Head to the city of stars for an awards season weekend break. Sophie Ball shares her guide to LA just in time for the Oscars…
The Ultimate Guide to Awards Season in LA
Right next to the Staples Center, JW Marriott is the hotel of choice for celebrities during award season – in one five-minute period we spotted Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis grabbing coffee from the lobby and shared a lift with Kris Jenner (marriott.com). When it comes to the Oscars, the LA outpost of the Four Seasons is where you’ll see virtually every nominee. A favourite of Halle Berry and Brad Pitt, the hotel also hosts many non-calendar events like the AFI luncheon and BAFTA tea party (fourseasons.com).
The Staples Center bills itself as ‘the most entertaining place on earth’ and plays host to most major events in the city. We were there for the Grammys and, on the day of the awards, the stadium lived up to the hyperbole with roadblocks, security barriers and nearly a mile of red carpet in place by midday. Security is rigorous and access to the ground floor on Grammy day reserved exclusively for artists – but it’s possible to attend if you book a private box.
The official after-party is at the stadium but it’s the small record label parties scattered between Hollywood Hills mansions that you want to be at. We had the surreal experience of being shoulder to shoulder with John Travolta on the dance floor at the Interscope Records party – happy to report that he’s still got the moves. staplescenter.com
If you’re wondering where all those celebrities eat when they’re out of their natural Hollywood Hills habitat, then look no further than Bestia. The latest Downtown Los Angeles hotspot has become one of the hardest to book tables in town. If you’re lucky, you might spot Emily Ratajkowski: it’s her favourite haunt. Book early and save up the pennies: rustic Italian dining on this level comes with a price tag. bestiala.com
Kendall Jenner had her 21st birthday here, Drake his 30th and Jessica Alba and Cash Warren hit it up regularly for date nights: Yep, we’re talking about Delilah. Brought to you by the team behind perennial favourite The Nice Guy, Delilah is a masterclass in the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Era, including a live band every evening. John Terzian and Brian Toll have worked hard to provide the city with venues that are ‘a step above a restaurant, but a step below a club’ and Delilah delivers on every front. Booking essential. delilahla.com
See the tinsel town from above with a helicopter ride over the city? Group 3 Aviation offers a variety of flights combining spectacular views of the Californian coastline with some of Hollywood’s most famous landmarks. The pilots are first rate and informative. Not to be missed.
There’s not an A-Lister on earth that actually pays for that £10,000 gown they’re walking the carpet in. They borrow them from the brand. So why should you? Rent The Runway is the designer dress and accessories rental service that allows you to have your very own Cinderella moment, for one night only. The company has recently added bricks and mortar stores to its initial online service and in the LA branch you can choose from designers such as Peter Pilotto, Azzedine Alaia and Halston Heritage in the company of your very own personal stylist.
For priceless views of the Hollywood sign, take a hike through Runyon Canyon. A great spot to work out, the park is situated on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains and features breathtaking views of the city. In true awards season style, we added an extra burn with a session from trainer Wes Okerson. Wes is one of L.A.’s top fitness consultants and counts Gerard Butler, Tom Cruise and Isla Fisher as fans.
Visit The Beverly Hills Hotel
For over 100 years, The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge has long been a favourite of A-list Hollywood stars. Among the many recent Academy Award-winners who have celebrated their triumphs at The Polo Lounge are Faye Dunaway, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Caine, Dame Judi Dench, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck – all with Oscars in hand!
To celebrate the awards season, The Beverly Hills Hotel has curated special “Best Picture” nominee cocktails including Three Bourbons Outside Missouri, The Churchill and Campari By Your Name, along with a three-course dinner menu available at the Polo Lounge.