Los Angeles Tour: Beverly Hills
Feel like Hollywood royalty in L.A.’s most luxurious neighborhood.
In the 1920’s, movie stars began erecting mansions in the former bean fields of Beverly Hills, and ever since, the neighborhood has been synonymous with the apex of luxury. In the lushly landscaped, hilly streets above Sunset Boulevard, media moguls and heiresses reside in veritable palaces, but even the most elite of Beverly Hills royalty descends to the “Golden Triangle”–bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, and Canon Drive–once in awhile to grab a bite and get a haircut. Here you'll find famous luxury shopping lane Rodeo Drive and walking-friendly side streets crammed with the crème de la crème of restaurants and retail. Young Hollywood tends to favor Robertson Boulevard on the neighborhood's eastern edge for its ultra-trendy boutiques–getting photographed there by paparazzi is practically a rite of passage.
1 Spago, Beverly Hills
Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck opened his flagship California Cuisine restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in 1982, later moving it to this location in Beverly Hillâ€™s Golden Triangle. Executive chef Lee Hefter, a James Beard Award winner, has helped craft a daily-changing menu along with signature dishes, such as smoked salmon and caviar pizza, handmade agnolotti, and tuna cones. For dessert, there is Wolfgang Puckâ€™s favorite childhood confection, kaiserschmarrn (traditional Austrian caramelized pancakes). The open kitchen is situated behind a colorful etched-glass divider. Outdoor seating is also available on the Tuscan-style terrace, surrounded by plants, flowers, and stone statues.
2 Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows
Also known as the â€œPink Palace,â€
3 The Bazaar by JosÃ© AndrÃ©s
The restaurantâ€”a $12 million collaboration at the SLS Hotel between the madcap Spanish chef JosÃ© AndrÃ©s, designer Philippe Starck, and hotelier Sam Nazarianâ€”is a restaurant in the way that Avatar is a movie: every element is engineered to dazzle and disorient, for better or for worse, starting with the wacky, 12,500-square-foot interior (which combines a patisserie, a bar, two dining rooms, a Moss design shop, and an itinerant palm reader). Then thereâ€™s the menu itselfâ€”half devoted to traditional tapas, the other to metaphysical riffs on same. Sure, some of it reads like molecular gastronomyâ€™s greatest hits: the foie gras cotton candy, the dainty ice cream cones of caviar, the requisite spherified olives (which taste like salty tears). Yet only the jaded could deny the joy here. Behold the seared arctic char, delivered under a silver dome, which the server lifts to unleash a swirl of applewood-scented â€œsmoke.â€
4 Virginia Robinson Gardens
This six-acre estate, renowned as the first luxury home in Beverly Hills, was constructed in 1911 and has been preserved in order to allow visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the likes of Fred Astaire, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many other aristocrats of the day. The camellia- and azalea-filled Italian terrace, king palm forest with orchids and clivias, and the bucolic rose garden surround the immaculate mansion and Great Lawn. Red brick paths carve their way through the grounds among the statues of cherubs and fountains. Property tours are available by reservation only.
5 The Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center is a repository of nearly 100 years of television and radio history that aims to examine the relationship between these art forms, as well as emerging media platforms, and society. Shows from the 150,000-program collection are regularly screened in the on-site theater (check the website for daily schedules), and there are also worthwhile rotating exhibits and panel discussions with industry professionals. The annual PaleyFest connects fans with the casts and creative teams of their favorite television series.