Los Angeles , California!
Hollywood, while being the center of the film world's universe, is just one of many neighborhoods amid the sprawling complexity of Los Angeles.
Great LA includes a wealth of interesting sites like the famous drive along Sunset Boulevard from downtown to the beach, through Hollywood, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills, then past UCLA, Brentwood, and Topanga State Park, all the way to the Pacific.
While sometimes overlooked, downtown LA is worth visiting at least for Frank Gehry's masterful Walt Disney Concert Hall, an architectural wonder that's home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
You haven't even yet ventured to Universal Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Rodeo Drive, the homes of the stars, and many more famous LA attractions - not the least of which is spotting stars in their natural habitat.
Perhaps more interesting than the star-watching is the everyday people-watching. The Baywatch atmosphere of Malibu, Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade, and the Venice Boardwalk showcases an impressive menagerie of rollerbladers, musicians, magicians, street dancers, vendors, Bohemians, and people just like you.
Los Angeles has a lot to offer, so consider a tour of the highlights followed by a leisurely exploration of your favorite neighborhoods on your own terms.
Le Meridien at Beverly Hills - In the heart of LA, between ultra-chic Beverly Hills and trendy West Hollywood, this European-style hotel provides superior comfort in newly renovated rooms with deep soaking tubs and other luxury features. Head to Le Festival Restaurant for international cuisine and to the Humble Abode Spa for hot stone therapy.
Loews Beverly Hills Hotel - Blending Mediterranean elegance with LA glamour, this hillside hotel embodies luxury in elegantly furnished rooms featuring private balconies with views of mountains and palm trees. Cool, casual Lot 1224 is the place to go for California cuisine with a creative twist, and the private, walled pool is a relaxing oasis retreat.
The Regent Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills - Stroll directly from this elegant Beverly Hills landmark onto one of the world's most famous streets - Rodeo Drive, where the Hollywood elite shop 'til they drop. Unwind with a shiatsu massage at the spa, see and be seen at The Blvd restaurant, and luxuriate in unparalleled service and deluxe rooms.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel - Home of the annual Golden Globe Awards, this legendary hotel is a short walk from A-list shopping on ultra-elite Rodeo Drive and just minutes from Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. Stop in for a cool cocktail and celebrity-spotting at Trader Vic's, where the Mai Tai was invented.
Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive - Beverly Hills - Located on the world-famous shopping paradise of Rodeo Drive, this intimate boutique inn welcomes guests into plush rooms with impressive views. After dining on upscale California fare at Cafe Rodeo, sit back with a cocktail and keep an eye peeled for celebrities at Bar 360.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites - downtown - Just a few blocks from the Staples Center and minutes from Hollywood, Dodger Stadium, and other attractions, this striking downtown hotel greets guests with spacious rooms and plush Heavenly Beds. Jog on the indoor track at the gym, and wine and dine to the best views of the city at the rooftop. L.A. Prime Steak House.
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Century City - Built on a former Hollywood studio lot, this AAA-Diamond hotel is known for its celebrity clientele and luxurious rooms with furnished balconies. Relax with hydrotherapy in a Japanese furo pool at Spa Mystique - the largest spa in LA - and check out the fresh seafood bar at Breeze, where the best seats are on the terrace.
Los Angeles Marriott Downtown - This sleek downtown hotel is within easy driving distance of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Universal Studios, and other must-see sights. The large, stylish guest rooms feature marble baths and panoramic skyline views from floor-to-ceiling windows, and the casually elegant 333 Restaurant serves continental cuisine.
The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey - White-glove service, plush accommodations, and an exclusive location on the Marina del Rey harbor are the hallmarks of this luxury property, featured on Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List 2005" as well as the Travel & Leisure "500 List" of the world's best hotels. Dine at the Jer-ne Restaurant & Bar, rated "Best Fusion Cuisine" by LA Magazine.
The Huntley Hotel - Santa Monica - A member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection, this recently renovated property is just steps away from the Pacific Ocean and the Third Street Promenade. Elegant guest rooms feature views of the ocean or mountains, and the Rooftop Restaurant serves up "Nuevo Latino" cuisine with 360 views of the city.
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel - This upscale 4-Diamond hotel sits directly on the beach, just a short walk from historic Santa Monica Pier. Breezy, elegant rooms feature private balconies with ocean or city views. The fitness center and spa features yoga and Pilates classes, and the California Bistro fare at Ocean & Vine is enhanced by dramatic ocean view.
Mondrian - West Hollywood - When it comes to hip hotels, this Morgan Hotel Group property is a clear winner from its surreal Philippe Starck design, to the Asian-Latino menu at Jeffrey Chodorow's Asia de Cuba, to the underwater music in the Infinity rooftop pool. Work out in the gym at any hour of the day, and rub elbows with Hollywood elites at the red-hot Skybar.
Hyatt West Hollywood - West Hollywood - Famous for hosting music and entertainment stars, this legendary "Rock & Roll Hotel" is a Sunset Strip landmark, close to CBS, NBC, and Paramount Studios. The heated rooftop pool overlooks the city and the Hollywood Hills.