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Beverly Hills on a budget

Created date

July 24th, 2012

Beverly Hills is known for its glitz and glamour, but it s possible to enjoy a taste of the town s luxurious lifestyle on a working-class budget.

Hotel

We stayed at the world-famous Beverly Hilton Hotel (beverlyhilton.com). Home of the annual Golden Globe Awards, rooms at this landmark can be expensive, but we were able to get a great room for about $200/night through the Hilton Honors program the hotel chain s member rewards program that boasts over 25 million members. In the golden days of Hollywood, stars like Elizabeth Taylor could be spotted in the lobby; even today, the landmark hotel hosts over 175 red carpet events a year, so don t be surprised by who you re sharing the elevator with. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by police dogs, portable metal detectors, and men with wires coming out of their ears. It turns out, President Obama was staying in the hotel s presidential suite.

On the town

One of the best things about the Beverly Hilton is the swimming pool. Here, you can order a fancy cocktail from Trader Vic s, stretch out on a cushioned lounge chair, and relax in true Hollywood style. Los Angeles is a shopper s paradise; from the high fashion boutiques of Rodeo Drive (rodeodrive-shop.com) to the funky stores of the Melrose Avenue (melroseavenue-shop.com), you can find virtually anything in L.A. stores, including celebrities. We spotted Richard Simmons on Rodeo Drive (yes, he was wearing his trademark short shorts) and Mindy Kaling of The Office, browsing along Melrose. Don t miss the Getty Museum of Art (getty.edu/museum). Nestled into the mountainside, the museum itself is a work of art, offering breathtaking views and beautiful outdoor spaces. Parking is $15, but museum admission is free.

Restaurants

Budget conscious travelers have many options in L.A. Start with a macrobiotic breakfast at the M Caf in Beverly Hills (mcafedechaya.com). Macrobiotic means no egg, dairy, or meat options on the menu. I had a delicious breakfast burrito, coffee with almond milk and, because I was curious, I splurged on a fresh juice of wheat grass, ginger, parsley, and apple. Yum! Really, except that it cost $10. By lunchtime, we abandoned our healthy eating and headed to the world famous Pink s Hot Dogs (pinkshollywood.com). In business since 1939, Pink s always has a line, but it moves quickly and, besides, it s going to take you a while to decide what toppings to order. I got the guacamole dog, and it was delicious! (Note: Cash only at Pink s.) For dinner, try Dominick s (dominicksrestaurant.com), a restaurant gem that offers great food at reasonable prices. Once a favorite of the notorious rat pack, today s Dominick s presents the best of traditional Italian cooking. Everything is wonderful here, but the fried calamari and the chicken Parmesan are true standouts. Dominick s offers an unbeatable Sunday supper: three courses for $15.

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