Three Great Adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

Three great adventures in Los Angeles near UCLA!

“Can you recommend a 5-hour round trip from LA to see the most sites? My husband and I will be visiting our son and his wife at UCLA in October from Alabama. While they are busy during the day, we would like to venture either north or south, preferably on the PCH to see some of California. In addition, we would love to find an interesting boutique or historic hotel to stay in near the UCLA campus.” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

UCLA is in Westwood. Stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in Westwood!

Five hours (round trip) is not a lot of time and Los Angeles is a very big place. Here are three great adventures near UCLA:

1. Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

Santa Monica Pier Sign at Ocean Blvd

I recommend you head to Santa Monica (you can take a drive down Wilshire to San Vicente through Brentwood and do some shopping on Montana Avenue). Walk the Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, and the Santa Monica Pier. Do some shopping at Santa Monica Place and have lunch at one of the many restaurants down by Santa Monica State Beach or head south on Pacific Coast Hwy to Venice Beach. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants there and visit the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Main Street and Abbot Kinney Blvd. If you have time drive into Marina Del Rey and have a drink at the The Ritz-Carlton.

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A Nice Day in Marina del Rey (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Take the 10 freeway or the Marina freeway back to the 405 freeway north, exit Wilshire Blvd east and you’ll be back in Westwood.

*One more quick note: You can also visit the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades-Malibu as a great side trip from Santa Monica. The Getty Villa houses a fantastic collection of ancient Greco-Roman art and sculpture! It’s FREE but you need to make reservations. http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/ ___________________________________________________________________

2. Century City and Beverly Hills

Century Towers - Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Century Towers – Century City, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Park at the Westfield Century City Mall in Century City, CA. There’s lots of shopping (including Bloomingdale’s), restaurants and the AMC Century City 15 movie theater. Take a walk into Century City (follow the people in suits going back to work) and visit the CAA building (aka “The Deathstar”), the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (also a great place to stay), and the Century Towers and Plaza.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel - Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel – Century City, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There’s more shopping and even better restaurants there (Craft is Tom Colicchio’s steak place). Be sure to visit the shops underground at the Twin Towers! Century City also has the The Annenberg Space for Photography (FREE!) and a few other art galleries. There are fantastic buildings and lots of hidden things to see if you just walk around during the day. Here’s a link to a list of museums and other info for the area (Westwood-Century City): http://centurycity.patch.com/directory/art-galleries

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Rodeo Drive from the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

You can also drive to Beverly Hills and visit Rodeo Drive, there’s mega-shopping and wide variety of some of LA’s finest restaurants: Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Spago Beverly Hills, Il Pastaio, Il Cielo, Fogo de Chao, Matsuhisa, Lawry’s the Prime Rib, The Farm of Beverly Hills, and many others! in addition to the The W Hotel Los Angeles – Westwood, the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills is a great boutique hotel and they have a wonderful restaurant, where you can dine indoors or outdoors in a poolside cabana at Oliverio at Avalon Beverly Hills restaurant.

Party at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Bathtub/Walk-in Shower & view at the InterContinental Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

and The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City Hotel, the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, the Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel, Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, London West Hollywood Hotel, Mondrian Hotel- Hollywood and Chateau Marmont are a few of the finest luxury hotels in the city.

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunday Brunch at the LUXE On Sunset (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Each hotel has at least one amazing restaurant and/or bar: 24/7 Diner and the Cactus Lounge/Pool at the Standard, Scarpetta and the Scarpetta Bar (and the hidden whiskey lounge Ten Pound by The Macallan), On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel (amazing Sunday Brunch!), LIVELLO, Culina, Modern Italian @CulinaLA, Tres by José Andrés, Saam at The Bazaar by José Andrés, On Rodeo Bistro Lounge, The Rooftop Grill, the Parq Bar, and Cut (Wolfgang Puck’s steak house) to name just a few.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

On Sunset Restaurant Patio at the LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

You must try Stan’s Donuts and Diddy Riese ice cream in Westwood Village And for a quick and tasty Chinese lunch or takeout try Jin Jiang at Santa Monica and Sepulveda. ___________________________________________________________________

3. The Getty Center

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

405 Freeway and the Getty Center (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

One more great 5 hour trip from UCLA is a trip to the The Getty Center and it’s FREE! http://www.getty.edu/visit/center/plan/

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

Getty Center Central Garden (view from museum)

From the Getty Center website: “The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center includes pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American, European, and Asian photographs; contemporary and modern sculpture; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, designed specifically for the Getty Center….Contemporary and modern sculpture is featured throughout the grounds, including 28 modern and contemporary outdoor sculptures installed at the Getty Center, donated by Fran and Ray Stark.” In addition to the absolutely incredible Permanent Collection, they also have changing exhibitions. Here is the exhibition schedule: http://www.getty.edu/visit/exhibitions/

You won’t be able to see everything in five hours!*

So, take your time and explore two of the four art pavilions, walk the gardens and enjoy the amazing view from above.

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

Panoramic View of West L.A. from the Getty Center

There is food available (but it’s not inexpensive), so you might want to bring a picnic lunch from one of the hotel restaurant I mentioned in my previous post, or from Whole Foods Market in Westwood, or if it’s Thursday the Westwood Village Farmer’s Market. There’s also the lovely Bel-Air Bar & Grill on Sepulveda or On Sunset @ Luxe Hotel for fine dining, either before or after. The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is a beautiful property, and I recommend an upstairs room by the pool with a balcony if available.

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Josh, these suggestions are fantastic—-can’t wait to show them to our kids before they move—-they will love them! I especially appreciate your recommending the Avalon Hotel. We love boutique hotels and this one is very reasonable! We may have to extend the trip and leave the kids behind! Thanks so much!” ~ Nancy M. from Birmingham, Alabama

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Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills

Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Party at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel 20 March 2014

Beverly Hills, California – Thursday 6pm

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Hosted Event at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire = Great Party!

We’re a Four Season’s Preferred Partner and we get special incentives, upgrades and amenities for our clients when booking accomodations worldwide!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Front Desk at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Lobby of the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Marble everyway! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

The Ballroom – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beautiful Detail on the Elevator Doors:

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Elevator Door at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Up to the Second Floor, the Rodeo Plaza Patio and the Travel Industry Reception Party!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Rodeo Drive – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View from the Patio – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Party on the Patio! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On The Menu: Grey Goose and Seven-Up, Mini sliders with cheese, crab legs in sake-mushroom broth, shrimp dim-sum, chicken potstickers, skirt steak in orange sauce, chicken in sauce, ceviche with all the fixings, a potato/goat cheese foam with black truffles and celery root puree, creamy crab in sesame cones, smoked salmon on crackers and then dessert….

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Top Shelf! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Tiny Slider! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Crab Legs! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

FOAM! Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And then DESSERT:

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert sampler: cannoli, lemon meringue tart, raspberries and cream in a chocolate cookie, milk chocolate hazelnut truffles and milk chocolate salted caramels.

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

And then MORE.

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Wilshire Blvd – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

View of Rodeo Drive – Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Mini-Bar! (Very tempting, even after all that food!)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Drive (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Beverly Hills – Thursday 8pm

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

On Rodeo in Beverly Hills (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Not just a fun event, I was working!

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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“The Art of Hospitality” LWH Hotels event at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset

LWH Hotels presents “The Art of Hospitality” at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset

First, I want to say this was an excellent “first class” event.  The LUXE on Sunset is a beautiful property and in addition to the On Sunset restaurant they have great event space!

Traffic was bearable coming from the San Fernando Valley on the 405 freeway.  Massive construction at Sunset Blvd, but with a little patience I arrived early and dropped my car with valet parking.  It was unusually quiet in the reception and lobby area, but it’s a familiar space now. (I toured the property recently and was also here for the Holland America Line seminar last week – see my past blogs for more on both of those).

The Front Desk and Reception Area:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Entrance LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Front Desk at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sitting area at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Bar and Lounge off the Lobby:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Lobby Bar at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Lobby Bar Lounge at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

ON SUNSET Restaurant:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel – On Sunset Restaurant Patio Dining (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Exterior Courtyard and Ballroom Patio Area:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Courtyard walkway and patio for the Ballrooms at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Fountain at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LWH HOTELS “THE ART OF HOSPITALITY” EVENT (with American Airlines)

Ballroom patio area pre-party:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Patio Area at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Open Bar!

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Endless Sushi! Also a carving station with turkey and prime rib, pasta salad, green salad, cucumber/tomato/onion salad, artisan bread, and a risotto bar (choose your ingredients) and then a great pastry dessert table with coffee/tea service.

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Endless Sushi at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Carving Station:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Prime rib and turkey, horseradish sauce, cranberry sauce,  and hot gravy:

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Risotto Bar (choose your own ingredients, made to order):

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Dessert Table: petit fours, pastries, cake pops, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, etc…

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Trade Show with Vendor Tables from LWH Hotels around the world: http://www.lwhhotels.com Don’t book online, contact me joshuawwilletttravel@gmail.com or another travel professional to book your reservation!

Los Angeles (On Sunset, On Rodeo Dr, and City Center at L.A. Live Downtown), La Jolla, San Diego, New York, Monterey Bay, Sedona, Colorado, London, Paris, Milan, Sorrento, Tokyo, Sydney, Vancouver and Toronto were all represented.

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Presentation and Raffle Prize Drawing!

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

LUXE Hotel on Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

After the last prize drawing, everyone headed for the valet parking, so you had to move fast or you might end up waiting a long time to get your car back.  On exiting onto Church St and then heading north on Sepulveda, there was more construction: lane closures and the 405 freeway entrance was closed at Moraga…

BIG THANKS to LWH Hotels, LUXE on Sunset, and American Airlines for the invitation!

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