At its best, Los Angeles is an elegant playground, rich with luxurious and decidedly cool things to do. If the sky is the limit, here’s how to make the most of your next journey to the City of Angels.
Tuck into the Ultimate Retreat
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star L’Ermitage Beverly Hills’ reputation as a luxe celebrity hideaway dates back to 1975, when it opened as a posh condominium Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton once called home. Through the years this off-the-beaten-path property accomplished a difficult feat, becoming a hotspot while maintaining a high level of privacy for guests ranging from Diddy and J. Lo to Angelina Jolie, Zoe Saldana and, most recently, Taylor Lautner. Although open, the 117-suite stunner is in the final phases of a head-to-toe renovation. Newly bathed in a rich neutral and glimmering metallic interior palette, the design is all haute glamour. VIPs can drive their cars directly into the garage, where a new subterranean greeting area leads to a sparkling private elevator that transports guests to the suites. A complimentary cocktail of your choice makes for a thoughtful welcome when you arrive in your room. As for the digs, any of the reimagined suites will be sure to provide rest and pampering, whether you choose the Grande Lux, Beverly or Presidential Suite. In need of a refresh before stepping out? The hotel will arrange private stylist services to dress you in the perfect outfit.
Hire the Dream Weaver
Having a memorable trip to L.A. is really about whom you know. Whether you want have Entourage-style nights, experience the best of the best with your closest friends, celebrate your birthday with a private performance by your favorite rock star or hop on a helicopter to an exquisite surfing break, there is only one man to call in this sprawling town of hush-hush elite parties and secret handshakes — Nico Golfar. The London-born, L.A.-based creative strategist attributes this access to his hard-won network of 10,000-plus influencers, and the word of mouth that bolsters his business, Nico Network. He makes a call and makes it happen, however complex the request. Golfar is so genuine and simpatico that it’s easy to see why people trust him.
A special destination management division, Nico Network Elite, handles travel, accommodations and logistics, and expertly curates experiences, from arranging a VIP motorcade to cut through city traffic to accessing the most influential people in this elusive playground. For example, an East Coast executive traveling to L.A. once asked to have a private dance lesson, DJ class and set visit all organized for his teenage daughter. Golfar secured pop star Rihanna’s choreographer to work with the girl at a professional studio space. He followed that with a performance of a dance troupe rehearsing for a big tour, a one-on-one with a world famous DJ and an immersive tour of a television show set where she could hang out, meet the stars and ask the crew questions. “These high VIP experiences are for people who want utmost discretion, peace of mind and wow factor whether it’s dinner for four or an event for 5,000,” Golfar said. “We have you covered and you’re going to be satisfied.”
Host a Private Screening
A stone’s throw from the members-only Soho House, lavish, light-filled The London West Hollywood hotel pays homage to old Southern California glamour with a dose of modern flair. Having just completed a $25-million dollar, property-wide overhaul, the hotel’s elegant embellishments are the epitome of high style, including an 11,000-square-foot, Vivienne Westwood-inspired penthouse and an intimate private screening room. Both chic and plush, the fully loaded, 110-seat theater designed by Gonzalez Architects and Richmond Design features state-of-the-art details such as a Dolby 3D, satellite broadcasting capabilities and a 20-foot-by-eight-and-a-half-foot screen. With L.A.’s heavy rotation of junkets, screenings and awards shows, it comes as no surprise that the space is in demand. But any scheduling ingenuity on your part proves worth it; this special space is the kind of place your friends will talk about for years after your event. It certainly helps that hotel chef Anthony Keene whips up unique menus filled with treats like gourmet popcorn and specialty cocktails for your occasion. From booking and concept to the tiniest detail for the main event, the London’s in-house screening room specialist will ensure you receive the star treatment.
Make a Grand Entrance
Membership has its privileges, especially with Delta Air Lines’ new elite, discreet Delta One experience. The former BusinessElite class, Delta One lets travelers get premium boarding rights, 180-degree flat beds and much more. Of course, that’s on top of all the bells and whistles attached to the $229-million dollar renovation that brought larger security checkpoints and a new baggage claim to Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. Now, combine all of those touches with the unadvertised VIP Select, a highly exclusive program for L.A. celebrities, entertainment executives and power players, and you have something uber swanky and secretive for jetsetters. Thanks to a private, hi-tech check-in desk, secret underground passageways and a curbside lounge filled with amenities, the glitterati can sweep in and out of the airport without the glitter and, most importantly, minus the paparazzi. Besides the practical and safety benefits of being TMZ-free, VIP Select offers unique options such as being greeted on the tarmac by a Porsche and swiftly delivered to your own personal drivers at a secret meeting point, too. Or, after being guided by an escort to the newly refurbished Delta Sky Club, you can refresh in a private shower suite, catch up on email or relax with a cocktail. It’s the perfect escape, and arguably the least-stressful check-in process for a commercial airline on the planet. Anyone can access Delta One by purchasing a regular first or business class nonstop Delta One cabin flight to or from New York’s JFK or LaGuardia airports or by taking a long-haul international flight (6.5 hours or more in duration) and forking over an additional fee for VIP Select.
Drink and Dine Discreetly
The address 432 N. Fairfax has a venerable rock n’ roll pedigree earned from its former life as legendary music venue Café Largo, which relocated in 2008. In 2013, the spot was reincarnated as an invitation- and reservation-only restaurant, bar and performance space that is shrouded in mystery, and has come to be known as “No Name Bar.” From the outside, only a low-key, suited doorman distinguishes the dimly lit supper club. Sky-high ceilings with exposed beams, artwork created by famous rockers and a large semicircular couch, maintain that telltale, quiet grandeur inside. Inclusion on a friends-and-family email list or having a selectively distributed black business card bestows admittance.
Originally, the idea was to let the food-focused space evolve organically, through word of mouth amongst L.A.’s creative community. “It’s about preserving the bohemian vibe,” says chef Jared Simons. “We serve people from all walks of life who come for dinner, drinks and music.” Although musical acts (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jackson Browne) have been known to do intimate pop-up shows here, Simons’ classic dishes from the great American melting pot are the main draw. He even collects vintage menus for inspiration. The eatery’s popular fried chicken is bliss on a plate only rivaled by the chef’s sumptuous spaghetti bolognese. Each night the chef’s selections on the menu are based on seasonal, local ingredients. A bespoke cocktail program centers on boutique, small batch and artisanal libations. Let the bartender know what flavor profile you prefer and you’ll get a personally crafted drink. Certainly not a walk-in place, No Name’s energy is still electric yet casual, with attentive and friendly service — doesn’t matter if you’re Moby, Olivia Wilde or any other kindred, creative soul. “We encourage reservations,” says Simons. “From that point on, we want guests to have a top-notch experience, and to make everyone happy.”