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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Falling in Love With the City of Angels

I was never a big fan of Los Angeles. As a self-proclaimed New Yorker, the City of Los Angeles did not appeal to me as much as the Big Apple. If you have been following my blog long enough, you all know that I have regular visits to New York. My heart belongs to East Coast's urban jungle but when the opportunity comes to re-discover the entertainment capital of the world, you take it. So I did.  I was ready to find a few reasons to love Los Angeles. 

To be honest, flying to Los Angeles gave me an odd sense of unfamiliarity. San Francisco was always my point of entry - my comfort zone. However, flying with our flag carrier Philippine Airlines made the idea of flying to LA easier. As my home in the sky, I am not kidding when I tell people that I feel safer with PAL all the time. 

The flight to Los Angeles onboard the 777 was almost 14 hours but flying business class with PAL made it seem so easy. In fact, I did even not want it to end. 

I had some of the latest movies to entertain me throughout the flight. 

Having slight ADHD, a huge leg room makes a big difference. With a seat that becomes full flat in mere seconds, I felt comfortable throughout the entire flight. 

My favourite Mango Smoothie. 

The in-flight meals prepared by some of our country's chefs did not disappoint. This was the fresh Bacolod-Style Fresh Lumpian Ubod by Chef Aracama. 

For my main dish,  I had the  Stuffed Chicken Adobo by Chef Bruce Lim.

It was cooked to perfection. 

Ube (Yam) Ice Cream for Dessert. 

Tea and Fresh Fruits for Breakfast.

I was most ecstatic when Arroz a la Cubana was on the Menu. I love anything with ground pork or beef!

Best part of the flight was this charming old lady named Daisy who kept me entertained half the time. She goes back to her hometown in Quezon every 1-2 year(s) to give children clothes and school supplies. Always nice to give back.

Thanks to PAL, I arrived in Los Angeles safe and sound after more than half a day of travel. I was flying to New York first (For a Workshop in Memorial Sloan Kettering) via Los Angeles but I would find myself back in LA after a few days.

Here were some of my few reasons to love the City of Los Angeles.

1) Beverly Hills Hotel a.k.a The Pink Palace - Our temporary residence in Los Angeles is one of the hotels in the Dorchester collection. To be in this group, the hotel must meet the highest standards in the world of luxury accommodations.  I would say this was the highlight of out trip. The historic and iconic Beverly Hills Hotel showed me how service should be in a five star establishment. 

Beverly Hills Hotel has been a home for some of Hollywood's stars and personalities like Marilyn Monroe and Howard Hughes.
The hotel's famous lobby.

You'll instantly feel like a celebrity as soon as you step onto the red carpet.
We arrived a little bit early but the reception staff made sure we were comfortable. As soon as our room was ready, the staff personally brought us to our immaculate room. 

Welcome to our home in Los Angeles. 

It was refreshing to see that Beverly hills (after being acquired by the Dorchester collected) has done renovations to make the rooms modern without losing its old world charm. After days of walking in New York, this was a well-deserved vacation within a vacation.

I was happy with the size and design of bathroom.

An obligatory bathroom shot.

Ultimate TV experience with Bang and Olufsen!

View from our Balcony. 
What a beautiful way to wake up in the City of Angels

If you want to know my idea of indulgence in a vacation - it is all about room service. I have an addiction to it. 

Amenities. Aside from the gym, the pool is the first thing I look for in a hotel. 

The pool was undeniably my favorite part of the property.
Blending in. 

The unique thing about this property is that they have 23 one-of-a-kind Bungalows that give you utmost privacy in the heart of Beverly Hills.
Brunch at the Polo Lounge. This has been the place to be seen in Beverly Hills for years.

Bar 1912. 

For your transportation, a driver can bring you anywhere to and from the hotel as long as it is within a 5-km radius -- In a Mercedes Benz S Class or Cadillac, no less!
2. Rodeo Drive. If it's your first time in LA, this is must visit just because it has been seen so much on Television. However, if you wan trendy shops, go to Robertson Boulevard and you might see a couple of celebrities here.
Sprinkles has taken the cupcake experience to a different level. This is the CUPCAKE ATM. 

3) Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier. It may be a bit cliché but visiting Venice beach and Santa Monica is a refreshing way to see Los Angeles. You can spice up this trip by renting a bike from one of the oceanfront shops.

Venice beach is a cool place for people watching. There's no short supply of interesting characters.

Santa Monica Pier. You can't go wrong with an amusement park right beside the beach. The Pacific Park is an amusement park with state of the art solar paneled Ferris Wheel.

Make sure you get a table in Mariasol Restaurant during sunset. Mexican food is served here.
A bowl of heavenly Clam Chowder.

Sunset watch alert. 

4) Los Angeles Country Museum of Arts (LACMA). This is a favorite of photographers in the city. It is actually smaller when you see it but there's no denying that LACMA is a beautiful place for photography. 
5) Restaurants.

Spago. Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck is the person behind this famous restaurant. 
From the bread to the mains, you will not be disappointed. We even got to meet Mr Wolfgang Puck while he was doing his table rounds.

The Ivy. Get a table at the Ivy if you can. This is another popular restaurant for locals and celebrities alike. Paparazzis are always lurking in the area. Food reviews don't give this a five star rating but eating here might let you see your favorite star.

* Other restaurants to try - Olive in Melrose, Skoobys for the best hotdog in town or Malibu Seafood.

6) Go Crazy in Kitson -  For cool gift ideas, you cannot go wrong with Kitson -  a department store that has a couple of branches in Los Angeles. I can spend hours here looking at every thing they hold in the store. 

7) New and Improved LAX. A good airport can make or break your trip. I was pleasantly surprised to see the newly renovated LAX. It has a good selections of restaurants to keep you busy while waiting for your flight.

Despite my short vacation in Los Angeles (Mind you this was not my first trip here), I got to see a different side of it. Years ago, our trips would usually be centered around the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios or Disneyland but this time, I added a bit of the something cliché and something new. See you again later, Los Angeles!

Thank you again, Philippine Airlines for making this trip possible. You are forever my home in the sky.

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