Possibly my quickest trip to L.A ive ever done but what an action packed 3 days it was.
I was lucky enough to be taken to Los Angeles with United Airlines after winning a sales inventive earlier on in the year. The prize included return airfares with United Airlines, 3 nights’ accommodation at the Residence Inn by Marriot, transfers, a trip to Universal Studios, Six Flags theme park and a VIP Emmys Awards experience. (A-mazing!)
Let’s start on Day 1, easy check in with United in Melbourne for flight via Sydney to L.A. There was a total of 7 of us on the trip, 3 from Melbourne… so up to Sydney we went to meet the rest of the crew, we were grateful for Economy Plus seating but was a very full flight ( good for United!).
Entertainment was fine and food was ok, the hosties are famous for being older and this is still the case, we did have some lovely attendants though.
Arrival into LA and through the dreaded customs line, didn’t take us too long this time and before we knew it we were on our way to downtown L.A.
Now as a travel agent we pretty much never sell downtown L.A due to the fact that there isn’t really much down here for the regular tourist and also safety is also a concern. So us 7 agents were a little sceptical on this location but turns out downtown L.A is having a major clean up…. It still lacks bit of atmosphere and buzz but as we were directly onsite where the Nokia Theatre, Staples Centre & The L.A Live area it worked well for us, we didn’t feel unsafe during the day but really didn’t venture out much at night.
Anyway, after a quick shower and change we were off to the J.W Marriott across the road for a well needed lunch and coffee. Beautiful hotel and was housing quite a few stars for the Emmys .
After we were fed and caffeinated it was into our family wagon to head up to Universal Studios. I have been to Universal before so there wasn’t much that was new for me this time. We did the standard Studio tour which was actually a little painful this time around, mainly due the jetlag but there was a quite a bit going on for filming so our diversions were just a little boring and Jaws is still clunking away…..
Our Front of Line passes are the best! Cant recommend this enough if you are going to Universal, I cannot imagine standing in those lines for hours on end when you can spend a little more and pretty much walk onto any ride ahead of the queue.
We managed our way around the park and went on plenty of rides, the main thing is the whole 3D ride where you are in a cart that moves and jolts you around to a 3D video. The graphics are pretty spectacular on these rides.
By the time we left Universal it was hitting 7pm so dinner and an early night was required. Lucky there was a good Mexican restaurant across the road that put a pep back in our step. After dinner we had a quick squiz into the site of the Red Carpet and Emmys area, we were like kids in a candy store.
Then we all hit the hay and slept about 10 hours each.
Rooms at the Residence Inn were great, big studio rooms, very modern , very new , great facilities, basic breakfast but all you need.
Monday – Emmys Day!
Today we were all up early and had a few hours to kill before we were required for hair, make up and styling by William Squire and his team. We hunted down a small shopping centre about 500 metres from our hotel which kept us and our wallets busy for a few hours.
Back to the hotel where the beauty teams were setting up and managed to get all our hair & make up done in no time. We were then escorted over to the Conga Room where we had a great lunch and balcony overlooking the nokia theatre where the Emmys was being held. Next we were down and on the red carpet (the red carpet next to the real red carpet for non-famous people like ourselves) gawking at prime time tv celebrities left right and centre. It was a great experience…. We were shuffled inside the theatre pretty quickly as the show was about to start.
The show starts at 5pm and surprising how fast it actually goes, of course a lot of ad breaks with the professional seat fillers filling in and filling out taking the stars seats and swapping in and out. Some great entertainment in the ads and a short but moving tribute to the late Robin Williams.
After the show we were whisked off in our limo to the SLS Hotel in Beverley Hills where we had a 21 course degustation at The Bazar by Jose Andreas…. What a dinner…. So much food presented in ways I haven’t seen before. Dessert was served in the patisserie area. Again… a-mazing.
Back into the limo we go up to West Hollywood in search of parties… being a Monday night its easier said than done. LA bars actually have to close at 2am… crazy… Anyway first stop was the Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel West Hollywood. Iconic bar surrounding the hotel pool… did manage to get our photo with Will-i-am here… nothing to do with the Emmys but fun all the same!
Some headed home from here but we continued until close at the Skybar then proceeded to head to Chateau Marmont to see if we could spot anyone coming in and out… we saw a few, Claire Danes, Lea DeLaria… …
It was then definitely past our bedtime.
Early rise again, no idea how and we were super super seedy today… we hired a car and headed off to Citadel Outlets about 25 mins away from our hotel. So we shopped for a few hours then decided it was definitely lunch time by the beach! So off to Santa Monica we go, some food, some shopping, some walking of the pier then a quick scoot down to Venice Beach. It was such a nice day and thousands of people about as usual down here. the biggest mixed bunch of people you will find down here, definitely worth the trip and if you have the time, hire a bike and explore some more.
Back to home base then out for a lovely dinner at Faith & Flower L.A another great dinner with creative chefs, brilliant fit out and excellent staff.
Another early start as we headed out to Six Flags Amusement Park, A pretty horrible ride in a “trolley” to run around the streets of LA picking up people to be taken to Hollywood to the Starline depot where we were off on another bus to Six Flags. We were met but a sales representative and she was lovely and took us on a few rides where we didn’t have to wait to get onto the rides.. very handy. There are some serious roller coasters here… not for the faint hearted!
We headed back in the afternoon to the hotel where we hung out by the pool and got changed ready for our pick up back to the airport.
Back at LAX we were invited into the United Lounge which was great for a snack and a drink before heading home. Even better we were able to be upgraded to business class on the way home. This was the best. We all got about 9 hours sleep and arrived in Sydney feeling pretty good. The service and food is very good in United business class. The lie flat seats are of a great standard also.
Things I learnt on this trip:
– United Economy Plus is worth the small extra fee
– There is a Grammy Museum in the L.A Live area.
– Make your own way to Six Flags instead of hotel transfers if you can