Beverly Hills, easily one of the world’s most sought-after celebrity bastions where magnificent iconic mansions, renowned SPAs & saloons along with nouveau architecture makes it a much sought after travel destination.
Helena Bonham Carter once said: “Famous people come up to me, but I don't know who they are because my sight is so bad. It's always at the pool of the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills when I don't have my lenses in and my glasses are in my room”. Undoubtedly, there is luxury in every breath you take in Beverly Hills.
This piece of exclusive preserve is all of 5.7 square mile with a residing population of 34,000, which in the daytime multiplies several folds to touch the 200,000 mark. Needless to say, Beverly Hills has had an intimate connect with Hollywood stars and close to 900 plus retail outlets provide the ultra rich denizens with all the comforts that they crave for. All the big names like the Academy of Motion Picture, William Morris, Merv Griffin Entertainment etc... have made Beverly Hills their home. For the die-hard Hollywood freaks, Beverly Hills’ 30,000 square feet of red carpet, the magnificent Beverly Hilton, has served as the venue of the annual Golden Globe Awards.
With the soaring popularity of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now officially recognized as the world’s most powerful person, superseding even Donald Trump, the India connect is pretty strong here. The locals still vividly recall how in spite of the grandiose dinner arrangements made by the then President Barack Obama at the White House (2014), the Indian Prime Minister consumed just lemonade mixed with honey as he was on a Navaratri fast.
In the midst of all the glitz and glamour surrounding Beverly Hills, there is one Indian who stands tall and calls Beverly Hills his home - Laser physicist Mani Lal Bhaumik, whose rags to riches story is the stuff of legends. Bhaumik’s cutting edge research on high-energy laser, was of great relevance in diverse technology domains ranging from laser printers to the vision-correcting Excimer laser.
Beverly Hills has a rich virile past and in the mid 1700s when the Spanish navy first came to occupy this region which was blessed with abundant water reserve, the city’s old name - El Rodeo de las Aguas, that literally means “Collecting Water”, is self explanatory. In the formative years Beverly Hills used to be an ideal farmland. However, much later in the late 19th century Lima Bean fields were in vogue. Celebrity homes began to make its mark on the Beverly Hills landscape from the 1920s and it all started with Pickfair, who built the first grandiose residence for Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, both very renowned movie stars in those times.
Beverly Hills’ central location means that some of Southern California’s most popular tourist landmarks like the Disneyland and Universal Studios can easily be visited. It is amazing how within a compact six square miles area, the diversity of tourist sites, inclusive of celebrity mansions is simply one-of-a-kind experience.
Try to coincide your trip during the holiday season when Beverly Hills comes alive with a bewildering array of high intensity events and festivals ranging from art festival to pet parades. Beverly Hills’ signature events during the peak season (November to January) transforms this city into a fairytale land with hotels and retail outlets redesigning their atriums and porches with innovative and sometimes outlandish decor, perfectly in sync with the festive spirit. The Golden Triangle with its family friendly amenities is much preferred by visitors.
The festival season in Beverly Hills commences with the Rodeo Drive Lighting Festival and needless to say, visitors get to jive with an eclectic mix of musical extravaganza. The Concerts on Canon - a novel outdoor entertainment programme conducted by the city authorities offers visitors with high quality contemporary musical performances ranging from Jazz to Brazilian Samba.
When it comes to celebrating the spirit of wanderlust, the Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance is an unputdownable event where the very best of luxury cars - Rolls Royce, Ford, Aston Martin and what have you... come out on the streets with all guns blazing. Such is the hype surrounding this festival that the renowned travel guide publisher - Fromers declared this event as one of the world’s most “unmissable Events & Festivals around the World”.
Beverly Hills has no pretensions of being an unswerving China-friendly holiday hotspot and naturally the Chineese New Year is a much sought after festival, which the whole of Beverly Hills awaits with bated breath. During this impressive festival, the city is all decked up with signature Chineese decor and the sheer variety of entertainment options could baffle the most die-hard entertainment guru. Past years’ festivals have featured Beijing Performance & Arts Group, China National Acrobatic Troupe as well as an exclusive Chinese cultural performance in the Rodeo Drive neighbourhood.
Celebrations apart, Beverly Hills can be a great outdoor tourism experience. The best part of the city is that it is blessed with a salubrious weather all year round. So, no matter whichever month you visit this amazing City of Stars, Beverly Hills can charm you anytime, anywhere. If you are eager to go on a sightseeing tour, hired bikes could be ideal. First time visitors are advised to embark on “Segway tour” that passes through some of Beverly Hills’ most famous tourist landmarks - Sign & Lily Pond, Rodeo Drive and the magnificently landscaped Beverly Hills Garden Park.
For adolescents and young people, the curiosity to have a firsthand experience of their favourite heroes and heroines’ residential mansions have always been a highly instinctive pull for embarking on a trip to Beverly Hills and this amazing city doesn’t deprive Hollywood fans. If you are present behind-the-scene at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences studios, chances are that you could shake hands with legendary Hollywood actors, who take time-off from their busy schedule, just to mingle with the crowd of onlookers.
Apart from the Academy of Motion Picture studio, Hollywood freaks would do well to visit the iconic Will Rogers Memorial Garden, which for more than a century has been the shooting location of many Hollywood blockbusters. Another historic locale is the Greystone Mansion. The impressively landscaped gardens and the iconic estate has been a host to countless Hollywood films.
Shopping at Beverly Hills could be one of the most rewarding experience. The famed cobblestone walkway on Rodeo Drive is where you come across some of the world’s top end retail outlets. For visitors with children, move further ahead of Rodeo Drive and a variety of shops and boutique stores catering to a young clientele can be found - Tom’s Toys at the Northern end and English Rabbit at Brighton Way are much preferred. The later in particular is renowned for its rich collection of dolls.
When it comes to fine wine, can Beverly Hills be far behind? Some of the world’s best maintained and well stocked wine cellars are right here. Prices could range from $25 to $4,800. The Cheese Store, Heritage Fine Wines and Wally’s Beverly Hills are top rung. The later in particular is renowned for its extensive array of fine wines - 2,500 bottles to choose from.
To sum up Beverly Hills, I can’t resist quoting Hugh Laurie’s immortal words:
Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive. When I ride through Beverly Hills in the early morning, and all the sprinklers have turned off, the scents that wash over me are just heavenly. Being House is like flying, too. You're free of the gravity of what people think.
Traveller’s Fact File
You can reach Beverly Hills through multiple airports. Visitors are advised to plan ahead with a certified travel consultant and choose the most convenient airport.
Airports that connect to Beverly Hills
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Ontario International Airport (ONT), John Wayne Airport (SNA), Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Long Beach Airport (LGB).
Luxury hotels abound in Beverly Hills. Some of the most preferred once are - The Peninsula Beverly Hills, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Montage Beverly Hills, Viceroy L ‘Ermitage and Beverly Wilshire (Four Seasons).
For business travellers, Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau is the specialised travel division of Beverly Hills Tourism. A team of travel consultants work 24x7 to offer business magnates with the perfect itinerary and supporting logistical support to ensure your meetings/conferences are successful.