Hollywood, baby!

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Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA.  If you’ve never been, it’s the stuff of Silver screen legend.  If you have been, you’ll know that the glitz and the glamour of Hollywood Boulevard is just a street away from the dodgier area of Sunset Blvd.  Some people will say that in the 80s it was a dirty, seedy place.  Some say that the pull and lure of the 50s movie town feel is long gone; however, I say that this place is still magic, full of history and waiting to be discovered.

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The Gateway to Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd & the corner of La Brea.

So on this page, expect Hollywood gossip, insider tips, gorgeous photos and lots of fantastic history! Starting with….

Laurel Canyon

Laurel Canyon is “a eucalyptus-scented canyon” neighborhood located deep in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California.It was first developed in the 1910s, and became a part of the city of Los Angeles in 1923. Much like Topanga Canyon (whose central thoroughfare is Topanga Canyon Boulevard), community life at Laurel Canyon is focused on its central thoroughfare, Laurel Canyon Boulevard. One of Laurel Canyon’s most famous past residents (current residents still include Red Hot Chilli Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis), was The Doors lead singer, Jim Morrison.  Laurel Canyon seems to attract musicians and boho types, while your A listers are safely secured in Mansions in Bel-Air, the Hollywood Hills & Beverley Hills.

Laurel Canyon still has that relaxed, hippy happy vibe about it although Laurel Canyon Blvd is always busy and packed full of slow moving traffic.  No wonder Jim preferred to walk everywhere!  As a Doors fan, visiting this location is absolutely essential; you can see the house Jim shared with Pamela, right next door to the Laurel Canyon Store.  This location was also the inspiration for the song “Love Street”.

“She lives on Love Street
Lingers long on Love Street
She has a house and garden
I would like to see what happens…”

Here’s the Laurel Canyon Store, with the wooden house beside it being Jim’s old place.

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The house went up for sale in 2010 and here’s a few interior shots:

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You can see more detailed interior shots HERE. The previous owners were currently Doors fans, judging by the wall art.

Jim frequented the General Store often, and the store still trades today and celebrates that connection.  Here’s more history about the store : http://seastwood.com/backup310/canyonstore.htm

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Other previous tennants to the area include : Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Mickey Dolenz, Mama Cass, Houdini and Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses.

Where to stay in Hollywood

There are some amazing hotels in the immediate Hollywood area, all with their own history and most of them at steep prices. There’s the Snooty Chateau Marmont where you can pay a premium price (from $650 per night) to have snotty staff look down their nose at you and treat you with contempt; there’s the Hotel Roosevelt, reportedly haunted….probably by the ghost who steals your money (rooms start at $329 a night), Loews Hollywood Hotel, which boasts some of the most amazing views of that famous sign – rooms from $289.00…..and then there are dives with bedbugs and roaches that are cheap because the rooms look like they were last remodelled in 1982.

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Then, there are the rare hidden gems.  Here is one of them that I can personally recommend having stayed there and enjoyed every second.

Budget – The Hollywood Orchid Suites – Prices start at $119 per night for a King suite – including lovely big bed, kitchen, living area, bathroom etc. These suites are spacious, clean, featuring balconies and with access to complimentary breakfast and internet. Parking is FREE which is all but unheard of in Hollywood and they also have a laundry and vending machines.  But that’s not what is most amazing about this hotel (although those prices for that amount of space is pretty amazing!), what’s amazing is the location.  You step out the front door of the hotel, cross the street, walk down a corridor and wind up in the Hollywood & Highland shopping mall, on Hollywood Blvd!  To put it in perspective:

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You literally CANNOT get any closer to all the action, not at this price.  The Hollywood Orchid suites are great value for money, have a fantastic location and are 100% recommended! The pool is compact but nice, the breakfasts feature tea, coffee, juices, iced water, muffins, croissants, toast and fresh fruit.  There is one computer in the breakfast area but the internet is free and you can print out any boarding passes etc for free. They also have a great roof garden which overlooks The Hollywood Methodist Church (featured in many movies, including Sister Act!). This is my first choice of a place to stay in Hollywood.hollywood-orchid-suites

Front of the hotel

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Roof Garden

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This is what you can see from the roof

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Typical room

Shopping in Hollywood

There is no better place to spend your $$$s and Hollywood offers some top notch shopping options.  Here are my top shopping locations and the stores that make me love to shop there!

The Hollywood & Highland – located on Hollywood Boulevard, right next to what was the Kodak Theatre (where they hold the Academy awards).

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Why I love it :

  • You can see the Hollywood sign from the upper levels and get a really great shot of you, with that iconic background.
  • There’s a great coffee shop that opens early on the ground level
  • They have a FAB Johnny Rockets restaurant on the upper level
  • They have a really decent sized Sephora, packed full of some fabulous brands
  • They have market style stalls, some selling less tacky I love LA stuff
  • The water features! Love them!
  • Huge Sketchers store – yay!
  • Early in the morning, you can grab a seat, have a coffee, listen to the music and fountains – all in relative peace and quiet

The Grove in LA is a lovely outdoor shopping destination that sometimes has celeb events (as well as celeb shoppers) and is a thriving but laid back place.

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I partricularly love the old fashioned trolley transport, the Apple store, the bookstore, the MAC store and the Cheesecake Factory (to die for!).

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