Destination Guide: Beverly Hills, California

Last year, I enjoyed a couple of days exploring the iconic city of Beverly Hills - recognised as the home and playground for the rich, the famous, and those who just want to be seen.

Being in my early twenties, I was a little apprehensive of visiting the area alone - but there was no need to have been.
Put simply, there is a lot to see and do. Even when I wasn't catching up with my dear friends, I was still out and about exploring the local area. I may have only been in town for a few short days; but I returned home having experienced a number of new things (like Sushi), and with the intention to return in the near future.

Where did I stay?

I stayed at the iconic Beverly Hilton - home of the Golden Globes.

Situated on the cross-section of Wilshire and N. Santa Monica Boulevards; the hotel is moments away from the busting heart of the city - Rodeo Dr. I was delighted to learn the hotel offers a complimentary sedan service to locations within one triangular mile. Perfect for getting to and from the local shops and eateries. A Waldorf Astoria property is currently under construction next door; and is scheduled to open in 2017.

I really don't mind walking, but was happy to find a Starbucks (9811 S. Santa Monica Blvd) literally two minutes from the hotel. The recently remodelled location is open from 04:30 until 21:00 daily and is quite large. It was the perfect spot to grab a drink and light snack in the morning before a day full of fun and exploration.

What’s nearby?

You may not think it, but Beverly Hills is actually a very walkable city. Rodeo Dr is just over half a mile away.
At a leisurely pace, the walk from the Hilton to Rodeo only took me around 15 - 20 minutes. I either wandered past Barney's New York, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue (Wilshire Blvd to reach the Southern end) or past a number of quaint eateries and the rather famous Sprinkles Cupcakes (S. Santa Monica Blvd to reach the Northern end).

Rodeo Dr.

Rodeo Dr is everything as I imagined it would be, plus a load more. Palm-tree lined streets with chandeliers as street lighting (I'm not joking) and flash cars parked on the street; such as this custom yellow and black Bugatti Veyron which belonged to the late Bijan Pakzad (a famous designer), and is parked outside his store nonetheless.

And then of course there are the stores. A plethora of high-end designer boutiques including the likes of Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Prada. The atmosphere itself was somewhat cool, calm and collected - or the "three c's" as I like to say. No-one was in a hurry and the warm Californian sunshine was undoubtedly beaming down.

I took a stroll inside a couple of the boutiques and there is one word that kept springing to mind, wow. I'll admit that some if not a lot of the items are out of my price range, but if you find something you like and the funds are there - why not!

At the bottom of Rodeo, you'll find a quaint European-style cobbled street known as Via Rodeo. This is home to likes of Porsche Design and Tiffany & Co. On the southern end at the top of the steps you'll find a quaint restaurant aptly named 208 Rodeo; which is incredibly popular.

Across the road stands the iconic Beverly Wilshire - for which we know was made famous in the film Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts. The Four Seasons hotel is without a doubt one of the gems in Beverly Hills; and is home to CUT by Wolfgang Puck. Feel free to take a stroll inside the lobby (it's allowed) and admire the elegant floral display.

The streets around Rodeo are equally as glamorous. Lined from top to bottom with boutiques and great food options too. Of course a visit to the city is not complete without a picture besides the famous sign which you'll find within Beverly Gardens Park (455 North Rexford Dr).

For Foodie Lovers

I've talked about the shops and a little about sightseeing, so what else... Food of course!
Without any doubt Beverly Hills is home to some really cool and iconic dining spots, you never know who you may see. Here are a couple of my favourite locations long with some that have been recommended on a number of occasions.

Sprinkles Cupcakes & Ice Cream (9625 S. Santa Monica Blvd)
The flagship location of Sprinkles is a hit with the locals as much as it is with the celebrities and tourists alike. Boasting the world's first Cupcake ATM (there's now a few more), the store serves up an array of mouthwateringly delicious cupcakes, ice creams and cookies. I enjoyed Sprinkle's so much that I went there twice!

Yu-N-Mi (9574 S. Santa Monica Blvd)
If you're in the mood for some Sushi then a visit to Yu-N-Mi is a must. Just along the road from Sprinkles, this small eatery is incredibly popular and reservations are strongly recommended. My friend treated me to lunch as it was my first-ever Sushi experience. I can honestly say that I did not know what I was missing out on - it is delicious!

The Cheesecake Factory (364 N. Beverly Dr)
Whether you're a fussy-eater or are in the mood for anything, the menu at The Cheesecake Factory is HUGE. In value for money terms you cannot go wrong, and dining alone? Not a problem. I had a great seat beside the window and my server was fantastic and checked up on my on regular occasions. It did however take me forever and a day to choose what to eat!

The Honor Bar (122 S. Beverly Dr)
Simply put, The Honor Bar serves up "New American" fare in a small, but stylish environment. The burgers and great, but the fries are literally to die for - and are part of the establishments reputation. I'd like some more right now please.

Urth Caffé (267 S. Beverly Dr)
The founding location of the popular Urth Caffé serves up a variety of delicious loose-leaf teas and coffee. But make sure you save some room for the delightful cakes and other food items available. Perfect for breakfast, or as a light pick-me-up in the afternoon.

The Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd)
For one of the ultimate treats, why not enjoy breakfast, lunch or a combination of both (brunch) in glamorous surroundings. You never know whom you may see - I saw Jack Nicholson driving away in his car!

Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit, but Il Pastaio (400 N. Canon Dr) is a quaint Italian restaurant and most definitely a place to see and be seen.

The Lowdown

There's simply so many great eateries, shops and things to do within the 90210 postal code, then I'd bore you to death if I listed them all. Hence I say that you really should just go and visit for yourself. Plus Beverly Hills isn't that far away from the glorious beaches of Santa Monica, the craziness of Hollywood and Downtown LA. I've only been back for a few days and I'm already looking at when I can return!

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