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The Renaissance Longbeach – Any good?

So, I booked our flight to Los Angeles yesterday.

We’ll be flying into LAX on Thursday Sept 14th, and departing on October third.

We now need to know the following, from any natives out there:

  • Can anyone recommend any good four-star hotels in both Los Angeles and San Francisico, preferably with pool, and good bars and restaurants within walking distance.

  • Recommended tourist activities in LA and San Francisico?

  • Areas to avoid in LA (Is Long Beach really that bad?)
  • Local delicacies – Any particular foods we should try?

We want to avoid the possibility of getting our throat slit whilst in LA, so any advice would be gratefully received.

I want to stay in Beverly Hills, (I’m hoping to do some celeb spotting) but The Tall Guy isn’t so keen on the idea. What do you guys think?

Any Lurker comments would also be warmly welcomed!


  • Dakota Cassidy
    April 1
    8:50 pm

    highly recommend the Four Seasons, but it’s VERY pricey.Think it’s five stars. Fab place for a massage 🙂 The Regis is nice too.

    DC 🙂


  • tod goldberg
    April 1
    10:03 pm

    There are so many great places in both cities that you’re probably better off getting a guidebook, but I’ll tell you my two personal hotels in LA & SF.

    In LA, I love Le Parc. It’s not what you would call an excessively fancy, but it’s the kind of hotel visiting actors and rock stars stay in when they’re in town (and, well, authors it would seems). Last time I stayed there, in fact, Kid Rock was there, so that’s something. But it’s casual, has a roof-top pool with a view of LA, is located in Hollywood, has a great restaurant inside and is the kind of hotel I’d like to live in. Another good choice is the W in Westwood, which is located adjacent to the campus of UCLA, but is really nicely appointed, has a great restaurant and bar, and if you ever get to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, is where Larry David got into a fight with a valet. In Sf, it’s the The Petite Auberge or White Swann Inn — both are loacted near the Embarcadero and Chinatown and are elegant and have great food and beds. Hope this helps.


  • Michelle B
    April 2
    7:33 am

    Hi! Lurker and native Californian here:) I haven’t been reading your blog long, so I’m not quite sure what you types of tourist attractions you’re interested in.

    And sometimes, I think being a native is worse for giving advice on tourist attractions since we sometimes take them for granted! I don’t have any input on hotels since I haven’t stayed in many though I currently live in the LA area and went to university in the Bay Area.

    One touristy thing that I loved in SF is Alcatraz. It can take up most of a day though as you have to get the boat over and back. Then of course there’s Fisherman’s Warf which you could cover before/after Alcatraz since the boat leaves from that area. Riding on a cable car at some point and time in SF is an experience as well:)

    As for LA, there’s the Queen Mary near Long Beach. I’ve actually never done the whole Queen Mary experience but I hear it’s great. If you’re up for a day trip, Catalina Island is about a 1 hour boat trip (can you tell I love being on the water? lol) from Long Beach. During peak season they have snorkeling/kayaking adventures (been on that). Also, transportation over and back requires reservations. If you leave it too late to get a spot on a boat (done that too), there’s always the helicopter, but your baggage is limited and it costs a lot more. You’ll be here after peak season so it may not be so crowded and the schedules may not be regular. If you want to look into it, there are quite a few websites, but a good one to start with may be:


    It shows pictures and has a calendar of activities and such.

    Then there’s Universal City which has the City Walk (which isn’t all that exciting for me, but as I said, maybe it’s the native thing) and also Universal Studios.

    For celeb spotting, it’s somewhat hit or miss. Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset Blvd is a popular food place that celebs visit though both times I’ve been there were no celebs. Didn’t have any sightings on Rodeo Drive either the couple of times I was there. I went to a concert at the Viper Room (also on Sunset Blvd) and saw a couple celebs walking down the street while waiting before and after the show.

    I could go on, but holy cow I can’t believe I’ve rambled this much already. If you’re interested, I’m happy to provide more info:)



  • Rosie
    April 2
    7:34 am

    Karen, while I live in So Cal, and frequently am in SF because my brother lives there, I agree with Tod, there are so many and such a variety of things that to narrow it down you should really check out the guide books.

    I can tell you that it just seems like there is always some event going on in San Francisco every time I’m there. I love that place.

    I’m don’t frequent 4-star type places and rarely eat out in LA but there are tons of great places in San Francisco.

    You are going to have a blast, I’m sure.

    BTW, my niece’s boyfriend works at a local small airport, he’s a fire fighter and was working at the fire station at the airport a couple of weeks ago. Guess who landed for a pit stop and took a picture with Aaron? Tom Cruise!

    So you never know when you are in So Cal when you’ll stumble over a celebrity. : )


  • Lauren Dane
    April 3
    1:26 am

    El Tepeyac – their Hollenbeck burritos are a LA Landmark. The food is good although there are better hole in the wall Mexican places in LA, it’s one I always recommend to people. (I haven’t been in several years but I grew up in LA)

    Olvera Street is also a fun place to go and get amazing Mexican food and see cool stuff like crafts and art. http://www.olvera-street.com/
    Speaking of hole in the wall places, the best tacos I’ve ever eaten I got at a place called Rodolfos

    Santa Monica is always a fun place to go and walk around. But my favorite beach is Laguna Beach. I don’t know how the show will have impacted it, but it’s quiet and clean and has lots of great shopping.

    For other landmarky type of stuff there’s Pink’s which has the best hot dogs on the west coast and Tommy Burger – if you eat meat, try their chili cheesbugers.

    I can’t really recommend hotels because I grew up there, LOL.


  • Lori
    April 3
    3:17 am

    Hi Karen – it depends on where you want to walk to 🙂
    There’s a great hotel called the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. It’s at the corner of Hollywood and Highland – it’s walking distance to Mel’s Drive in (mentioned above, which is a FABULOUS 24-hour place to eat!) and is walking distance to the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Holywood & Highland Mall, the Hollywood Kodak Theater (where the Academy Awards are filmed) and lots of other stuff. Plus, you’d be on Hollywood Blvd and could easily take a cab (or bus, but I shudder as I type that) down to anywhere on the Blvd that was too far to walk.

    You should definitely plan to take a day to go to Catalina (and spend the night if you want – there are some great B&Bs there!). And if you do not plan to hook up with me while you are here, I will have to kill you!

    As for SF, I do the tourist thing when I am there, too, so am not much help. You should stay somewhere near the wharf, I would think, though, although taxis are fairly easy to come by there.


  • Dawn
    April 4
    9:36 am

    Hey K. When we went to LA last year, we stayed in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, in Century City (it was the one we went back to after the shitty hotel on Wilshire Blvd). It was a fab hotel, we asked for a room overlooking the pool and hot tub, there’s a mall across the road with Bloomingdale and Macy’s. And they have lots of conferences and stuff there, so you might run into someone famous – I know how you love to schmooze ;-).

    Agree with Lori on the taxi cost – $36 dollars from Hollywood & Highland back to the hotel – it was in rush hour.


  • emdee
    April 4
    3:40 pm

    Delurking. One of my friends always goes to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, several locations in LA, and has great luck seeing celebrities such as Tobey and Keanu. There are a few on Sunset between La Cienega and Doheny. She says she thinks there’s still one in Sunset Plaza. Then there’s Buzz coffee (where she saw Viggo) in the shopping center that has the Virgin Megastore.


  • Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
    April 4
    4:10 pm

    I would suggest the Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard, the site of the very first Academy Awards ceremony. It’s a short walk from the Hollywood & Highlands complex, and right near one of the Scientologists Centers. I echo the Queen Mary in Long Beach (actually a very ritzy area), and also the Getty which is a bitch to get to but worth it.


  • Karen Scott
    April 4
    8:57 pm

    Thanks Guys! I’ve copied and pasted all of your suggestions, and will begin comparing prices now!


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