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May 23, 2015

Beverly Hills: Stars And Sights

Text by Mala Vaishnav

If you are in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is worth a wander. And if it’s your lucky hour, you may just spot Bruce Willis revving up his Chevrolet Corvette convertible or Jennifer Aniston sashaying out of Vuitton

Claire Delacruz Soe and Evan Anderson, my guides for the Golden Triangle wait to see my reaction outside Sprinkles, famous for its sugar coated confectionery. A 24-hour ATM delivers cup cakes on call! This can only happen in Beverly Hills, I think, as we feast on red velvet, chocolate marshmallow and vanilla peppermint. The hallowed area which seems as if it sanitised daily and has carved a place for itself in Hollywood’s super sized blockbusters is the playground of the rich, the famous and the discreet. And even though strolling through the tree-lined avenues, studying the latest collections of Dior and Chanel, among other fashion titans, is a pleasant enough exercise, nobody walks here. They cruise past in stretch limousines and sports cars, perhaps even cycle across the swishy lanes but that is strictly for stoking the endorphins. Of course if you want to do the tourist thing, then hop onto the Beverly Hills Trolley for a 40-minute narrated tour where the Paley Center for Media is a must-stop for screen and radio aficionados.

Iconic landmark, Beverly Hills Wilshire, is reminiscent of  Pretty Woman Julia Roberts striding through the hotel’s doors followed by an eager Richard Gere; it is also where Warren Beatty lived for 10 years and Elvis Presley rested between movies. The Beverly Hilton made a flamboyant appearance in the 2013 winner, Argo and its ballroom has been the preferred venue for the Golden Globes since 1961. Rodeo Drive, ruling queen of the avenues of glamour, was silent spectator to Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy as he checked out the resident Pradas and Fendis in an opening scene. And if you chance upon the historic Greystone Mansion, that is where an Indecent Proposal was made.

The ‘city’ and some call it that, has one of the greatest concentration of salons, spas and beauty centres within air kissing distance of each other. MAC recently took over some 100 square feet of luxury space to open four make-up stations and two lash bars. Speaking of bars, the most credit card-worthy is Above Sixty, a ritzy rooftop watering hole that offers an almost aerial view of Downtown L.A., their signature cocktail, Lemonade Chill and an underwater sighting of the swimming pool through a secret porthole in the hallways leading to the restrooms!

And just like millions of others before us, we take turns posing in front of the 40-foot-long Beverly Hills sign, one of the most recognised landmarks in a ‘city’ that completed its 100th anniversary. Come spring and summer, even the lilies in the pond bloom in perfect symphony so the place never looks less than picture perfect!

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