By Regina Lynch Hudson
West Hollywood is a small city located in the heart of the greater Los Angeles region, between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. With a diverse and creative population of 39,000, the city is home to a thriving interior design industry, major entertainment companies, and upscale shopping, dining and nightlife venues. West Hollywood was founded in 1984, from 1.9 square miles of unincorporated Los Angeles County land.
The city’s three main districts include The Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard and “The Avenues” — a design, shopping and art district. The Sunset Strip is home to legendary music and nightlife venues like The Roxy, but also contains most of the city’s high-rise office buildings. Santa Monica Boulevard is the longest street in the city. The west side of Santa Monica Boulevard is the heart of the city’s gay and lesbian population and many restaurants, bars and retail. The eastern part of the boulevard is home to the city’s vibrant Russian-speaking population, as well as The Lot — West Hollywood’s only working television and film studio, where hit shows are filmed. The third district — “The Avenues”— is anchored by the landmark Pacific Design Center, a 1.2 million-square-foot office and design complex. The Avenues district also features high-end fashion designers, local boutiques, restaurants and art galleries along Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard.
Top employers in the city include InterActive Corp, which owns Citysearch, Evite and other websites, Innovative Dining Group, and PR/advertising agencies such as PMK, Weber Shandwick, IDPR and Jack Morton.
Celebrity sightings of jet-setting stars will be high on your list. You’ll spot oldies but goodies such as my cousin, legendary singer Freda Payne or her sister, Scherrie (former first ladies of the Supremes) in the hotels, lounges, shops and restaurants throughout Hollywood.
Contrary to popular opinion, Los Angeles and West Hollywood have very respectable public transportation. West Hollywood is served by the LA METRO bus system.
The city is sunny year-round, so pack your favorite sunglasses. People in LA — and West Hollywood in particular — like to do business in style, and dress is usually business casual, but pretty much anything goes.
Andaz West Hollywood is an upscale, business-friendly hotel that is part of Hyatt’s new Andaz chain of luxury boutique hotels. The Andaz is in the heart of all the action on The Sunset Strip, and yet when you are inside the hotel it feels like a tranquil oasis. Be sure to check out the rooftop pool deck and the acclaimed RH Restaurant and Bar just off the lobby. Hotel guests can expect top-notch services and amenities.
Cecconi’s West Hollywood is a popular and chic Italian eatery from the people who own the famous Soho House chain of private clubs. Cecconi’s is open to the public but you’re sure to spot some A-listers and entertainment industry heavy-hitters making deals. www.cecconiswesthollywood.com
Ravine Lal Hiranand, a transplant from Hong Kong, opened Fresh East on Santa Monica Boulevard at Robertson. Chef Jonathan Schwichtenberg whips up luscious but healthy fare, with a mix of salads, rice bowls, wraps, and specialties that look to India, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan and corners in between, for their inspiration. 310.859.9989, 8951 Santa Monica Blvd. #G-1
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the perfect spot to fire up the laptop and get onto the Internet while enjoying a beverage. Networkin’ There is no better place to see and be seen in West Hollywood than the Palm. The Palm has been a staple with celebrities since it opened in 1975, when the Palm only had three other restaurants. Check out the Hall of Fame while there. www.thepalm.com
There is no better place to see and be seen in West Hollywood than the Palm. The Palm has been a staple with celebrities since it opened in 1975, when the Palm only had three other restaurants. Check out the Hall of Fame while there. www.thepalm.com
TA blend of old world traditions and modern luxury, Vodaspa is an excellent West Hollywood day resort. The prime spot for total relaxation and rejuvenation, a visit to Vodaspa truly feels like a vacation from the frantic pace of the city. www.vodaspa.com
Footloose & Fancy-free
Saddle Ranch Chop House is the place to kick up your heels. There’s scrumptious food, festive libations, and a laid-back atmosphere. You’ve seen Saddle Ranch and its legendary mechanical bull on countless shows including “Sex and the City,” “Desperate Housewives,” “American Idol” and more. www.srrestaurants.com
AirTran Airways offers daily, non-stop flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and more than 71 destinations. 1.800.AIR.TRAN, www.airtran.com. West Hollywood is approximately 12 miles from LAX.
Thanks to our friends at the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau for providing data, facts and figures for this article. www.visitwesthollywood.com
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