An April 2001 trip
to Los Angeles by DrMaximus
Quote: What was initially intended to be a mileage run turned out to be an unforgettable trip that fulfilled one of my childhood dreams.
(1) Renting a car and driving along secluded areas in California (out of LA city). Check out my other Mojave journal!
(2) Driving up snow-capped mountains and a few hours later into the Mojave desert
(3) Staying at the Orbit Hotel
(4) Eating every other day at Johnny Rockets!
If you're going to LA, spare just a day (2 at most) exploring the touristy places eg. Beverly Hills, Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign, Mann's Theatre, Studies, CBS, etc. For the rest of the time, you really should rent a car and get out of the city into the marvellous National Parks and little towns that dot the suburbs. You will truly enjoy the untouched nature up there in the mountains, and down there in the Californian desert.
In the city, against regular advice, I found the public buses to be efficient and reasonably priced. It's .25 per ride, so please get your note and quarter ready. I was told to avoid the Metro due to expensive tickets, so I believed that and either walked or got on the bus.
Rent a car... read more about where best to rent your car!
Hotel | "Orbit Ho(s)tel"
The Orbit Ho(s)tel was such a God-send! Realise I labelled it with an 's' in brackets because although it prides itself as being a hostel, I felt that the facilities it boasted of put it on par with 2 or 3 *** hotels. The Orbit, as its name suggests, is decorated with a futuristic theme, not quite unlike some really cool funky accommodation of the next century! Expect to enjoy bright green walls in the lounge, complemented with glaring yellow love seats and coral blue table lamps.
I paid US$17 for a dorm bed, 6 to a room. For 4 to a room, one pays $22. For your own private double, it costs merely $52, which is $26 per person. A great deal. Every room, whether dorm or private, comes with an attached bath and toilet. A nice gentleman, David, does the housekeeping and cleaning every afternoon.
The in-house chef, Marco, a Brazilian gentleman, cooks fantastic breakfast for three bucks (bacon, potatoes, egg, O/J). Or you can enjoy free continental breakfast to your heart''s content. Everything here is DIY, so prepare your own meals and wash up after you. No cooking facilities, so prepare easy stuff. A trick: many people prepare pasta by putting the stuff in a jar of water and microwaving! Presto!
Location, you said? Right on hip Melrose street, where the opening credits of Melrose Place was filmed. One street next is the route on which bus #312 takes you all the way in airconditioned comfort to the Walk of Fame! Melrose and West Hollywood is also the heart of hip downtown, boasting night life you never imagined exist, and also lots of alternative lifestyles.
As you can guess, I loved the Orbit! Oh, I forgot to add this: for free transfer from LAX airport, call the toll-free number when you arrive!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2001
7950 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, California 90046
Hotel | "Coral Sands Motel (Gay)"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 28, 2003
Coral Sands Motel
1730 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027
Free pickup from airport, bus and train stations. Enormous lounge with TV, video games, billiards, nightly movies, Internet access, fax, and free breakfast. Best of all they offer 24 hour reception so you can arrive anytime of the day.
Three to four bed single-sex dorms. Best location in Hollywood on Walk Of Fame . Prices - Dorms from $16, private rooms from $40. Passport or student ID required.
The Hollywood Hotel currently offers an internet special: $999 for 28 DAYS in a private room - over $250 in savings!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 21, 2002
Hollywood International Hotel
6820 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90028
Hotel | "Loews Santa Monica"
Coincidentally, the Loews Santa Monica was offering a cheapish weekend getaway package with full breakfast and spa treatments. As icing on the cake, we were promised - and offered - a room with an unbeatable view. I think that made us stay a lot up there because the room was lavishly decorated and it was obvious that no cent was spared in creating a welcoming ambience.
We spent some time at the spa and fitness centre for which we were given vouchers. It was indeed a short getaway but one that was definitely revitalising and not easily forgettable.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 16, 2004
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, California 90401
Then I had the onion-ring/fries combo - "the perfect combination" ($3.99). Do not leave without first trying the EXCELLENT chocolate milk shake ($3.99).
Leave your table manners, table etiquette and table ethics outside the swinging door! I assure you that it's gonna get messy beyond imagination! Grab the serviettes before they run out!
For some more good ole 50's fun, pop in your penny for a song from the jukebox lining the silver top tables! This is one helluva place you must not miss when you're in LA! I went back three times, for the sake of the unforgettable shakes!
7507 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90046
Forget about playing it cool in LA; leave your rental car behind when on this trip, unless you plan on driving and reading the imfamous "Stars' Homes Map" at the same time, which means you have less time to enjoy the view, and no time at all to pick up those jaws. Get yourself on one of those "LA City Tours" (I paid $42 for mine) that bring you to the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Melrose. You get to do all these in 8 hours, and then for the rest of the 4 days or so you can spend driving that cool rental car outta city.
I have some pictures below (4 maximum as an IGoUGo policy). They are the best shots I have. While touring, do not miss Stallone's house (entirely made of marble, looking like the Vatican City), and Mel Gibson's house next door. Also, view Brad Pitt's house from atop the hill, and Leonardo DiCarprio's mansion nearby. Your driver and tourguide will point all these out to you, just get ready to click and film!
LA Stars' Homes Tour!
Los Angeles, California
Attraction | "Rodeo Drive: Pretty Woman fame"
It has been said that on Rodeo Drive, you only have enough time (and ego!) to walk into the shops to check out the price tags! Near the ostentatiously endowed Beverly-Rodeo Hotel where Roberts and her millionaire other half had their suite, there are shops where you need to make an appointment before getting in. If you are late, you have to pay a hefty fine!
If you have the spare buck, get yourself into a sidewalk cafe and sip coffee al fresco while you see the rest of the well-heeled and silver-spooned people tread by! Who knows, sitting next door could be Roberts herself!
Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive Shopping District
Rodeo Drive (and surrounding area)
Los Angeles, California 90210
On the Strip, as it is called locally, you find endless chic and very cool bars and night clubs. When the sun goes down, this area comes alive, especially after 10pm. Do not miss The Viper owned by Johnny Depp and frequented by countless stars. Also equally infamous is the House of Blues that offers an excellent Sunday Brunch twice every Sunday. It boasts of authentic architecture and interior design that is a feast for the eyes. Bribe, rob and steal... do anything to get through those doors!
The best Chinese restaurant in town is also here on the Strip, near the corner of 7000, Sunset Boulevard. Joss serves authentic Peking Duck, second to none. Dinner costs $50 upwards without liqour, and the dress coat is, unsurprisingly, absolutely formal.
West Hollywood, California 90048
All fears were allayed the moment we caught sight of Silverwood Lake, in its full majesty, grandeur and soul-relaxing beauty. No words can describe how we felt at that time, I just wish that anybody who reads this journal will someday make a trip to Silverwood and experience this for himself. Looking from high up doan at the lake below, we could see a little hut down by the coast, and my heart goes out to the owner of that place who seems to have all the beauty in this world to himself.
Silverwood National Park
Los Angeles, California 92345
Walking tours start from Mann's Chinese Theatre, in front of which many people grab their picture of Bruce Lee's Star panel on the floor. Also famous is the cement floor outside the theatre where many stars left their foot and hand prints, including Eddie Murphy's giant marks!
For Mission Impossible and Tom Cruise fanatics, dash right across the road from Mann's and walk towards the shops on the left. Outside the last one you will find Tom Cruise's Star panel on the floor! Alternatively, watch out for people queueing near some strange spot... that's probably Cruise's spot! Nearby? Sting, Johnny Depp and Madonna.
For a unique experience, head for Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, or the Guinness Book of Records Museum further down Hollywood Boulevard. This area is also good for buying autographed photographs of stars: well, I got mine!
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Blvd & Vine St.
Los Angeles, California 90028
I was trying out my digital camera for the first time on this trip, so basically I just snapped at everything in sight. Strangely, I developed a street sign fetish, if I might call it that. And indeed, LA was far from letting me down on that!
The coolest street signs gotta be around Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica and the Melrose/Hollywood area. In fact, signs near the former were utterly cool and I would add, a tad ostentatious too. But I guess such stuff fit in very well in an area that seeps with opulence.
Check out the cool ones below! Cheers!
I rented a sleek automatic 4-door econo-machine from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and boy was it a great deal!
1 full day, unlimited mileage, full insurance coverage (the works), pick-up and drop-off: all for $49! If you do not want insurance, take off $25! If you rent more than one day, the charge falls! I assure you that there's no better deal than this!
Call them up when you are in LA at 310-6572921. They have 4 locations in LA:
Beverly Hills: 265 N. Robertson Boulevard (310-5523514)
North Beverly Hills: 463 N. La Cienega Boulevard (310-6572921)
West Hollywood: 8367 West Sunset Boulevard (323-6544222)
Ramada West Hollywood: 8583 Santa Monica Boulevard (310-3600104)
Only one branch is open on Sunday (till noon). So if you have to return your vehicle on a Sunday, drive it to the branch at West Hollywood (Sunset Boulevard). It doesn't matter if you got the car from another branch. Hope this helps!