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First time to LA area. Where should we stay?

Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 09:36 AM
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First time to LA area. Where should we stay?

We are planning a trip to Cali in march and will be in the LA area for 3/4 days. Want to stay somewhere luxurious. Several quality places are on Amex;s fine hotels list, including L'ermitage, hotel Bel Aire, two Four seasons and the peninsula. DH (who has been before) thinks maybe we should stay at Shutters. Not having been to this part of Cali before, i don't know what to expect, but the rumors of traffic in LA scare me and id like to be somewhere where we wont have to deal with traffic too much.

Our proposed activities are maybe one day at Disney for our four year old, great dinners out and getting a feel of the area. Any suggestions? TIA
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 09:42 AM
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Welcome to California. If you call it Cali, you will not be welcomed.

Curious
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 10:22 AM
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Looks like Curious was a big help although right about people not using the name Cali. Anyway, unfortunately you can't come to LA and not have traffic. There are ways to get around the worst of it depending on the time you travel. I do love Santa Monica and hotels there including Shutters but getting in and out of Santa Monica does take some time especially during rush hour. Maybe if you let us know more what you want to do besides Disneyland, we can be more specific with area to stay.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 03:33 PM
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ah well, didn't realize i was making such a major faux pas. I didn't want to say LA, as my husband says ppl often stay in beverly hills when in that area and i wanted to keep it general.

In any event, i have no idea what we will do while there. Hit rodea drive? eat alot? if we stay at shutters, we would enjoy the beach but that isn't a must on this trip.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 03:40 PM
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I didn't want to say LA, as my husband says ppl often stay in beverly hills when in that area and i wanted to keep it general.

Ha - "LA" includes Beverly Hills, generally speaking LOL (and Malibu, and the beach towns south of the airport, Hollywood, etc.)
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 04:37 PM
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well, as you can tell, I'm not too familiar with the area. perhaps i should just stay home. Thanks for the help.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 04:50 PM
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Since this is just about "Cali" with no specific interests other than a nice hotel, Terranea sounds like a good choice.

http://www.terranea.com/

The restaurants are good there, as well as at Trump National which is just down the road.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 05:18 PM
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La-di-da.

If these places were in my travel budget, I would stay at Raffles L'Ermitage Beverly Hills.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 05:58 PM
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If you don't mind what I hope will be helpful advice, I have a theory about the lack of useful assistance here. You are still rather unfocused about what you want to do--understandably as you are in the very early stages of your planning---and a good guidebook, or two, that you could borrow from the library would be, IMO, a real asset in narrowing your search. People on this board are usually informative, but I think that they need a little more to work with.

Even doing a search of Los Angeles on this US forum will yield lots of info.

Disneyland is 40 miles or more from most of LA and the traffic is bad, no getting around that.

As stated above, have no concern that using the term LA will limit you. No one would ever think that b/c you ask about hotels, restaurants or things to do in LA, that they would therefore neglect to mention Beverly Hills or any of the myriad of places that fall into the LA designation. Generally when saying LA, one means the entire metro area which is huge!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 06:08 PM
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Thanks socialworker. I guess I should have just posted "of the following hotels, which one would you recommend and why", bc in essence that was what i was looking for. I'm a long time fodors forum poster and I understand the need for more info in certain posts. I haven't posted in a few months , but i didn't think my post was that vague. We'd like a luxurious hotel so I listed several examples of the ones we are considering. I'm told LA is nothing like NY- you need a car, nothing is "right there" and traffic is bad (well, that could be true of nY too). As a first time visitor who is just looking to get a feel for the place and dine well and relax (and spend a day at disney) which hotel would frequent visitors recommend? Is shutters to out of the way? Is one LA luxury hotel better than the other?

I do understand you were trying to be helpful SW. I must say though, I don't remember the forums being quite like this before. Very disappointing.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 07:50 PM
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I'm sorry you took my post that way - really, I was just trying to be funny while explaining what sw explained better --that "LA" includes the whole metropolitan area.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 08:50 PM
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On your list, my first choice would be the Bel Air, but unfortunately it's closed for renovations until 2011.

Again from your list, my second choice would be either the Peninsula (better on-site dining) or Raffles (quieter location). The Peninsula is just outside the "Golden Triangle" of Beverly Hills, and Raffles is within walking distance.

The Four Seasons is closest to West Hollywood and Hollywood.

Terranea's location is remote, far from a large choice of restaurants, far from freeways. The property is beautiful and offers many lodging options and activities for families. Early March might be iffy weatherwise, but late March should be good but probably not warm enough to enjoy the swimming pools.

http://www.terranea.com/

On another thread, I was prompted to remember a charming B&B in Pasadena. I don't know if the idea of a B&B full of chintz interests you, but Pasadena has an incredible concentration of good restaurants and a lively downtown. The location of this B&B is in an Old Pasadena residential area.

http://www.bissellhouse.com/
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 10:01 PM
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emcash--I see this trip as two parts--relaxation for you two and a Disney day for your child.

So, if I were you I would stay in two places: I would come in from the airport the first evening and make the drive to Anaheim and stay in a really nice property at Disney. My friend who stays in the Disneyland hotels (every Thanksgiving for several years!) tells me the Grand Californian is the nicest and it sure looks that way from the outside. Beautiful lodge, styled after the national parks.

Then you will get an early start into the park with your 4-year-old when your little one is at his/her best. At the end of the day when he/she is tired, into the back of the car, and head for your Los Angeles hotel.

If you check my name, I have a trip report from last year to Los Angeles (primarily Disneyland). We stayed budget, but there is a discussion of the different restaurants in the park.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 04:29 AM
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Thanks for the helpful replies. We get in soooo late (eastern time) the night we arrive, im considering just staying at a hotel near or at the airport and then heading to LA. The disney hotel rec is a good one though.

L'ermitage sounds like perhaps the winner. Thank you
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 06:00 AM
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emcash... If you are getting in late and can stand a one hour drive, you will be far ahead of the game to head straight to your hotel at Disneyland! (Often the bad traffic is near LAX)Your late arrival will help you breeze straight down to The Mouse!

The Grand Californian is a wonderful hotel and if you put it in a search, several people on these boards have made comments about it. It really is the newest and nicest hotel there and it is certainly convenient. I'd suggest two days at Disneyland if youre getting in late the night before and will most likely not be back for many years, if ever. A four year old will be the perfect age to see and ride everything!

Also, if you aren't looking to "see the sights" in LA and just want to relax.. I might head south to the Ritz in Laguna Nigel. The property is gorgeous and there are certainly places to shop and restaurants in abundance. Im sorry I havent stayed at any of the places on your list.

Welcome to California!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 06:11 AM
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Two of the beach city options are Marriott's Newport Coast location near Corona del Mar and the Laguna Cliffs. Both qualify as luxurious, have great ocean views and settings. You are convenient to Disney, Fashion Island, and South Coast Plaza from Newport Coast. Many fine dining destinations nearby.

However, you are an hour from the city of Los Angeles or Beverly Hills. These places are a different vacation than the Santa Monica base of operation, but a pleasant alternative.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 07:16 AM
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Well, I'm from California and I LOVE when tourists call it "Cali"! So there!

I would definitely pick Shutters! First it's an easy drive from the airport or a quick 15 min in a cab late at night. Plenty of dining and shopping in the area, plus the Santa Monica area is not just "beach", it's BEACH SCENE....the 4 year old will love to look at the Ferris Wheel in the playland at the Pier just a short walk away....the jugglers, the bikers, the rollerskaters....it's almost like a trip to Coney Island. Plenty of walkable dining etc nearby, no car needed. You wouldn't even need to rent a car if you really didn't want to as Starline Tours and others will sell you a package to Disney and pick you up and drop you off near the hotel. (Disney is almost an hour's drive, by the way, and if you do get the car try to stay on east coast time, get up at 6am, do the drive before 7:30am traffic, and eat breakfast closer to Disney!) However, there is a lot to see in LA and without a car and only a few days...it would be difficult both from SM or from BH. The Zoo, the Observatory, the Tar Pits (fossils)...the auto Museum, the Getty Center...the Studio tours...Disney...Legoland (2 hrs)....with a car your 4 year old will have a real head-spinning 4 days but if you're looking more for just relaxation and an short introduction to the area you'll be fine as well. And while you're THINKING that this is not a "beach trip"....I think you're forgetting how itching you're gonna be to get out of that New York winter in March!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 09:30 AM
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I agree with divineMissM about your child enjoying the ferris wheel and pier scene at Santa Monica, but otherwise I'm not a fan of Santa Monica at all. FWIW, I don't agree with her on the "Cali" thing, and I'm a California native.

I agree with onemoneygirl about heading to Anaheim on arrival if at all possible. Or could you fly into Orange County Airport?

Another comment about Raffles L'Ermitage... I drove past it this morning on the way to work, and the bellmen were out walking guests' dogs. I forgot to mention they allow pets, and I don't know if that's good (fun for your child) or bad (allergies).
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 09:58 AM
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We have eaten at the restaurant at the Shutters a couple of times and really enjoyed it. It's a gorgeous hotel in a great setting for walking the beach. (We stayed at the moderately priced Sheraton Delfina, just up the street, which we liked a lot.)

L.A. is such a tangle of freeways and busy streets, it's next to impossible to find the perfect place to stay in relation to visiting the sites there. I would not switch hotels with just 3/4 days, especially with a toddler in tow.

It's L.A. There will be traffic! Enjoy your visit there.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 11:39 AM
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I usually stay at the Chateau Marmont when I'm splurging, and the Magic Castle Hotel when I'm not. Both are more atmospheric than luxurious, but they are both in great areas and a lot of fun.

I thought that this hotel looked interesting, Hotel Angeleno, when someone on Fodor's mentioned it the other day, and I might check it out when I go to the Getty. http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/angeleno/services

As for Cali, my younger friends, especially the European ones, use that all the time. It doesn't bother me, although I do cringe at Frisco (but not so much San Fran). Really, I felt badly when curious started out answering the thread this way.

Traffic is unfortunate, but you can check Google Maps for current traffic info which is helpful for strategizing.
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