Few cities prompt more preconceptions than the City of Angels, for which the city can really only blame itself, given the sheer number of times Los Angeles stars in the movies made by Hollywood, the city's primary industry.

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Our guide to holidays in Los Angeles

Many of the preconceptions are on the money - the sun really does shine pretty much every day; nobody walks anywhere, and this is one of the most polarised cities on the planet, with extreme wealth and poverty in close proximity; but just as many are wide of the mark. LA is not a cultural vacuum - witness the booming contemporary art scene; LA is not a concrete jungle - take a hike in vast Griffith Park or swim off Venice Beach to dispel that one; nor is it just a fame flame to which wannabe moths are inevitably drawn, only to get burnt - the creative scene and the talented types busy fuelling it really do produce a stimulating atmosphere of positivity and possibility that soon rubs off.

So, how to navigate these possibilities in this huge, sprawling city of cities, encircled by the Pacific, mountains and desert? Our advice - choose the LA for you, and stick to it. Beach bums should decamp to Santa Monica and South Bay for some of the best city beaches and surfing anywhere in the world, with excellent hotels and restaurants in close attendance. Movie-goers will find themselves gravitating to the Hollywood Hills and the iconic studios that churn out the blockbusters. Meanwhile, art-lovers should head to edgier Inglewood for contemporary art collectives and street art. Get LA right, and it's one of the greats, and you will leave with your conceptions truly altered.

Time Difference

GMT -8 hrs

Top picks for Los Angeles

SLS Beverly Hills, luxury hotel in Los Angeles

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills

Los Angeles

SLS Beverly Hills is a totally sleek boutique hotel in the enviable location of Rodeo drive and Beverly Hills’ celebrity hotspots.

Where to stay

Poolside at Resort at Pelican Hill, luxury hotel in Los Angeles

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Los Angeles

The Resort at Pelican Hill is a place where guests can get a feel for the Med – well, in California. By this we mean the design is that of a Venetian countryside estate, with grounds that are filled with olive, fig and pine trees and rows of lavender, wonderfully located along the Orange County coastline.

Where to stay

Poolside at Beverly Hills Hotel, luxury hotel in  Los Angeles

Beverly Hills Hotel

Los Angeles

Known as ‘The Pink Palace’, the Beverly Hills Hotel opened in 1912 when there was not even a city called Beverly Hills yet, hosting the world’s elite with its excellent service ever since. The hotel is located on glamorous Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills, surrounded by acres of lush tropical gardens.

Where to stay



Los Angeles

The Mediterranean-Moorish architecture of PaliHouse dates back to 1927, when sleepy Santa Monica sat at the end of the Los Angeles rail road. Today, it houses a trendy boutique hotel two blocks back from the beach, amid swaying Californian palms.

Where to stay

The pool area at Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire, luxury hotel in Los Angeles

Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire

Los Angeles

In the heart of Beverly Hills, just a few expensively shod footsteps from renowned Rodeo Drive shops, the recently renovated Beverly Wilshire blends tradition with trend.

Where to stay

Shutters on the Beach, luxury hotel in Los Angeles

Shutters on the Beach

Los Angeles

Shutters on The Beach is simply the ultimate incarnation of the Californian experience. The hotel evokes a sense of comfortable elegance that one might find in a grand, yet unpretentious, beach home, all with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and California coastline.

Where to stay

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