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DellaS Mar 29th, 2006 08:07 AM

LA/Hollywood Hotels
DC residents visiting LA area for 3 days with hubby and 9-year-old. Have rental car. Want to see Hollywood Walk of Fame,etc, gawk like fools on Rodeo Drive, Universal Tour, etc. before heading down to Laguan Beach for a couple of days in the sun before heading home. We aren't into theme parks (Orlando natives).

Where would you suggest staying??? We were leaning to Santa Monica, but I am now worried that it is not close enough to what we want to see. I can get a good rate on the Loews Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hilton - thoughts about these or other suggestions???? I'd like to stay within $250-$300 maximum.

Little_Man Mar 29th, 2006 08:33 AM

The Marriott Renaissance Hollywood is an excellent choice in Hollywood...
Santa Monica is a great spot to stay, but the Renaissance is probably nicer than than Loews for less $$. Especially nice are the executive suites at the Renaissance...

rjw_lgb_ca Mar 29th, 2006 09:14 AM

The Renaissance Hollywood and the Hollywood Roosevelt would be my only two choices in the Hollywood neighborhood itself. Your two choices in Beverly Hills aren't great, frankly (location alone). I'd think of splurging for the Beverly Hills Hotel (oh so worth it for all that history!) or maybe two budget-ish choices on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood: the Grafton on Sunset or the Best Western Sunset Plaza.

I dare say that Hollywood and Beverly Hills may not be as thrilling as the fantasy. And let me say it again: the Universal Studios experience, if you don't spring for the VIP tour, is just a tram ride through the Backlot to get to the Theme Park. The VIP tour gives you the real glimpse behind the curtain to the moviemaking process. Warner Brothers has a no-nonsense, no-Theme Park tour that's much more informative and cool, if you're at all interested in moviemaking.

Santa Monica is a tourist Mecca of mid-level mall-type stores, mid-range to high-end restaurants, a decent beach and a Pier that's worth a couple of hours of your time. Since you're going to spend a couple of days in Laguna Beach, a far more picturesque hamlet, I don't know that Santa Monica is worth the extra money (it's more expensive than inland cities) and travel hassles.

Boxer Mar 29th, 2006 09:25 AM

I will be in Beverly Hills in May and booked The Beverly Hilton at their internet rate of $279 (before taxes, valet parking and whatever else). I have read nothing but good things about this hotel and have high hopes for a good stay.

Two or 3 years ago we stayed at the Loews in Beverly Hills (was then a Renaissance). It was quite nice albeit quite a walk to Rodeo Drive, etc.

tracys2cents Mar 29th, 2006 11:27 AM

With a nine year old you also might want to visit the LA Zoo along with a drive through Griffith Park and a visit to the Gene Autry Wild West museum next door. So I'd also vote for Hollywood as the place to stay. Renaissance is great because you can walk right downstairs to the walk of fame, and you can hop the subway to Universal rather than dealing with traffic.
If you're planning to drive/tour Beverly Hills, do it on a Sat or Sun when traffic is lighter and use the weekdays for Laguna Beach when it's less crowded down there.

We love the Laguna Riviera for a hotel, but you might be thinking more upscale.

mlgb Mar 29th, 2006 12:04 PM

I don't know that the Hollywood Renaissance is the best location for someone traveling with a 9-year old. Sort of creepy except in the immediate vicinity of the Hotel. And I'm saying this as a local resident. So I'd vote for Beverly Hills or adjacent. What about the recently refurbished Holiday Inn by the Getty? Can't remember what they've renamed it, but it would be closer than Santa Monica. And close to good restaurants and strolling areas in Brentwood for dinner.

I like the idea of a visit to Griffith Park, Autry and maybe Travel Town (if your child is a boy).

rjw_lgb_ca Mar 29th, 2006 12:14 PM

mlgb, I'm actually with you on the Renaissance Hollywood immediate vicinity. But I always get pummeled by the "But Hollywood ISN'T THAT BAD!!!" crowd, and it IS a nice hotel, so....

The old Holiday Inn Bel-Air is now the Hotel Angeleno. It looks like it's still currently under renovations, but it's taking reservations. By all accounts, it will be quite nice. It's a long walk to Brentwood Village (isn't that what that little area at Sunset and Barrington is called?), but a very short drive.

rjw_lgb_ca Mar 29th, 2006 12:14 PM

Found its website!!:

mlgb Mar 29th, 2006 12:41 PM

Dang, that's a good rate! Just because the restaurant and fitness club isn't open. Sounds like the rooms are done.

Yes, the area along Sunset/Barrington is Brentwood Village.

memejw Mar 29th, 2006 01:26 PM

Was just in LA last month. We stayed at the Grafton on Sunset. Comfortable and funky decor, friendly staff and within 3 miles of major attractions in Hollywood.
Santa Monica was 30-45 minutes away. With only 3 days I don't know if I would stay there because it is farther away from everything else you want to see. (That said, next time I'm staying in Santa Monica)

DellaS Mar 30th, 2006 03:48 AM

Thanks so much for all the advice - I was lukewarmish re Santa Monica after seeing the prices I found - especially given that we are ending the trip with beach stuff.
After looking at the maps, The Renaissance seems top in terms of location, but I would really appreciate clarification on how creepy the area is around it - We are very frequent visitors to NYC/former residents - is it like the old Times Square at night?? Keep in mind, we'll be in the room by 9 most nights.

Neopolitan Mar 30th, 2006 04:54 AM

You'll be in the room by 9? Don't worry then.
I wouldn't call the Hollywood/Vine area creepy. Funky might be a better word.

You won't see the rows of porn stores and the drug addicts and hookers on the streets the way you used to on 42nd Street (I assume you really mean that, and not Times Square).

I say go for it.

mlgb Mar 30th, 2006 07:41 AM

If you're comfortable in NYC I think it will be okay. There are some street types that hassle tourists (the ones in costumes have been a bit too aggressive lately). If you take the Red Line to Universal its about a one-two block gauntlet to the hotel.

budget4me Apr 3rd, 2006 01:43 PM

If you are used to the "old" NYC midtown, then this will be a piece of cake by comparison.

You didn't ask about food, but you should stop off at Pink's Chili Dogs at least once, at LaBrea and Melrose. It's world famous and always has a one hour line waiting. There's a parking lot there and a guard and it's open until 2 a.m. most nights (later on weekends).

travelina Apr 3rd, 2006 02:23 PM

I just returned from there last week with my kids. Hollywood is a dump. I was disgusted at what I saw and the numerous disgusting comments I overheard people saying to my kids. More than once at a stoplight (or in the traffic which never seems to end) we were approached by homeless and drug induced men--one of whom was violent and began punching our rental car. I found the same in Santa Monica especially near the pier where you practically trip over all the homeless laying on the grass. I cannot imagine having to live here--money or no money! The only beach area we enjoyed was Malibu as they had numerous tide pools to enjoy.

tracys2cents Apr 3rd, 2006 04:17 PM

Yes it's like old Times Square at night, but about 10 times tamer, ten times cleaner and one-tenth as busy. The Renaissance is in the same complex as the Kodak Theater, where they hold the Oscars. You might even get to see a world-premiere-movie happening next door at the Chinese Theater. They allow the public to gather across the street to watch the "happening event".
I've never experienced anything like a previous poster has regarding disgusting comments, more than anywhere else really.

Pat_in_Mich Apr 4th, 2006 04:00 AM

We stayed at the Hollywood Renaissance last summer with our 2 teens. We liked the location and had no problem with the neighborhood. I would second the recommendation for the Warner Brothers tour rather than Universal, it is an excellent tour. You can also tour the Kodak Theater, which is pretty cool.

tracys2cents Apr 4th, 2006 07:07 AM

Not sure but I think there might be a 10 or 12 year old age minimum for the WB Tour. There is definitely a minimum age to stay and be in the audience of any comedy that might be taping that night.

Plus I think a 9 year old will thrill at the attractions of Universal, Indiana Jones ride...Jaws etc.

alliesmom Apr 7th, 2006 09:22 PM

You should consider the 3rd Street area of LA; a tiny bit south of Hollywood/West Hollywood, but a great location. There is a hotel at 3rd and Orlando Street (about 4 blocks from the large Beverly Center mall); it used to be called the Beverly Plaza, and is now (I think) called the Orlando. I haven't seen the inside in quite some time, but it was refurbished. Rates were around $180/$220 or so per night a few years ago. 3rd street is one of the few areas in LA that is really fun to walk--lots of restaurants, interesting shops, fun people-watching, and it's about a 15 minute walk to The Grove, a nice outdoor mall, that is adjacent to the Farmer's Market.

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