Up and Down the Boulevard

When we visited L.A. last month we stayed in a small hotel snuggled in behind the Hollywood and Highland Centre Mall on Hollywood Boulevard.  The Orchid Suites on Orchid Avenue is a three story converted apartment building.  You could tell it was an old building but it had been renovated and was very clean.  The staff were extremely helpful and friendly.  If you're looking for luxury or something special however, this ain't it.  If you're looking for a clean, affordable compared to most hotels in L.A. ($179 a night on Priceline), highly rated (number 4 on Trip Advisor), and you want to be in the Hollywood area, then this is a good hotel for you.  Most rooms have a kitchenette which is also very handy if you're on a budget.  A block from the Mall there's a small food market. The beds are comfy,  our room was surprisingly quiet considering how close it is to the strip and there's a decent continental breakfast in the morning.  The coffee isn't great but there's a Starbucks in the mall.    I would recommend the hotel replace the carpeting on the stairs when you first enter the building as it's very worn and the first impression is not good.

It's a great location if you want to see the sights in this part of L.A., like Graumann's Chinese Theatre, the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Museum, and Madame Tusaudd's.   Jimmy Kimmel Live is recorded across the street though I'm not sure how easy it is to get tickets. If I'd known Jon Hamm was going to be there I would have made more of an effort to find out.

The metro is right beside the mall and Universal Studios is one stop away. I was quite impressed with the transit system.  You get a plastic card that you "load" either for one trip or for the day.  Paying cash for a trip costs $1.50 but $5.00 on your tap card gets you the use of the bus and the metro for 24 hours.  It's a great deal.

The Hollywood and Highland Centre is a big courtyard surrounded by four levels of restaurants and shops. This photo was taken from Trastevere, an Italian restaurant in the mall, where we had a late lunch/early dinner the first day.   Here are a few more photos of the area around our hotel:

I always knew my brother -in-law was a star!

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

I've never been much of a Beatles fan, but it was pretty exciting to be staying in the area while Paul McCartney put on a free concert as part of his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel.   I was able to snap a few shots when I discovered myself in the mall during the sound check.  Later that evening the place was mobbed with people and there were a few lucky folks who were able to see the band from some of the balconies. I couldn't see much from where I stood, but I could hear the concert very well and I figured in this case hearing was more important than seeing. 

The building with John Ritter painted on it is Hollywood High School

The Magic Castle - apparently you have to be a magician to stay here.

 Lanewood Avenue one block south - feeling homesick for Ponderosa Pines.

The Grill in the Hollywood Highland Centre was where we had our farewell meal.  These slow roasted back ribs were fall off the bone tender. They came with a delicious and giant serving of garlic spinach mashed potatoes. Nicole had a generous portion of crab cakes with key lime pie for dessert.  It was a fabulous meal with a very entertaining waiter.  Though it was pricey, it was worth every penny that I liberated from my piggy bank when I returned to Kelowna.


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