This past February, I had the opportunity to produce an event in Los Angeles for a client. I was pretty excited because I’d never been to LA before, but I quickly found out it’s quite a terrible city and I maybe shouldn’t have been so excited.
Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Flying in, I was instantly disgusted by the sprawl of the city. Upon landing, I was concerned by the color of the air. Upon making my way through LAX, I was stressed out by the frenzy of the airport. While driving to my hotel in an Uber, the traffic was nightmarish. My attempts to see my friends were thwarted by conflicting schedules and the fact that Beverly Hills is apparently really far away from everything else and I didn’t have my own vehicle. In the end, I was confined to staying in 90210 for four days at which point I started to feel out of touch with reality. But in my attempt to make the best of it, here’s a list of the best parts of Beverly Hills:
The Beverly Wilshire
The event was taking place in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where Pretty Woman was filmed!), and I’d been sent down a few days early so that I could understand the lay of the land and establish in-person relationships with the hotel staff.
Now here’s the thing: I’ve stayed in nice hotels before! Or so I thought, because as it turns out, none of my hotel experiences have even come close to the level of customer service provided by the Beverly Wilshire staff. From my second that my Uber driver opened my car door, I was treated like royalty. I’d arrived before check-in so I had an hour or so to kill before my room was ready. The concierge stored by bag, handed me a bottle of Evian and a wifi passcode and sent me on my way to the pool, where I basked in the sun and worked until my room was ready – my room keys were brought to me, poolside, in a black velvet pouch.
It turns out that I had been assigned a suite (event coordinators always get the best rooms!) so I had a giant marble bathroom, a living room and a giant bedroom with a king-sized bed and a double-balcony that looked directly onto Rodeo Drive. A teeny tiny view of the Hollywood sign could be seen in the distance.
Every single time I left my hotel room – even if it was just for an hour – somehow the housekeeping staff would know it and go into my room to tidy up after me. A casually discarded piece of clothing would be folded up. My makeup would be neatly arranged on a little mat on the bathroom counter. The toilet paper would be folded into a triangle. At night, my bed would be turned down and a towel would be placed next to the bed to step onto before getting into bed. Or maybe it was where you were supposed to kneel before you said your prayers. That’s still unclear.
My only celebrity sightings the entire time I was there were some of the Houston Rockets who had lunch in the room next to the luncheon we hosted for our group, but I didn’t know who any of them wore so it doesn’t really count.
Rodeo Drive is only like, three blocks long. Does everyone know that? I didn’t. I DID know that it was full of stores that I will likely never be able to afford to set foot in, let alone shop at, so I was content to stroll along and window-shop and people-watch. I didn’t see any celebrities but I was extremely confused by the people who I DID see shopping. Who were they!? How do they have so much money? What kind of life do they lead that allows them to wake up in the morning and think, “I’m going to go shop on Rodeo Drive on a Monday morning?” So strange.
Olive & June
I hadn’t done much research about Beverly Hills prior to my arrival, but I’d seen a photo of the nail polish wall at Olive & June on Cupcakes & Cashmere. I needed a manicure and was excited to see that it was within four blocks of the hotel.
I would have preferred a less timid manicurist, but I loved the ambiance, and I liked chatting with the people around me. I also loved the intake process – where you write down all of your preferences – nail shape, amount of pressure preferred for hand massages, etc.
My mani turned out fantastic but next time I’d be sure to get a nail wrap with a gel polish on top. Wish I’d seen those sets earlier.
I cannot resist a good candy shop, and I found Sugarfina when I browsing things to go see that were within the 5 block bubble that I was up stuck in because everything in LA is too expensive to get to if you’re relying on Uber. Sugarfina is a gourmet candy shop with all SORTS of delightful things like Champagne Gummy Bears, Peach Bellini Gummies, Tahitian Vanilla Malt Balls, White Chocolate almonds disguised to look like martini olives, etc. And because I also can’t resist good packaging, I came home with a Sugarfina Faves Bento Box which I’ve been grazing from for the last three weeks.
Chaumont Bakery & Cafe
Unable to comprehend the astronomical prices associated with breakfast items at the hotel, I set out to find a more affordable option and fortunately, Chaumont Bakery & Cafe exists just around the corner from the Beverly Wilshire. I breakfasted three out of four mornings at this charming French bakery, each time spending about 1/3 of what it would have cost for room service or to eat at the hotel restaurant.
I ordered the smoked salmon scrambled eggs every time and even though I couldn’t really justify ordering one of the mouthwatering desserts in the early hours of the morning, I definitely drooled over them.
I’d passed Verameat a few times on my walks through the neighborhood but they were never open when I needed them to be, so I mustered up what was left of my energy after the event wrapped and headed over to actually SHOP instead of just window shop. This creepy thing was what made my head turn in the first place:
The sales team was so sweet and took me around to try on just about every single piece that I wanted to – encouraging me to try some of the more delicate midi-rings and to experiment with stacking (neither of which I can pull off, as it turns out).
I’d hoped that there would be a lion-themed piece of jewelry but instead I walked out with this sweet vampire ring instead:
So that just about wraps up the highlights. I didn’t really get to experience Los Angeles outside of Beverly Hills so part of me thinks that I missed out on it – and the other part of me thinks, “why would you ever live somewhere where most of your time is spent in your car, trying to get somewhere else?”. So while there’s plenty more to explore, there are plenty of other places I’d rather go first!