Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mingle with the stars

Rodeo Drive a gilt-edged shopping haven

  • Print

On the southern edge of Los Angeles, Disneyland presents a world of pure make-believe for children and families. At the other end of town, discerning travellers with more adult tastes might find the fantasy world of Beverly Hills more to their liking. The major difference is that one fantasy is real and the other isn't. A visit to Beverly Hills is like stepping into a dream; tourism of another kind altogether. What fun!

Movies aren't made on Hollywood movie lots anymore, but many Hollywood stars still live, shop, dine out and party in nearby Beverly Hills. They can be seen in high-end restaurants and boutiques around the "Golden Triangle" centred on Rodeo Drive. A quick stroll up and down the Drive will prove the beautiful people of Beverly Hills (and not just the movie stars) are as gorgeous in real life as they appear to be on the screen.

Beverly Hills has been home to the stars and the ultra-rich producers and promoters who can also afford to live there, since the original Beverly Hills Hotel was built back in 1912 in the middle of an apple orchard. The hotel is still located on Sunset Strip, with its 204 rooms and suites and 21 unique bungalows.

These days, the Sultan of Brunei owns the hotel, and stars still party at the famed Polo Lounge, but if it's fantasy you're after, then it's Rodeo Drive you really want to explore.

The Drive has evolved into the premiere shopping district for the entire world, and every major brand, from Faberge to Versace, operates a swank signature store here.

However, don't expect to waltz into every boutique, unless you are properly attired or have made an appointment.

There are very large, well-dressed and handsome doormen standing in many doorways, and their job is to decide whether you look like a shopper or a gawker. Leave the scruffy blue jeans at home, darling.

In Beverly Hills, the experience of rubbing elbows with the gorgeous and fabulously wealthy is totally free, but it's best to be rather circumspect with your camera, if you want to enjoy yourself.

It's indeed unnerving to personally witness just how good-looking, well-dressed and suave the locals really are (and that's just the staff). Yes, it's true: Even the waiters and clerks look like movie stars. And, oh my dear, the jewelry!

One of the hottest (or is that coolest?) restaurants in Beverly Hills these days is Crustacean, a delicate fusion of French and colonial Vietnamese cuisine.

When our party was escorted to a private booth, we glanced over as David Caruso from the TV series CSI: Miami casually sat down at the table next to us. Standing at the bar were several other familiar-looking faces from TV and movies. Yes, the lobster, king crab and prawns served with garlic noodles were rather delicious, thank you.

The dress code at Crustacean is "relaxed," which means you don't need an evening gown or suit to get in, but it wouldn't hurt.

Best to make a reservation well in advance. Just give them the phone number for the Hilton and you'll be fine.

One must simply check out the Aquastar pool at the Beverly Hills Hilton (note: very reasonable room rates, too) for hot young stars and starlets sunning themselves in deck chairs. The Hilton's spa treatments are also reputed to be the best in town, so make sure you misplace your chequebook before checking in. Actors such as Jack Nicholson are reputed to enjoy the occasional beverage at the Hilton's Trader Vic lounge.

A narrated tour of the stars' homes in Beverly Hills via trolley is de rigueur, cherie, although all you will likely be able to see are very tall hedges and brick walls, while your tour guide spins stories about past movie stars and their outrageous behaviour. However, you can make out Jackie Collins' former modernistic mansion very well.

Simply strolling around the streets of Beverly Hills feels like being on a movie set. The downside is you will feel like a B-movie extra in comparison to the gorgeous creatures who live and work here, but you can cheer yourself up by saying to yourself, "It's not real." Only it is real, and that's what is truly amazing.

-- Postmedia News


WHERE TO STAY: Splurge and stay at the Beverly Hills Hilton (

WHERE TO EAT: Dress well and make a reservation at Crustacean (

WHAT TO DO: Walk around Rodeo Drive and try to see how many shops will let you in.

Ride the trolley tour, or check out other attractions on the city's website (

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2012 D7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


RMTC preview of Good People

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google