The temperature is on the high side of 90 as my husband, Peter Boyle, and I step onto the red carpet of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles for the 2003 Emmy Awards. A publicist guides us to Joan Rivers's podium, where a portable air conditioner attempts to keep Joan cool even though her neck is swathed in what looks like bronzed turkey feathers. I feel a gentle tap on my hot shoulder and turn around to find makeup wizard Daniel McFadden. He pulls blotting paper from his tuxedo pocket and touches up my already shiny nose.
As the wife of an actor (Peter was nominated for best supporting actor in Everybody Loves Raymond), I'm often a civilian in the land of fame and although I do walk the red carpet as cameras flash, they're not aimed at me. They're for Jennifer Garner, whose body is so slim it would fit through the eye of a needle, and Patricia Heaton, smiling in the forties-style glamour of a cream charmeuse Ralph Lauren gown. From awards ceremonies like the Oscars (this year on the last Sunday in February) and January's Golden Globes to premieres and charity events, the red carpet always presents picture-perfect celebrities. I realize I'll never look quite like Jennifer or Patricia, but with the help of their experts, I can look my very best. Here, my secret addresses for Hollywood's top salons, stylists, spas, shops, hotels, and restaurants.
A Cut Above: Hair and Makeup
OLE HENRIKSEN FACE/BODY 8622A W. Sunset Blvd.; 310/854-7700. STAR SIGHTINGS Charlize Theron, Renée Zellweger. SERVICES Massages (hot stone, deep-tissue, Thai), manicures and pedicures, exfoliating treatments, waxing. DON'T MISS The heavenly cucumber, honey, and milk moisturizing bath ($105). EXPERT OPINION Two days before an event, Henriksen recommends, have a facial, which stimulates and oxygenates the muscles of the face, as well as a massage: "Muscles in the upper body lock up very easily. If circulation is impaired, the face does not have the same glow."
ONA SPA 7373 Beverly Blvd.; 323/931-4442. STAR SIGHTINGS Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Ryan. SERVICES From massages and facials all the way up to Botox injections (well-known plastic surgeon Stanley Frileck is a co-owner). DON'T MISS The soothing orange body wrap; it includes exfoliation with citrus-scented sugar, then a gentle Vichy shower followed by a massage.
PRIVÉ 7373 Beverly Blvd.; 323/931-5559. STAR SIGHTINGS Uma Thurman, Audrey Tautou. SERVICES In the same building as Ona Spa, the Privé salon offers cuts, color, makeup, and more. A haircut by owner Laurent Dufourg starts at $225; cuts with other stylists begin at $90. DON'T MISS Makeup lessons (from $125) by Daniel McFadden, who counts Rachel Griffiths and Christina Ricci among his clients. "You use lots of makeup for a special event, but you don't want to look scary when the lights go on." EXPERT OPINION McFadden has his own line of cosmetics but swears by Gerda Spillmann's cream foundation for an evening face. "Elizabeth Taylor told me it covers a multitude of sins."
THE BUNGALOW 8473 Melrose Place; 323/655-4040 for hair, 323/653-2291 for nails. STAR SIGHTINGS Laura Linney, Gwen Stefani. SERVICES Manicures by Carla Kay, haircuts by up-and-coming stylist Myles Haddad in a 12-chair salon. There's also a separate VIP room for those who want a cut in private, but no matter where you sit, Haddad promises, "You're getting the quality you'll get elsewhere—with no attitude."
L.A. VIE L'ORANGE 638 1/2 N. Robertson Blvd., W. Hollywood; 310/289-2501. STAR SIGHTINGS Sharon Stone, Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey. SERVICES Manicures, pedicures, specialized foot and hand treatments, makeup. DON'T MISS The Walk on the Beach foot soak begins in basins of warm water filled with floating blossoms and orange slices and finishes up with a seaweed-oatmeal scrub. EXPERT OPINION "My job is to create illusion," says eyebrow specialist Tonya Crooks, "to make everyone look like a princess."
Stop and Shop: The Best in Personal Style
BARNEYS NEW YORK 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310/276-4400. EXPERT OPINION If you can't afford your own stylist, seek out P. J. Jacobs, the store's personal shopper. This chic woman has years of experience in selling designer clothes and will guide you through racks of Emanuel Ungaro, Vera Wang, and Zac Posen.
GIORGIO ARMANI 436 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310/271-5555. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Attentive service from personal shopper Gabriella Romo (call ahead—she's booked well in advance). STAR SIGHTINGS Maria Shriver, California's new first lady, recently browsed the racks without once being disturbed.
STUART WEITZMAN 437 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310/860-9600. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Shoes and accessories that match the high style of Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo at nearly half the price. EXPERT OPINION For celebrity photo shoots, stylist Ricci DeMartino (Cloutier Agency, 310/394-8813) keeps a closet with more than 200 pairs of fabulous footwear—many of them Stuart Weitzman designs.
LANA MARKS 465 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310/274-5240. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Stunning evening bags in satin, alligator, and lizard, dyed in a rainbow of colors. STAR SIGHTINGS Sarah Jessica Parker recently carried the shop's silver alligator Cleopatra clutch ($3,000).
ANYA HINDMARCH 118 S. Robertson Blvd.; 310/271-9707. WHAT TO LOOK FOR One-of-a-kind bags (bead-embroidered and silk moiré purses, totes with personalized photos silk-screened on them) from the British designer. STAR SIGHTINGS Renée Zellweger and Debra Messing have shopped here.
RAFINITY 1408A Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica; 310/458-3515. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Modern jewelry designs. Rafinity tweaks the traditional dome cocktail ring by setting a 9.62-carat diamond upside down ($24,000). EXPERT OPINION Co-owner Ann Whatu says colored gems like black and chocolate diamonds are all the rage. "Chocolate will go with everything." STAR SIGHTINGS Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez.
DAVID ORGELL 320 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310/273-6660. WHAT TO LOOK FOR Vintage rings and necklaces from the oldest jeweler on Rodeo Drive (in business for more than 70 years).
THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 800/462-7899 or 310/551-2888; www.peninsula.com; doubles from $395. THE SCOOP During awards season, the hotel shop stocks cuff links, evening bags, and even an on-call seamstress for last-minute problems. STAR SIGHTINGS The casts of Sex and the City and The Sopranos have been spotted here.
RAFFLES L'ERMITAGE 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills; 800/800-2113 or 310/278-3344; www.lermitagehotel.com; doubles from $418. THE SCOOP Rooms here have screening room-worthy, 40-inch TV's and surround-sound Bose speakers. STAR SIGHTINGS Julia Roberts, James Woods.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL 300 S. Doheny Dr.; 800/332-3442 or 310/273-2222; www.fourseasons.com; doubles from $350. THE SCOOP When celebs descend on the city for an event, they often snap up one of the Four Seasons' corner rooms, which feature wraparound balconies with views of the Hollywood Hills. STAR SIGHTINGS Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna.
MR. CHOW 344 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; 310/278-9911; dinner for two $112. ON THE MENU Modern Beijing cuisine (green prawns, hand-pulled noodles) in a contemporary black and white space. STAR SIGHTINGS Kirsten Dunst, Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Demi Moore.
SPAGO 176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-385-0880, dinner for two $160. ON THE MENU Dishes from the inventive Wolfgang Puck include Cantonese duck with blood oranges and lamb daube with Parmesan gnocchi. STAR SIGHTINGS Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette.
AGO 8478 Melrose Ave., W. Hollywood; 323/655-6333; dinner for two $130. ON THE MENU Co-owned by Robert De Niro, Miramax honchos Harvey and Bob Weinstein, and Ridley Scott, Ago serves updated Tuscan fare, such as housemade tagliatelle ai carciofi (tagliatelle with artichokes) and bistecca alla fiorentina, a 22-ounce steak prepared in a wood-burning oven. STAR SIGHTINGS George Clooney, Sharon Stone, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carrey, Rob Lowe.
THE IVY 113 N. Robertson Blvd.; 310/274-8303; dinner for two $100. ON THE MENU New American cuisine—spicy Louisiana crab cakes, homemade butterscotch sundaes—in an intimate, folksy dining room and on a walled outdoor patio covered with climbing roses. STAR SIGHTINGS Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck.
Mr. Chow, Beverly Hills
The second outpost of this famed, nouveau-Chinese eatery—helmed by chef, artist, and Renaissance man Michael Chow—actually lives up to the hype. Chow’s menu titillates the palate rather than fills the stomach; small plates like diced squab in crisp lettuce cups, spicy shrimp dumplings, and house-made garlic noodles (served tableside with great ceremony) are delicious but light enough to leave you wanting dessert of crispy Chinese almond cookies and a foamy cappuccino. If you’re feeling adventurous, do as the attentive, suit-wearing servers recommend and go for the five-course blind tasting spread.
Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck opened his flagship California cuisine restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in 1982, later moving it to this location in the Beverly Hills Golden Triangle. Chef de Cuisine Tetsu Yagahi crafts a menu with Japanese flair, as well as dishes that have been around since day one, like smoked salmon and caviar pizza, handmade agnolotti, and tuna cones. Request a table on the recently renovated outdoor terrace.
Enjoy the New American cuisine—spicy Louisiana crab cakes, homemade butterscotch sundaes—in the intimate, folksy dining room of this Los Angeles institution, or in its walled outdoor patio covered with climbing roses. However, you’ll probably be too distracted by the celebrity at the table next to you to pay attention to your food. Past sightings include Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, and Ben Affleck. The actress Bai Ling recommends the tarte tatine and the mint tea made with fresh mint leaves, while Donald Trump is partial to the prime rib.
Agostino Sciandri and actor Robert De Niro teamed to open this Tuscan trattoria in 1997. Out front, there are cypress and olive trees, as well as an enclosed patio to protect against (rare) inclement weather. The dining room itself has an exhibition kitchen and a glass and steel bar. The key piece of kitchen equipment is the wood-burning oven, which eschews pizzas in favor of proteins like a 22-ounce T-bone steak and baby rack of lamb. Other choices include the pounded and breaded veal chop, cylindrical paccheri pasta with lamb ragú, and tomato-based seafood risotto. Dolci are classic Italian, consisting of cannoli, tiramisu, and gelato.
L'Ermitage Beverly Hills
Minutes from Rodeo Drive, this sleek, residence-style hotel is a favorite with visiting fashionistas (no less than Giorgio Armani stays here when he’s in town, and Julia Roberts makes appearances, too). A streamlined, uncluttered aesthetic prevails in the newly minted 116 suites, some of the most spacious in town. All have platform beds and fluffy duvets, flat-screen TVs, surround-sound Bose speakers, and personal lighting and temperature controls. The rooftop pool, with its teak chaises and panoramic views over the Hollywood Hills, is a scene unto itself; if you’re a VIP (or want to feel like one) book one of the two Moroccan-style cabanas, which come with stereos and drink-stocked fridges.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
When it comes to luxury, the opulent Peninsula Beverly Hills has it honed in. The five star property is right in the heart of all of the high end shopping and dining the 90210 has to offer, but you needn’t leave your room to feel like you’re living in the lap. Upgraded rooms and suites boast patios, hot tubs, and kitchenettes, some including verdant garden views. There’s also a rooftop restaurant and garden, a super-chic swimming pool with panoramic L.A. views, and a spa offering gemstone facials.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
The $38 million facelift this Beverly Hills classic completed in 2012 may just be the best cosmetic work to come out of La-La Land. The complete renovation aimed to combine the hotel’s signature floral motifs with a new sense of California cool–natural elements and hues, added privacy for events and celebrity guests, and a bit more whimsy. The spectacularly huge floral arrangement that dominates this hotel’s small lobby hints at the opulence of the 285 rooms and suites, which have a glamorous 1940’s vibe, tempered by pops of teal or coral. Most have spacious marble bathrooms and balconies big enough to read the morning paper on. There’s a see-and-be-seen scene at the rooftop pool, where Hollywood bigwigs review scripts over Bellinis and divas disappear into poolside cabanas for their afternoon massages. If you don’t run into your favorite star while waiting for an ultra regenerating facial, you probably will at the lavish Sunday brunch at Culina, Modern Italian, the hotel’s new restaurant.