Beverly Hills for the rest of us

It’s not just a playground for stars. Here’s how to live large on the cheap in 90210

The Crescent Hotel

The Crescent Hotel

Gina Sabatella

Click to Enlarge

Beverly Hills Hotel entrance
Enlarge
Rodeo Drive sign
Enlarge
Sprinkles cupcakes
Enlarge

As a kid growing up in working-class Los Angeles, I thought Beverly Hills was a faraway place reserved for privileged playboys and the Hollywood haves. Rich people lived in Beverly Hills; I watched Beverly Hillbillies on TV. I bought baubles at Target, not Tiffany. And I was in my 20s before I realized that Rodeo Drive wasn’t pronounced like the cowboy cattle-roping event.

As an adult, my tastes have become more sophisticated (though my income, unfortunately, has never quite caught up). I recently said, Oh, what the hell, and planned a Beverly Hills getaway―on my budget. After a weekend of cocktails, shopping, chic restaurants, poolside lounging, and posh digs, I have to say: Even in Beverly Hills, you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

A stylish home base for $175: For my pied-à-terre, I chose the Crescent Hotel.

Built in 1926 as a residence for silent-film stars, this sleek little 35-room boutique hotel has a prestigious address around the corner from Rodeo Drive and is within walking distance of everything, but with a nightly rate that didn’t make me swoon (compared with the $500-and-up Beverly Hills Hotel).

Bonus: Relaxing on the cushy sofas in the lounge with an indoor-outdoor fireplace feels very swank. From $175; 310/247-0505.

A touch of Hollywood for $10: To get my bearings, I hopped on the Beverly Hills Trolley for a 40-minute tour.

Okay, so you’ll never be mistaken for a local on this thing, but you get a ride through the leafy, winding roads of the 6-square-mile town.

Our guide burst into occasional song and celebrity impersonations while pointing out landmarks: the Beverly Wilshire (Pretty Woman) Hotel, countless designer stores, and mansions of old-time stars like Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, and Charlie Chaplin. Sat–Sun; Rodeo Dr. at Dayton Way; 310/285-2442.

Next: More ways to feel the star power in Beverly Hills

 

Page 123

Advertisement

Insider Guides

Places We Love!
Enchantment Resort
For a most soothing Sedona experience, tuck yourself...