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Forums Other Destination advice Thank you! Now please help plan my LA trip

  • LondonFly 84 posts

    Thank you so much to Rob, Rhys, HFP staff and all the contributors.
    I am taking my wife to LA for a week to celebrate her birthday. I could not have booked the below without all your help. For 2 of us I have booked Club World return to LAX(180000 avios + 241 + £900 total for 2), 5 nights at the Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria(480k Hilton Honours-5th night free), 7 day Hertz small SUV car rental £160
    I would really appreciate your help and input to make this a memorable experience for us
    Heathrow airport Terminal 5
    1. Which lounge can I get into and which is best? Club world no status or priority pass(amex plat)
    On return at LAX airport(booking says Terminal B)
    2. Which lounge can I get into and which is best? Club world no status or priority pass(amex plat)
    3. On flights, new club seat(currently) do you receive pyjamas?
    Parking at WA 
    4. I want to avoid the $75 daily parking charge. Is there anywhere close by I can park? I’m happy to walk
    5. If I do use the hotel parking, do I need to tip each time they bring my car?
    6. what is a fair tip?
    House car
    7. what’s a fair tip?
    Parking in LA
    8.Is there street parking? how does the parking work? any advice/info appreciated.
    9. any helpful app?
    We are going just to relax and have a chilled time. I still want to know about the must see attractions and hidden gems
    10. Is universal studios worth it?(I’m in my 40s)
    11. What are must see/hidden gems in LA?
    12. We like nice drives. Any nice places to go?
    13. Nice places to walk or hike?
    14. Anything else I should know?
    Thank you all so much

    yorkshireRich 194 posts

    I’ll help slightly but in no particular order. I’ve only visited once so I’m sure in a few hours and coming days, you will get much more detailed advice.
    For Heathrow, I would always go to the lounge at 5B. Stretch your legs and have a walk through the tunnel, which is an oasis of calm compared to the train and A gates. The chances of your plane departing from B or C gates are extremely high. Tipping in General in U.S is around 15 to 25%. 15% is classed as below par service. It was when I was last visited anyway.

    We loved Universal studios in LA. We Preferred it to the Florida one. We did the Warner Brothers studio tour also. The Griffith observatory is not to be missed. None of the above are off the beaten track though.

    As for other places to go, I wouldn’t spend too much time in Hollywood but I would do recommend doing the Dolby theatre tour. We ended up having a private tour. We also ventured to Santa Monica beach, which was much better than Venice beach. Marina Del Rey was lovely.

    sorry I couldn’t help too much, but it’s a start.

    slidey 282 posts

    15% tip being taken as considering it poor service, thats the problem with expected tipping right there lol.

    Griffith observatory area has hikes, the batman tunnel is up there. Consider driving up the pacific coast highway for a while, its a couple of hours to santa barbara or malibu is much closer.

    Also a quick stop at la brea tar pits. And go to In N Out.

    You might want to go over to anaheim if you havent been to disneyland.

    Palm springs is another place thats a couple of hours drive away.

    masaccio 708 posts

    I preferred Disneyland and California Adventure to Universal Studios. I thought the quality was much higher. Don’t expect a Six Flags style coaster park; these rides are very different. Rise of the Republic is around 20 minutes for the experience for example. But both parks are great and being over 40 is irrelevant.

    The Savage Squirrel 565 posts

    As you’re in Beverley Hills, it makes sense to leave LA to the north/west if you like a nice drives and want to get out of the urban sprawl.

    There’s not much in the Central Valley (the giant valley that Interstate 5 runs along north out of LA) unless you are fascinated by agriculture.

    The coast via ROute 1 and Highway 101 are much more interesting and scenic. Santa Barbara is lovely and about 90 minutes away. Oxnard is like a low budget version half way if you don’t want to drive that far.

    If you want to visit Santa Monica beach then the north end is much more empty and doesn’t seem to have the same homeless encampment problem as the area south of the pier and Venice Beach.

    yonasl 948 posts

    For parking, use or similar (google, there seem to be many different apps). You can secure a parking spot for $10 a night.

    I know LA from going there to work, never leisure. My only recommendation is avoid hotels and similar for food/drinks unless you want to be paying $20 for a glass or wine (plus 20% tip).

    Alex G 450 posts

    It’s a bit niche, but I think the Queen Mary at Long Beach is worth a visit.

    At TBIT, there is a very good lounge that is branded as One World but run by Qantas.

    No PJs (or slippers) in Club.

    dougzz99 631 posts

    I’m going to contradict myself in regard driving. Avoid driving in LA as much as possible, it has horrendous traffic. But do drive Sunset Blvd from Echo Park/Dodger Stadium area to the coast, at one point you’ll naturally filter onto Santa Monica Blvd. It’s an interesting route where you’ll recognise a lot of things from TV/Film. Another interesting drive is Laurel Canyon/Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood hills. There are lookout points and it feels very LA cool.

    Tipping is a nightmare, frequently 25% is expected no matter how crap the service is, and frequently service is poor to indifferent. It’s not a tip, it’s a near mandatory contribution to the staff wage. Personally I’ll tip in restaurants, but resist anywhere where I’m collecting at a counter, no matter how aggressive the demand can be. It’s an individual thing, but if it stresses you the money maybe less important than feeling good about things.

    StanTheMan 218 posts

    Geoffrey’s in Malibu is a great spot for lunch – 45 minute drive down the coast – Table out on the terrace.

    I’d also go to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel – just quintessential LA.

    The Savage Squirrel 565 posts

    I had no idea that the OneWorld lounge at LAX was run by Qantas until it was mentioned both here and in the Schipol lounge article today.

    Now it makes sense why it’s significantly better than your average USA lounge (and with better coffee).

    Anyway, LondonFly it’s not somewhere to arrive early for, but it is comfortable, the buffet does its job and it has a self-serve wine and generally one or two decent beers on tap too.

    ChasP 155 posts

    Highlights of my trip
    1) Marshall’s Bodacious BBQ in Ventura – ridiculous cheap “truckers” place plastic plates & tablecloths ! but the best meat I’ve ever had – cooked on a huge trailer BBQ outside
    2) Griffith Observatory
    3) USS Iowa – may or may not float your boat !
    4) Seal beach – less crowded than most, cheap parking and a pleasant stroll along the pier

    Parking charges are high in most places IIRC $10 per hour at Griffith

    R 60 posts

    La Brea tar pits are cool. LACMA is next door and is free the second Tuesday of the month if you’re there. The new academy museum is also next door.

    The Grove is worth a visit, though none of this is off the tourist routes.

    Runyon Canyon has some nice short hikes that locals like.

    Also not mentioned so far is the Getty and the Getty Villa. Both are worthwhile.

    LondonFly 84 posts

    Thank you all for this. It’s very valuable.
    In LAX, centurion(amex plat) or one world lounge?

    Lyn 191 posts

    No Amex Plat here, so I haven’t visited the Centurion lounge, but I am quite fond of the Qantas, oops OneWorld, lounge. Helpful staff, varied and comfortable seating areas with a good variety of types of chairs, large enough to always be able to find a quiet spot. Reasonable food, including the healthier kind, adequate quality wine. As The Savage Squirrel says, good coffee and significantly better than the average US lounge. That includes the American Airlines Flagship lounge in LAX.

    By the way, your “B” terminal in LAX is the Tom Bradley International terminal (TBIT).

    Ziggy 4 posts

    In no order whatsoever…

    – If you use valet parking, you only tip when your car is brought to you (not when you drop it off). I tip $2-$3 for hotel valet parking and no more.
    – General tipping: 15% is low 18% – 20% should be fine. Make sure you base the tip on the pre tax amount.
    – Hikes at Griffith Park are better than at the more famous Runyon canyon (and are considerably less crowded). Parking near Runyon can be challenging while parking fees at Griffith kick in at noon so if you’re not visiting the observatory, you can factor this in to avoid the $10/hour fees.
    – The Getty Villa and Getty Museum both get a thumbs up from me.
    – Avoid the Centurion Lounge at LAX – almost always overcrowded and not worth the crush.
    – If you do a studio tour (one at a real working studio, not one with rides) Sony in Culver City and Paramount in Hollywood are both interesting.
    – If you’re visiting shopping centers with your car, always ask about ‘parking validation’ – you can often (but not always) get free parking for a period of time.
    – If visiting Beverly Hills by car (the area around the Rodeo Drive shops), all the parking facilities offer either 90 mins or 2 hours of free parking (I can’t remember which it is).
    – +1 for driving Sunset Blvd from Echo Park to the beach (avoid 08:00-10:00 and 16:00-18:00)
    – +1 for driving Mulholland Drive (up in the hills) but make sure you drive it East to West (join it from Cahuenga Blvd) to make sure that you’re on the side of the road with most of the views and stopping points.
    – No Pyjamas in Club World.
    – If you’re interested in shopping, the Westfield Center at Century City is a walkable distance from the Waldorf and has more stores in one area than any other shopping center in the vicinity.

    Lastly, if you view your trip to LA as one where you’re seeing what the SoCal lifestyle is like and what a few famous places look like rather than a traditional city visit, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more. LA is not a city in the same way as London, Paris or New York. There’s no real center to LA – it’s a collection of areas which all have their own differing identities (be prepared for Hollywood to be very grimy), so you can’t really explore it as you would most other major cities. As a resident, I love LA for the relaxed lifestyle it affords and the sunshine that we get most of the year, but I know a lot of visitors who have been frustrated after arriving and discovering that it’s not just a warmer and more friendly version of New York.

    Ant M 60 posts

    Universal is well worth a visit as an adult. The tour is great – hop on what looks like a train of supersized golf carts and it takes you round with a guide giving a commentary, so you’ll see plenty of bits you recognise from movies – it’s part informative tour, part entertainment. The special effects show in one of the theatres is interesting – including them setting a stuntman on fire as a live demonstration. The Waterworld show is worth seeing – just dont sit in the front few rows (different colour benches) unless you want to get very wet. There’s plenty to see at Universal to keep you busy for a day.

    LA traffic is horrendous – travelling anywhere will take a lot longer than you expect.

    We visited the original farmers market, not far from Beverley Hills or La Brea tar pits, and had lunch there. Being British I thought corned beef was that stuff from a can, so having corned beef there was an eye opener – it’s worlds apart from what we have.

    LondonFly 84 posts

    I tip $2-$3 for hotel valet parking and no more.

    For Waldorf Astoria valet parking?

    Ziggy 4 posts

    I tip $2-$3 for hotel valet parking and no more.

    For Waldorf Astoria valet parking?

    Sure, why not? You’re already being forced to valet park at a significant cost because the property doesn’t have regular parking (as far as I know), and if you consider that you may want to take the car out twice a day (possibly more), tipping more than that will soon add up.

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