-only package, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow direct to LA, hotel transfers, staying at the Andaz West Hollywood from £1,049pp. Prices are based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges. Prices are based on departures December 1-8, 2011.