Beverly Hills/Bel Air, Los Angeles Travel Guide
Beverly Hills Summary
- Luxury shopping on the famed Rodeo Drive; more affordable shopping a block over on Beverly Drive
- Clean streets, little litter, and few homeless
- Iconic, historic hotels like the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and The Beverly Hills Hotel
- Fine dining and inexpensive lunch spots
- Centrally located -- a 20- to 30-minute drive from the beach and the Valley, in different directions, and adjacent to Westwood and Culver City.
- Home to the rich and (some) famous
- Valet parking almost everywhere
- No nightlife -- few bars; the area is sleepy at night
- The area's boutique hotels tend to have tiny standard rooms.
- Hotels are pricey for what you get.
- Little to do besides shopping and eating
- Some areas are eerily quiet.
- Few inexpensive dining options for dinner
- A 20- to 30-minute drive to the beach
- Little street parking
What It's Like
The words Beverly Hills are synonymous with wealth, and there's good reason for that. Since silent screen stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford settled there in 1920, the area -- a separate municipality, actually, in the middle of L.A.'s westside -- has been known as the stomping ground of the rich and famous. These days, it's increasingly more the rich, and less the famous, who live in the mansions in the sprawling residential portion of the city, between Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevard. Still, there's enough star power around to merit sightseeing tours of the stars' homes in the area. South of Santa Monica lies the main commercial district, a pedestrian-friendly set of streets known as the "Golden Triangle" and bound by Wilshire Boulevard, Canon Drive, and Little Santa Monica. It's home to Rodeo Drive, that famed stretch of luxury shopping that includes seemingly every designer boutique, from La Perla to Louis Vuitton. One block over, Beverly Drive houses more affordable upscale shops, like Anthropologie and Crate & Barrel. The area is also home to a number of great restaurants, from fancy upscale dining like Wolfgang Puck's Spago, within the Golden Triangle, to famed sushi spot Matsuhisa, farther to the east on La Cienega Boulevard. Fear not, there are also a number of spots to grab a cheap lunch or quick cup of coffee, including a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. These spots mostly cater to the working crowd toiling away in nearby office buildings -- home to companies such as the talent agencies William Morris and Endeavor.
Where to Stay
Most Beverly Hills hotels fall into one of two categories: large, expensive icons or stylish boutique properties. In the former category, The Beverly Hills Hotel, built in 1912, is a pink-and-green palace of luxury, set on twelve secluded acres with a beautiful pool, a five-minute drive from Rodeo Drive. Equally iconic, the stately Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire offers a more urban take on luxury, sitting right on Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from Rodeo Drive and just down the street from huge upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue. Smaller, more affordable boutique properties like Luxe Rodeo Drive and Maison 140 have great locations within the Golden Triangle and lovely style, but few amenities (no pool at either) and tiny standard rooms.