Los Angeles: The Best Places for Star-Spotting

By: Maxine Sheppard

February 25, 2012

We appear to have been unfathomably missed off the invite list for this year’s 84th annual Oscars ceremony on Sunday, so it’s unlikely we’ll be rubbing shoulders with any A-listers this weekend. We do, however, have the next best thing in the form of this handy guide to LA’s best star-spotting hotspots from award-winning magician and entertainer Chris Cox, recently returned from the City of Angels after filming a pilot for a new TV show. Leave your super-zoom lenses at home…


Where the stars come out to play


Los Angeles, La La land itself. The place where you can see the stars 24/7. Not the ones in the sky, obviously – too much smog for that – but the ones we adore in films, have photos of as our desktop backgrounds and would scream after if we ever got to see them. Actually, you probably shouldn’t scream after them if you see them, because if you take my advice and check out these hip LA joints you might very well spot a celeb or two. Or at the very least some random from The Hills.

The strangest thing about LA is the hotel culture; much of the most amazing stuff happens in hotel bars and rooftop pools and the great thing is you don’t even have to be a guest to hang out there – so here’s where to go to see and be seen…


Hotel Happenings


One of Hollywood’s hottest hotels, right by the Sunset Strip. Chill out by the pool in the day, grab a bite to eat at Asia de Cuba then party the night away in the Skybar. You’ll get one of the best views of downtown LA while hanging out with all the scenesters and celebs.



Skybar, Mondrian West Hollywood © Morgans Hotel Group

Skybar, Mondrian West Hollywood © Morgans Hotel Group



The Thompson Beverly Hills

It’s all about the pool scene here. Get your best bikini or swim-shorts out for the rooftop pool then once you’ve got your tan go hang out at the adjacent ABH rooftop cocktail bar and terrace. You’ll feel like you’re an extra in Entourage in no time.



Rooftop Pool at the Thompson Beverly Hills © Thompson Hotels

Rooftop Pool at the Thompson Beverly Hills © Thompson Hotels



The London

Sexy pool, check, sexy staff, check, sexy food, check. The London is right by the Viper Rooms (be sure to stop by for a couple of drinks; Pink loves this place) and is home to Gordon Ramsey’s only LA restaurant. If you don’t want to splash the cash check out his Boxwood Café for a cheaper bite.



© LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels

The London © LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels



The Hollywood Roosevelt

The Hollywood Roosevelt has been around since 1927. It hosted the first ever Academy Awards and was the playground of Marilyn Monroe. It also has two of the hippest bars in LA. The Library Bar is a hidden treasure, tiny but delightful. The bar is covered in fresh fruit and herbs and smells beautiful. Tell the mixers a bit about your favourite flavours and they’ll make a unique cocktail just for you. Also check out the Tropicana Bar with its dramatic fire pits around the David Hockney pool. Hollywood doesn’t come cooler.



The Library Bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt © Thompson Hotels

The Library Bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt © Thompson Hotels



Chill Out

Ciel – Spa at the SLS Hotel

The beautifully sensual Starck-designed SLS Beverly Hills has a serene new spa which is often heaving with stars, mainly due to its personalized yet playful treatments. Couple’s suites allow for side-by-side massages, along with tubs and showers for two. Customized spa beds and iPod docking stations allow you to feel like you’re being pampered before the Oscars.



Ciel Spa at SLS © SBE Entertainment Group LLC

Ciel Spa at SLS © SBE Entertainment Group LLC



Shopping with the stars

The Grove & Farmers Market

The Farmers Market has been around since 1934 and is full of food vendors and unique little shops. The Shine Gallery is packed with Americana and is the place to find a unique gift while watching the stars unsuccessfully hide under their baseball caps. Right next to it is The Grove, one of LA’s best shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. After you’re done with the credit cards, check out the filming for Extra Live where celebs pop in for interviews most days.



LA Farmers Market by Zepherwind on

LA Farmers Market by Zepherwind



Melrose Avenue

The hit TV show Melrose Place was named after this stretch of alternative stores, independent boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants for a reason. Get yourself strutting down the Ave and pick up some wicked vintage items and designer goods, just like the A-listers do.



American Vintage on Melrose Ave © Doc_Brown on

American Vintage on Melrose Ave © Doc_Brown



Entertain yourself


About 45 mins from LA in Anaheim is the original Disneyland and its sister park Disney California Adventure. See Johnny Depp on the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride – an animatronic version of him, at least – and check out the mind-blowing World Of Colour Show in California Adventure. In June this year you’ll be able to ride Lightning McQueen in the new Cars Land too.



Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland © gwaar on

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland © gwaar



Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood: both a theme park and a movie studio. The backstage tram tour takes you through the real working backlot, where there is a genuine chance of seeing a star filming a blockbuster. The new Transformers 3D ride will put your right in the heart of the movie, blurring fiction and reality. Get your Optimus Prime on.



Universal Studios Hollywood © crabers.crab on

Universal Studios Hollywood © crabers.crab



Kodak Theatre / Cirque Du Soleil

The Kodak Theatre is the home of the Oscars and offers tours of the areas you’d normally only set eyes on if you were nominated. When the Oscars aren’t on Cirque Du Soleil have the theatre as their home for Iris, a jaw-dropping voyage through the world of cinema combining the best of circus, acrobats, dance and video. Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Beckinsale and James Gandolfini have all been wowed by the show.



The Kodak Theater © Asterixvs

The Kodak Theater © Asterixvs


Virgin Atlantic operates a daily direct flight to Los Angeles from London Heathrow.

Photos: © Americanspirit | for header shot, © Zepherwind |, © Asterixvs |, and thanks to Flickr photographers Doc_Brown, gwaar, crabers.crab.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

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