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Los Angeles - where to stay?

(22 Posts)
TequilaMockinBird Mon 10-Aug-15 13:05:22

DH and I have booked flights to LA for early next year and are now looking at hotels.

We don't plan on hiring a car so would like to stay somewhere fairly central. Want to see usual touristy things - walk of fame, Chinese theatre, Hollywood sign, celebs houses etc.

Would love to stay in Beverly Hills but is it doable without a car? Would we be better to stay in Hollywood or downtown LA?

Any recommendations? Or any places to avoid completely?

TIA

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 10-Aug-15 15:09:17

How long are you planning to spend there?.

LA is an urban sprall of around 100 cities joined together. It is truly vast.

Public transport can be a bit tricky because of the sheer area but the Metro underground service is popular, policed and very much used. It costs $7 for a one day pass.

If you are not planning on hiring a car I would look for a hotel within reasonable distance of one of these metro stops to the north of the Downtown area or stay in Downtown LA itself (for instance the nearest Metro stop for Manns Chinese Theater is Hollywood and Highland). I would not stay on Hollywood Blvd itself because it is very noisy and crowded much of the day particularly on weekends (that whole area is somewhat of a tourist trap).

You can actually get a good view of the Hollywood sign from the rear of the shopping mall located near that metro stop. (The residents who live near that sign in that canyon discourage people from driving up there because they have become fed up with the number of visitors; they also cite safety concerns in the canyon for example it is a fire risk).

Many celebs now live in Bel Air or Malibu so you may not get to see much at all on a general "Star Homes tour" other than walled off gardens.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 10-Aug-15 15:26:41

We stayed at the Beverley Hilton, near Rodeo drive. They had a hotel limo for guests' use then (it was a few years ago) and we used that for shopping and taxis for anything else

TequilaMockinBird Mon 10-Aug-15 18:01:03

We're only staying 2 nights/3 days before heading to Vegas so want to cram as much in as we can.

I have looked at the Beverly Hilton, and also the Loews Hollywood.

Will look at Downtown LA too, good to know they have a metro but I'd rather be in walking distance of as much as possible really. Appreciate that might be difficult though judging by the size shock didn't realize LA was so big! blush

caroldecker Mon 10-Aug-15 18:36:24

LA is seriously large. I have stayed several times and much preferred the beach areas to Hollywood.

Itsbloodyraining Mon 10-Aug-15 19:16:15

I would stay in Santa Monica. The bus goes into Hollywood. I seriously wouldn't stay there though as it's rough. I wouldn't have thought downtown would be nice either?

TequilaMockinBird Mon 10-Aug-15 20:26:43

We're not really beach people though, prefer sightseeing and shopping. And as we only have a short time there, we'd rather be in the touristy parts IYSWIM. If we were going for longer then I'd definitely stay somewhere like Santa Monica and travel in.

Universal studios is also on our list, and I'm guessing we can probably write off a whole day for that!

I had thought that downtown might be a bit rough but didn't think Hollywood would be. Hmm maybe I need to do a bit more research first

Alicekeach Mon 10-Aug-15 20:31:26

We stayed near the airport and there were notices in the rooms advising female guests to request a staff member to escort them if they needed to go to the hotel car park after dark sad. I agree that Hollywood was rough. Beverly Hills was nicer from what we saw of it. Downtown seemed ok in daylight but we didn't see it after dark. Basically, I wouldn't go back to LA if you paid me! Oh, the Queen Mary tour was interesting though....

Mimigolightly Mon 10-Aug-15 20:40:48

I lived in LA for 2 years on a work secondment. You seriously need to consider hiring a car or fork out for getting cabs. LA is huge and very few people use public transport. I tried to do without a car for a while but didn't feel safe on public transport, even as a Londoner.

Christelle2207 Mon 10-Aug-15 20:45:55

I don't think any two interesting places in LA are within walking distance of each other! Truly vast.
We didn't hire a car but used a heck of a lot of taxis.

Itsbloodyraining Mon 10-Aug-15 20:52:53

Santa Monica is great for shopping and eating out. It feels very bright and safe, and it's only up the road to Hollywood and all the tourist places. I'm sure it's only a half hour bus ride.

Our airport shuttle driver told us that all the tourists want to stay in Hollywood, but Santa Monica is the place to be!

Itsbloodyraining Mon 10-Aug-15 20:54:39

You can pick up cheap tours in Hollywood: star's homes, sign. Theatre is just there, so you can do that yourself.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 10-Aug-15 21:00:12

We stayed in Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, which was lovely, the most comfortable bed and pillows that I have ever slept on

TequilaMockinBird Mon 10-Aug-15 21:01:48

Oh, ok. Thanks, will look at Santa Monica too then.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Mon 10-Aug-15 21:03:47

We also stayed in Santa Monica. The DoubleTree was 10 mins walk to the beach and shopping area. We hired a car which I think is essential but I think there's a tourist bus that goes up Santa Monica Boulevard to Hollywood. It's included in the GO Los Angeles card I think.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 10-Aug-15 21:08:49

This is making good reading for me, we'll be in Santa Monica in two weeks, can't wait smile. We were recommended a hotel called The Huntley, but actually staying at Fairmont Mirimar, also recommended.

SallyStudioIsMyFriend Mon 10-Aug-15 21:12:40

We were therein June and stayed in Marina Del Ray. We were not too far from Santa Monica and i think if we go again we will stay there. Our hotel was lovely but not too much else to do there without the car. Agree you need a car although i hated driving, managed ok. Get sat nav. You do not want to get lost in LA.
We got a tour bus with 2 day ticket so saw all sights using that. Have fun.

badb Mon 10-Aug-15 21:22:14

We were there for the same amount of time a couple of years ago, and stayed in the Roosevelt. It's right on Hollywood Boulevard, across from the Chinese Theatre, on the Walk of Fame etc. We could see the sign from our room (well, far in the distance!). The hotel is amazing - really old Hollywood, and has a cool pool - we went to one of the pool parties and it was...eye-opening smile

Hollywood is a bit grim, to be honest, but if you are only there for a short time, it's fine. We went out to Beverley Hills for dinner, and to Santa Monica one day, Rodeo Drive etc. We had a car (though we used cabs in the evening), and did Mulholland Drive, which was amazing. Beautiful views.

Have fun. Not jealous. At all.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Aug-15 07:23:42

Re your comments in quote marks:-

"Universal studios is also on our list, and I'm guessing we can probably write off a whole day for that!"

Indeed. I would look at booking their VIP Experience tour as well particularly if you are short on time.

"I had thought that downtown might be a bit rough but didn't think Hollywood would be"

Oh but it is. Parts of that area (particularly around Hollywood and Vine) are a real dive. The Hollywood area is around 20 minutes by metro away from the Universal City area (there is a metro service that connects these two places, you can then catch their shuttle up to Universal Hollywood). Have a look too at online maps of the Greater Los Angeles area.

Solely for your particular travel needs and the fact that you'll only be there a couple of days I would focus on more central areas rather than Santa Monica.

I thought Downtown was ok, certainly preferred that to the sheer mass of people immediately outside of Manns Chinese Theater for instance. I was there very recently and found the Metro service to be reliable, policed and useful as a way of getting around.

Bunbaker Tue 11-Aug-15 07:38:14

LA, and indeed most places in the US are simply not geared up to people who don't drive.

I second (or third?) the suggestions that you take a couple of tours to see places. We stayed in Anaheim when we visited LA because we wanted to go to Disneyland. We had a courtesy bus from the hotel to the theme park. We then booked tours for Universal Studios and seeing other parts of LA.

We usually avoid tour buses like the plague, but found this was by far the easiest and most stress free way of seeing the city and places of interest worth visiting.

SquirrelledAway Tue 11-Aug-15 13:50:21

Another vote here for staying at the Marina Del Rey hotel - very nice, and the restaurant is good for dinner, and we walked from there up to Venice Beach and Santa Monica pier (taxi back). I'd recommend hiring a car and a sat nav to get around (can't believe how easy it makes navigating around, after years of just using maps and a large amount of swearing) or budgeting for taxis. If you hire a car from the UK you'll get all of your insurances and additional drivers included, plus a zero excess.

DeliveredByKiki Thu 13-Aug-15 06:10:01

FYI metro is about to open between dowtown and Santa Monica, so you can get there easily and quickly as of a few weeks time - I'd personally stay downtown considering what you want to fit in without hiring a car. Metro also goes to Hollywood (not bev hills though)

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