Tuesday, May 30, 2017
   
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Partying like a celebrity in LA

CIARAN MULLIGAN heads off to LA, business class, and parties at the haunts of the celebs…

WANT some good news? When flying to LA you now have a number of airlines to choose from, either direct with Aer Lingus or on a new Dreamliner with Ethiopian Airways.

The other options are via London with Virgin Atlantic or in my case flying Business Class with British Airways on the new Airbus A380.

Flying Business Class with British Airways is always delightful. From the time you visit the galleries business class lounge, to your priority boarding, you always feel looked after.

The Club World menu offers a selection of starters, mains and desserts accompanied by a choice of delicious wines/ champagnes and spirits. With a choice of the latest movies and I have to say, amazing service, my long haul flight to LA didn't seem so long after all. The service on the flight with impeccable, cabin crew member Philip could not have been more helpful or pleasant. The only disappointment was that there was no wifi!

My trip to LA was going to be a short one, so I needed to make the most of my time during my stay. This time I wanted to really treat myself so I decided to stay in the fabulous Viceroy L'Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills.

I have to say from the time you step into this hotel you are made feel so welcome and special. This 5 Star hotel which is often seen on programmes such as ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills’ has a contemporary feel, yet the staff make you feel so at home.

The rooms in the hotel are spacious (our bathroom was the size of a hotel room), elegant and for me one of the most important items... the bed was luxurious while being super comfortable. The location of the hotel also has the added advantage at being in the heart of Beverly Hills so it’s close to the shopping district of Rodeo Drive. The hotel’s rooftop pool is a great spot to relax and unwind or people watch (including the odd celeb). The Viceroy L'Emirtage hotel is also close to all the hot spots of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

One of my favourite things about this hotel is that the complimentary house car, a Maserati. Just make sure you reserve the house car when checking in and arrive each evening feeling like a celebrity as the white Maserati pulls up outside your restaurant, bar or club.

To feel like a celebrity in LA you need to socialise like a celebrity. Our first afternoon was to take a trip out to Malibu to visit a regular haunt of the stars, Nobu.

This restaurant, which is co-owned by Robert De Niro situated on the pacific coast highway in Malibu, is a very popular spot and difficult to get a reservation or seating. The restaurant with a view of the Pacific Ocean is amazing and the chill-out lounge area is nice to chill out in while you people watch (Kanye & Kim, Harry Styles, Kate Hudson, Taylor Swift, David Beckham have all been spotted here). As it was the afternoon we ordered nibbles and cocktails and enjoyed the sunset on our first afternoon in LA.

Tip - My recommendation is to book well in advance, up to one month or be super confident when arriving. I was a bit bolshy when looking for table and after a few minutes of throwing a "wannabe celeb" strop we got a table.

Now when in LA you must do what the celebs do and dine in fabulous restaurants. Arriving in the Maserati is a good start and my choice of restaurant to visit on my first night in LA was ‘The Ivy’.

This amazing restaurant situated on North Robertson Boulevard is one of the leading celebrity hangouts with stars such as Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber, Reese Witherspoon, Jesse Metcalfe, the Kardashians, Simon Cowell, Kathy Perry and more. The quaint restaurant with its white picket fence outside looks like it stops the paparazzi from intruding, but one could think that it really encourages them to come and take photos.

Everyone on arrival gets a complimentary glass of champagne and even if you reserve a table outside in the garden pop inside and check out the fabulous decor with an amazing floral display. The service in “The Ivy” was impeccable with our waiter explaining very informatively of the choices on the menu and recommending wines to suit each dish.

I highly recommend the 9 oz Filet Mignon or the fresh wild Maine Lobster. For dessert try the old fashioned Red Velvet Cake or the Fresh Blackberry Apple crumble with Tahitian Vanilla Gelato! When leaving the restaurant our waiter handed us a box of delicious homemade warm cookies to take away with us, another nice little touch by this fab restaurant. (www.ivyrestaurants.com) With only a short stay in LA on this occasion and having recently visited Universal studios, this time I decided to bring the gang (adults) to Disneyland Park.

Unfortunately for us the weather was poor so the journey took longer than normal and made it more cumbersome for the waiting around for the rides. It also didn’t help that the ‘Cars’ ride broke down for 45 minutes with us having to walk off the ride without even a spin.

I would also suggest that anyone visiting Disneyland Park should stay in a Disney hotel the night before so you can enter the park before everyone else. This allows you to get on the rides earlier and use your fast pass for later. Having visited Disneyland with all adult friends, I soon realised this magical kingdom is really more for kids and families than the older ones!

The Disney fast pass is worth getting but unlike Universal studios you still have to wait for a designated time to return to the ride. With Universal’s fast pass you skip the queues and enter anytime you want. Having said that Disneyland is still magical and there are two different parks to choose from, Disneyland Park and/or California Adventure Park.

For our second night and final night in LA we decided to dine in Lisa Vanderpump’s eatery Pump Restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. This place has been voted the sexiest restaurant in LA and is often frequented by the stars such as Gerard Butler, Perez Hilton, Lady Gaga, Liza Minelli, the Beckhams and more. From the pink velvet menus to the exotic twists on the usual cocktail you'll have a dining experience like no other.

I highly recommend trying the Pumptini cocktail or the fabulous Coconut Mojito. For dinner consider the Roasted Beets & Goat Cheese Napoleon starter followed by the Lemon Caper Chicken Piccata or the Filet Mignon. We decided to try more cocktails rather than hitting the dessert menu (less calories) and you can hang out in the bar area if you wish to mingle with the glam people. We all loved Pump Restaurant, the amazing food, the great service and not forgetting their gorgeous staff. We will definitely return. (www.pumprestaurant.com)

Tip – Book well in advance and ask for a table in the garden (you can see more)!

Like any trip to the USA, you are always shattered on your first night, so we had bundles of energy for our second and final night in Los Angeles. Luckily Pump Restaurant is based in West Hollywood where all the fun is happening.

We did a pub crawl trying cocktails in a number of bars but finally ending up in the best bar of them all called The Abbey. This fabulous upscale friendly bar is a mix of gothic meets the Mediterranean and ladies you will not be disappointed by the barmen or dancers!

Our final morning in LA was going to be short and sweet with just a quick shopping trip to Rodeo Drive before we headed to the bright lights of Las Vegas!

We will certainly be returning to Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and to the Viceroy L'Ermitage hotel.

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