Los Angeles gets the rooftop bar bug: check out the Hotel Wilshire's cool spot
It's funny. New York's weather isn't much better than Toronto's and there are dozens of hotels with rooftop bars? Los Angeles, land of (almost) perpetual sunshine and a place where 18 degrees Celsius is cause for a run on down jackets? Not so much.
It's on Wilshire, naturally, quite close to the terrific L.A. County Museum of Art, the Petersen Automotive museum and the Architecture and Design Museum, and it's close to both Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
The rooms are done in a neutral scheme. It's a tad overdone in my book but these are done fairly nicely, with clean lines and nice touches such as small chaise lounges in the corners and fancy media hubs for your computer and other nice touches, including a coffee maker and free coffee and tea in the rooms. Rooms start at $199, so it's a decent price point. Especially when you check out the rooftop.
There's a small but nice pool surrounded by tables with umbrellas and several cabanas with an overhead screen to keep off the sun on hot days. Of course, they also have patio heaters and a fire pit for those often cool L.A. nights.
There's a cool bar that opens up onto the pool area, as well; quite similar to the Thompson in Toronto if you've ever had the pleasure. The place didn't seem filled with quite as many trendy types as the Thompson. Instead there were nice but average looking folks with kids and casually-dressed folks out enjoying an al fresco meal.
You get great views out over Hollywood and up to the Hollywood sign on the hills to the north. I didn't get a chance to try it but I saw an amazing salad they had put together, and they also do a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and other treats.
I tried a "Bourbon Smash" with bourbon, lemon and, oddly enough, raspberry. A touch sweet but quite nice on a warm, L.A. day in the sun. All in all, definitely a place worth checking out some time.
I ended up staying the night at the Roosevelt in Hollywood, an old-time property that's been nicely modernized and has incredible history, not to mention a fabulous pool and a series of striking bars, including one with a vintage, two-lane bowling alley. More on that later in Star Travel....
Best part of Friday, for me, was a quick visit to my alma mater, UCLA. I'm biased as hell, but it's a beautiful, tranquil campus in Westwood Village that can easily make you forget you're in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.
It's a great place to stroll about and admire the Italian Renaissance architecture and watch kids playing football or frisbee or gathering under the shade of enormous trees to go over their school work. Be sure to check out Royce Hall and Powell Library. If you're into gardens at all, the Mildred Mathias Botanical Garden on south campus is definitely worth a gander, with tropical and semi-tropical species from all over the world. A real hidden corner of the campus that even a lot of students never get around to visiting.