AQ Travel - Old and New Hollywood Found in Some of LA’s Finest and Surprisingly Affordable Hotels
Studio City, CA once the hub of early movie making has the heart of a small town all within walking distance to boutiques, bistros and easy access to all the LA area attractions. Its celebrity inhabitants (see the lengthy list on Wikipedia) live comfortably there, and can regularly be seen out and about including George Clooney and the Mayor of LA. There were star sightings of the super friendly Chuy Bravo from late night, Chelsea Lately just outside of Crust Pizza café, Ashton Kutcher, and Sean Penn at Pizza Rev.
From Studio City you’ll easily get to Universal (two of the fabulous hotels we hit we The Sportsmen’s Lodge and North Hollywood’s Beverly Garland offer complimentary shuttle service), Warner Brother’s highly recommended VIP Studio Tour, as well as the glitz and show biz glamour of LA and the beaches of Santa Monica.
We managed very nicely on LA’s luxurious black car limos ITS Chauffeured Transportation (they also pick up the celebrity guests for The Ellen Show and The Bachelor/Bachelorette Shows) and Yellow Cabs. Thank you, LA Tourism. If you’ve never booked a limo, do it now or put it on your bucket list. It is so worth it and will spoil you forever! By the way the Starline double decker bus tours www.starlinetours.com)offer a two day on/off option that goes all over LA and to the beaches with a running historic commentary that is a delight.
There are also wonderful and reasonable places to stay. One of our long time favorites is the landmark Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel (www.sportsmenslodge.com), beloved for its rich Hollywood history, eccentric character, warmly inviting spirit, unique lodge and renowned Olympic size swimming pool with sun deck and Jacuzzi. This is the place many stars like Katherine Hepburn and Clark Gable went to hang out on the down low and it is rumored Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and others taught their kids to fish here.
We spotted actress Francine York (currently on tv’s Hot In Cleveland) at their delightful, fresh new Patio Café next to a movie deal that was being struck a table away. We wanted to see what they’d done to the place and our visit to the now completely overhauled celebrated Sportsmen’s Lodge now part of the Broughton Hotel Group did not disappoint.
The New Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel
Haute Retro Sophistication and Nostalgia Hip
Studio City, CA
Studio City’s new Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel (SMLH) ( www.sportsmenslodge.com) located on eight acres of gardens, water fall and ponds off Ventura Boulevard has been reinvented and re-imagined as a sleek, sophisticated, highly original, and still uber-welcoming hotel. The new improved hotel continues to elicit Hollywood’s heyday while with great élan bringing the well-loved lodge into the 21st century.
The day we arrived we were warmly greeted as always by both staff and the charming general manager Stephen Chavez. Outside the Aqualillies synchronized swimmers rehearsed their segment for ABC News in the pool. Do not miss the Lodge’s spectacular pool where back in the day such mega stars as Tallulah Bankhead and Bette Davis lounged, picnicked and enjoyed martinis. The pool boasts a wonderful bar with table and chairs for modern day picnics and offerings from the fabulous fun and delicious modern take on the diner - their superb Patio Café.
The hotel’s designers have gone all out to breathe fresh life into the place with contemporary elements and the ‘cool’ factor at every turn, celebrating the hotel’s history with fishing, hunting and vacationing as early as the 1880's and through Hollywood's hey day of the 20's. 30's and 40's.
The lodge theme is amplified throughout the foyer, lobby and great haunt the River Rock Lounge/Restaurant with customized white deer and moose heads on many walls and above the front drive, a giant antler chandelier. Hollywood classics play on the lobby’s flat screen tv. A stunning new addition is the Zen garden fire pit and fountain with lily pads and dramatic hanging lanterns that light up the evening just outside the new lobby.
The 190 spacious guest rooms (of those eleven are studio suites) are all appointed with panache; each have a white, green, gray and orange décor with hip martini graphics, duvet bedding, large flat screens, large work areas with task lighting, new closets, distinctive one button make up mirrors and custom built-ins. Some have oversized balconies many with pool views. The redesign makes for a stylish, chic and wildly imaginative hotel experience.
The Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel
12825 Ventura Blvd/ Studio City, CA 91604
818 769 4700/ 1 800 618 1208/ Special Events 818 755 5000
Cathy's passion for travel and adventure has led her to become a national and international travel and cultural writer. Her travel articles frequently appear here and elsewhere.