When I heard my Father's next trip to America was going to take in Los Angeles I had to hint that I would like to go! I have booked many customers to Los Angeles and Las Vegas (which was also on the agenda) and have only dreamed that I would be able to go there myself one day. When my father made this dream a reality it was one of the most exciting times of my life!
After a great ten hour flight on British Airways's new A380 on the upper deck I finally arrived at LAX-Los Angeles International airport. Due to us going to be doing a lot of travelling my Father, who was already there, had hired a nice Chevrolet for our travels. It was only a quick fifteen minute drive to my first night staying at the Staybridge Suites Torrance/Redondo Beach. We stayed in a two bedroom suite which was very impressive. There was a lovely lounge area with huge flatscreen tv, fully equipped kitchen, and then two bedrooms-both with their own bathrooms and TV's. The large bed was very comfortable and this hotel was perfect for a first nights stay. If we had even more time on our side then I would have been more than happy to have spent an additional couple of nights here.
Whilst waiting to go to our next hotel, which would be the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach, we decided to take a drive down to Long Beach. They have a huge harbour where the cruise ships dock in and out and the world's famous original Queen Mary has its home. We then drove a bit further up from the harbour and had a very enjoyable lunch at Bubba Gumps. As you can see we only spent a few hours here but I would recommend Long Beach as an area to visit and also stay. It is a lovely cosmopolitan area with some great beaches.
The Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach, where we spent two nights, was a lovely hotel. There was a stunning lobby and the swimming area was very nice with pool, hot tub and nice sunbed loungers which were just like sofas and very relaxing! The hotel is located just across the road from a fishing marina which is slightly run down. There are a handful or restaurants and bars within walking distance but if you plan to leave the hotel then I would recommend car hire.
Night four and five was to be spent and The Holiday Inn and Suites Hollywood Walk Of Fame. This was about a thirty minute drive from Redondo Beach and was in an absolutely fantastic location, being literally a five minute walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame itself! The hotel was absolutely perfect for a stay in central Los Angeles and the rooms were large with kitchen facilities and a nice breakfast which was located in the breakfast room free of charge. There was plenty I had on my list of things to do in Los Angeles starting with a viewing of the famous Hollywood sign! Many people say that you cannot get up close to the sign but with the ability to explore using car hire we found a fantastic spot with great photo opportunities. (Fore more information please feel free to contact me.) Next on the list was to see where some of the stars live! I took a tour which cost around fourty US Dollars and spent about two hours in a small open top minibus viewing the homes of the likes of Vinnie Jones, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and former homes of Sylvester Stalone, Tom Jones and Nicholas Cage. We also saw places from the fantastic Pretty Woman film.
After a great night's sleep at The Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Hollywood Walk Of Fame we started off by taking a trip to the famous Rodeo Drive. It is only about a fifteen to twenty minute drive from the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and is easily accessible by car or you can get a tour bus or taxi if you do not have car hire. Rodeo Drive was paradise for me with designer shop after designer shop including all of my favourites such as Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, The Regent Beverly Wilshire, which is where Richard Gear and Julia Roberts stay in the penthouse suite in Pretty Woman, is located at the end of Rodeo Drive. It is a beautiful hotel which you can enter to have a look around the reception and downstairs area and have a drink or bite to eat if you wish. After having already spending nearly thirty US Dollars on one piece of cheesecake, a coffee and fruit juice at the classy 208 Rodeo Drive café we gave this a miss!
After a stop at Simon Cowell's house (the beauty of having access to the internet, car hire and sat nav!) we had some lunch at the Hard Rock Café situated on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame-this was really enjoyable. I spent the afternoon in the footsteps of the stars and doing a bit of shopping at the same time!
Whilst I had a great time in Los Angeles I was excited to be going to Las Vegas next! We drove along some of Route 66 which was fantastic and then stopped off along the way just for one night in a place called Barstow and then continued our journey to Vegas. Soon as we arrived we took a drive along the strip to check it out which was amazing and the settled in ready for our four nights in the MGM Grand. We stayed in a two queen bedded suite which compromised of two extremely comfortable queen beds, a working desk area and large flat screen tv. Then a lovely large corner sofa with another great tv and a bathroom with his and hers sinks and showers. One thing I would say is that the mini bar is extremely expensive and you cannot really remove things without paying for them so a trip to Walmart is in order with lots of ice from the hotels ice machine!
As the weather was beautiful on our first full day we spent our time lounging by one of the MGM Grand's pools. The pool areas are lovely and they've even got their own lazy river where you can spend the days relaxing in your rubber dinghy. When it was time to hit the strip in the evening I was very much looking forward to it! After finally finding the way out of the hotel (these hotels are indescribably big) we walked past all the famous hotels- The New York New York, The Cosmopolitan, The Aria, The Bellagio, Caesar's Palace and The Mirage. We stood and watched the truly spectacular fountains of The Bellagio. Words cannot describe how breath-taking the fountain display is and I could have watched it over and over again. We then viewed the erupting volcano at The Mirage which was also fantastic. During our stay we entered The Cosmopolitan, The Bellagio and Caesar's Palace-all fantastic hotels. The casinos are extremely large and if you spend time gambling, whether it be the slot machines or tables, there are waitresses that offer you complimentary drinks. The only thing you pay is a small tip-one or two us Dollars is acceptable but the amount is at your discretion.
Many people do go to Las Vegas to gamble, and it is viewed as a gambling holiday, but there is something for everyone-whether it be the gambling itself, catching some rays by one of the superb pools, sampling some fine cuisine, shopping, or just having a good time. (I also spent a night off the strip in The Candlewood Suites so I can give you the pros and cons of both-just ask me anything you would like to know.)
We were extremely lucky that The Grand Canyon opened as it had been closed for over a week because the US government shutdown. I had seen pictures of the world famous Grand Canyon before but these do not in any form do it justice! It is absolutely incredible! We only stayed for a short time due to a long drive ahead of us to New Mexico but we walked to the viewing platform and drove for around half an hour along the East Rim which was fantastic as there are so many different viewing points. I would definitely recommend going to see The Grand Canyon as it is an absolute must see!
I was very wary about undergoing a five hundred and fifty mile drive but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it! The scenery driving through Arizona was fascinating and the roads are great to drive on. As we arrived in Gallup, New Mexico, at night and left early the following morning for our drive down to Phoenix we didn't see much of the area. Our one night in Phoenix was to be spent in The Holiday Inn and Suites Fountain Hills. This is located just outside the centre of Phoenix but is absolutely perfect if you have a car. The hotel was lovely and a two minute walk across the road brought you to a beautiful lake with huge fountain and park area. We enjoyed a dinner in the restaurant overlooking the lake-not only was it great food but accompanied by the great scenery.
After an incredible two weeks we decided to finish our journey near to San Diego in a place called Del Mar. The hotel of choice was the hotel Indigo in a studio suite. I personally loved this boutique style hotel. The rooms were decorated to a high standard with one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in and there was a kitchenette area. As you stepped outside the room one of the pools was right in front of us, no more than a couple of metres walk, with the most comfortable sunbeds I have relaxed on! The lovely Pacific ocean was in the background which could be reached by foot or car. The hotel has a nice terrace area where you can sit and enjoy a nice drink or bite to eat and watch the sun go down. This really was the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen! This was a perfect way to end a holiday of a lifetime!
(For more information, any questions and queries, or for a quote please do not hesitate to contact me.)