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Los Angeles Travel Guide

About Los Angeles

A beguiling blend of rugged mountains, urban sprawl and beautiful Pacific beaches, there’s nowhere quite like Los Angeles.

Tinsel Town, as it’s colloquially known, has no shortage of glamour either, thanks to the film stars who inhabit Beverley Hills, the picturesque suburb of Los Feliz and the annual circus that is the Oscars. As a result, most of the upmarket clubs and restaurants are surrounded by clusters of paparazzi come nightfall, while eager star spotters brandishing iPhones are a common sight on the city’s boulevards.

However, there’s more to LA than famous names, with suburbs such as Malibu and Venice Beach boasting cultural gems as well as quirky shops and interesting boutiques. The former is also home to the picturesque Malibu Pier, which has a gorgeous organic restaurant at the end, and the magnificent Getty Villa, crammed with Grecian gems.

The centre of town, in as much as LA has one, is a string of wildly disparate neighbourhoods that range from the tourist traps of Hollywood (with the Walk of Fame and Paramount Studios) to the hidden gem of Koreatown. Once down-at-heel, it is now home to vibrant bars, excellent restaurants and a motley collection of architecture that swings from classic Americana to Oriental kitsch.

Just as interesting is Little Tokyo, with its endless Hello Kitty posters and fascinating pharmacies, many pushing the bizarre beauty cures beloved of Japan’s fashionistas.

A few blocks away from the urban sprawl of Downtown LA is gay-friendly West Hollywood, which sits right next door to ritzy Beverly Hills with its sprawling mansions and the seriously high-end shopping spots along Rodeo Drive.

Burbank is home to Universal Studios with its colourful theme park and Warner Brothers, a working studio with tours where you may spot a star or two. To the north east, the small, historic and cultured city of Pasadena is a pleasant contrast to the brashness of Hollywood.

Exciting times lie ahead of the city: the Olympic Games will come to Los Angeles in 2028.

So, keep an open mind and embrace all Los Angeles has to offer and you won’t leave disappointed.

Key facts

3.990.456 (2018)
A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Featured Hotels


Jerry's Motel

A low-key motel in Downtown, just minutes from major city attractions like Los Angeles Convention Center, Dodger Stadium, Broad Museum and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Unfussy double and twin rooms offer free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and coffeemakers, and the hotel provides free parking for patrons.

Farmer’s Daughter Hotel

Featuring denim duvets, distressed hardwood floors and wrought iron artwork, this funky boutique hotel in West Hollywood is heavy on the rural theme. Located opposite LA's historic Farmer's Market, it also has a smart pool and sundeck, high speed Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. Its onsite restaurant, TART, serves up deliciously healthy hipster treats.

Sheraton Universal

Bang next door to Universal Studios, the Sheraton Universal has something of a corporate air to it but is relaxed enough to offer a poolside bar. Rooms are reasonably sized, with plenty of creams and browns keeping things neutral. It also has a small pool and modern gym facilities. Ask for a room with views of the Hollywood Hills.

The Standard

Chic and affordable, The Standard is a glimpse into the mind of hotel designer André Balazs. Young sophisticates gather in the floor-to-ceiling shag-carpeted lobby for live DJs and performance art shows, while its poolside cafe and 24-hour restaurant serve up quality American comfort food. Rooms offer kitsch furniture, including beanbag chairs.

The Beverly Wilshire

Popularised by its appearance in Pretty Woman, this Four Seasons hotel is renowned for its classical grandeur and impeccable service. An ornately carved entrance leads to a magnificent lobby and a choice between the elegant Boulevard Restaurant, a wood-panelled piano lounge and Cut, the Wolfgang Puck steakhouse. Luxurious rooms have marble bathrooms and the spa is stunning.

Shutters on the Beach

One of two luxury hotels on the beach, Shutters combines sophistication with a beach holiday atmosphere. The lobby has esteemed modern art, including pieces by David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein, and each room has a veranda. All have four-poster beds, plus a copy of Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea.