LA is a fabulous place for kids and once you get over the long flight, it’s a brilliant place to explore.
We stayed at The Beverly Hills Hotel and everyone there welcomed us as a family. I called the concierge ahead of time to ask for a few bits to be ready in the room, such as Pampers, wipes, cots and even a couple of high chairs, which they let us have for our stay, making room service much easier.
We went in February, which is warm if you’re used to English temperatures but it is desert climate and layers are the key. We all wore t-shirts with something on top and took coats around with us. My daughter did wear tights most days but for LA that’s unusual.
The hotel has a great pool that the kids adored and they loved the American style deli. My guilty pleasure was The Polo Bar, often littered with celebrities busy making plans or hosting meetings. One day we ordered a cream tea and they made a separate dairy-free one for my daughter, as they knew of her intolerance. That’s when you realise how every last detail is thought of in this city.
I was told by friends who live in LA that plans had to be made for each day and I’m glad I took their advice. They also told us to rent a car, which we did and that turned out to be the making of the trip, along with its GPS Sat Nav.
We started with shopping, the best in the world. We cruised Robertson where you find everything from Ralph Lauren kids at half the price, to Bel Bambini and my absolute favourite, Kitson Kids which is literally a mecca for all things cool when it comes to infants, babies, toddlers and even teens. My son amused himself playing with a tricycle while I shopped and my daughter had fun with a gigantic Elmo.
We lunched at Fred Segal, which has a great cafe serving delicious local, fresh produce, and then we shopped a little more. They too have the best kids selection, everything from basics to every top brands imaginable.
The following day we were ready for Universal Studios. The movie tour is a must although at 55 minutes long, the kids got a little impatient but did love the little tram we travelled in. There were a few cool rides but they all had height restrictions and my two were just too small. We all loved the Simpsons Kwik E Mart and it did feel like we were walking on set everywhere we turned.
Something we left for the last few days was Disney. What a day! There was so much to do and luckily we went with friends who are regulars. We bought ‘front of line’ passes, which allowed us to by pass the great hoards of people – a real bonus! The kids loved the boat rides, ‘It’s a small world’, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Peter Pan’. The little girl we went with screamed her way through ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ but adored the Princesses. They all loved the Dumbo ride and the biggest hit of the day was ‘The Mickey Mouse House’ where they met him afterwards.
The shops there were brilliant and we purchased all of our novelty presents here before flopping in to the car for a good hour’s drive back to Beverly Hills.
Not many people walk around Beverly Hills but we did go to a few parks which were fun, and they all had little playgrounds for the kids. We also walked to Rodeo Drive, which was an experience. We strolled back via Sprinkles, and honestly, it’s the best cupcake shop in the world, one usually with a huge queue around the block.
You have to see the Hollywood sign for a picture opportunity and we did this at the same time as the ‘Walk of Fame’, which was a bit of a disappointment, it rained and we decided not to finish it. El Capitan is a good spot too, you can watch Disney movies and see the characters dancing around outside.
I was told to go to The Ivy, which is not a children’s restaurant but as everywhere in LA, it’s totally child friendly and has a great vibe. They also do a phenomenal knickerbocker glory.
My son’s favourite part of LA was the beach and Malibu. I was sad not to get to Santa Monica Pier, I could see it from a distance, and it looked like a giant carnival. Malibu Country Market is a must and is a mix of designer shops, restaurants and gardens where you can picnic. I loved the little playground in the middle and spent quite a while in Toy Crazy.
We went back to the area on Sunday and had lunch at The Malibu Farmer’s Market across the street from the Country Market. We had yummy organic hotdogs with all the trimmings and spent a few hours walking around tasting all the fresh produce. Everything looks clean and fresh and somehow even the chocolate cakes looked healthy.
On the way to the airport I ran in to Whole Foods and stocked up on things for the flight. They have so many interesting new products I found lots of fun bits for the kids to snack on.
Apart from the terrible jet lag on the way home, we loved everything about LA and maybe when the kids are a bit older we’ll make the move again and revisit all the great memories.