- Tuesday 14 November 2017
I flew from Dublin to LAX via Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic for my recent trip to California. Our group was treated to a champagne brunch in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Lounge before we travelled Premium Economy on their Dreamliner aircraft.
Our first two nights were spent in the four-star Island Hotel in Newport Beach, Orange County. This area is suitable for families. Fashion Island shopping mall is literally a two minute walk from the hotel where you have Neiman Marcus/ Bloomingdales/ Macys etc. There are plenty of golf courses nearby as well.
Marriott Golf Course
Two minutes’ walk from this hotel is the Marriott Newport Beach- another beautiful hotel with an on-site golf course. The next day in Newport we went to Lido Marina. This marina area has been totally revamped in the last year or two to bring it back to its original glory. A brand new hotel is currently being built and will be ready for March 2018.
Some fun facts: The reps from Lido Marina told us that this is where Beyoncé's mum got married to her second husband and ‘The Real Housewives Of Orange County’ all shop and dine here!
In the afternoon, we travelled to Balboa to do a harbour tour on some duffy boats. This was a great way to see the harbour and view some famous houses of the stars.
The next day we were booked in for a bike tour for 3 hours. Initially, when everyone saw this on the itinerary there were some concerns as to who would have the stamina for this. Lucky for us- the bikes were electric! I have to say, by the end of the three hours we were complaining that we didn’t have enough time. We had great fun on the bikes- not too strenuous and a great way of experiencing the California Coastline.
That afternoon, we travelled from Newport to Hollywood where we checked into the Loews Hollywood Hotel for another two nights. Hollywood is an experience to say the least. I would probably recommend this hotel for couples or a group of friends but not so much for families. It is very centrally located, leading straight onto Hollywood Boulevard.
The following morning we went to Universal Studios. We took the metro from the hotel. It is only two stops on the red line, so I can assure clients that it is really easy to commute to Universal from this hotel.
If you have already been to Universal in Orlando, you're going to find the one in Hollywood to be smaller. It's an older theme park but still has the Harry Potter Experience. The one thing it has that Orlando doesn’t is the Movie Sets Tour. This tour is very popular and gives you the chance to see sets from movies like Psycho and War Of The Worlds and TV shows like Desperate Housewives. It also features a 'New York Street' which has been used for lots of movies and TV shows.
On this evening, we went to do a site inspection on another hotel in Studio City, the four-star Garland Hotel. This hotel is great for families. It has a beautiful restaurant on site and is only a stones throw from Universal Studios.
On our last day, we went downtown LA to experience the OUE Skyspace Centre and use the ‘outdoor’ slide on the 70th floor. We also took in the 3D visuals in their skyspace centre.
We then walked from there to the famous Grand Central Market for some lunch. Every type of cuisine from every part of the world is here, in a 30,000 square foot arcade. It took us about 30 minutes to decide where we wanted to eat!
Bulleit Neon Wall in Grand Central Market
Our final stop was to the Broad Museum, across the road from the Museum of Modern Art. This museum opened in 2015 and was financed by philanthropist Eli Broad. This museum includes his private collections and cost over $140 million dollars to fund.
That evening, we headed back back to the airport for our flight home, but not before experiencing the Virgin Clubhouse Lounge in LAX, overlooking the Hollywood Hills. I really enjoyed my California experience and look forward to passing my insider knowledge along.
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