Hollywood

Hollywood isn't just a place in Los Angeles...

We’re heading to Hollywood! Hollywood, Florida, that is. Because if you can’t find what you’re looking for at the Westin Diplomat megaresort, we’re not sure it exists. Sure, the hotel may lack the personality and charm of its smaller competitors, but it more than makes up for it with extensive features. Highlights include an 18-hole golf course, two huge outdoor pools with cabanas, a full-service spa (currently off-site, but an on-site spa will open this spring), six distinct restaurants, and direct access to a lovely stretch of public beach. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

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Printed patterns spice up the vintage-styled rooms.

With accents like Persian rugs and paisley wall paper, the Redbury at Hollywood and Vine — designed by photographer Matthew Rolston — is dark, hip, and eclectic, with 57 apartment-style rooms. Homey, retro touches — like a record player and vinyl records in each room — add to the eclectic feel, and make the hotel feel welcoming. The hotel is both chic and functional; for example, rooms are very large, each has a private patio or balcony, and each has a kitchen area with a stovetop range and a pretty wood-block island with seating. Guests can cook in their in-room kitchen, or enjoy either the Mediterranean restaurant, Cleo, downstairs, or Katsuya sushi half-a-block away (both menus can be ordered through “in-flat” dining). The location is ideal for seeing the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Though the neighborhood is continuing to evolve (some may still consider it up-and-coming), the Redbury has nonetheless become a hot spot among visitors and locals. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now »

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Are you on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this year? We’ve seen a lot of good and bad behaviors during our travels over the last year — and maybe dabbled in both as well! So we know every dirty little secret, or shiny gold star, that you’ve been part-and-parcel to on vacation. But if you’re not sure where you stand in Santa’s twinkling eyes, we’re here to help. You can find out whether your favorite hotel amenities will get your stockings stuffed full of goodies or weighed down by coal this holiday season with our quiz. So check out which list you’re on!

The Naughty List: 

1. Have you stripped down?

Clothing optional resorts like the Desire Riviera Maya can see some X-rated action.

For some travelers, itsy bitsy bikinis or revealing Speedos just don’t cut it — a vacation isn’t a vacation without a little nudity. Luckily for them, some hotels are redefining casual dress with policies that let guests bare it all (or almost all), like the couples-only, clothing-optional Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya. A little voyeurism never hurt anyone — but don’t be surprised if your nude antics land you on the naughty list this winter.

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We’ve been counting down the seconds to the 84th Academy Awards since the nominees were announced last month. And now that the big day is less than a week away, we’re beside ourselves with excitement. We can list off all the nominees — and even make a few well-educated predictions. But if you haven’t been as attentive to the details, no worries — we’ll give you the low-down. Not only will we tell you some of our favorite nominees, but more importantly, we’ll show you how to live like the characters or real-life actors in these Oscar-nominated films. Who wouldn’t want to live like George Clooney, right? Unless, of course, it’s George Clooney in The Descendants, with a wife in a coma and an unruly teenage daughter. Silver lining? He lived in Hawaii, so things must not have been all bad…

THE FILM: The Descendants

THE NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Directing (Alexander Payne), Best Film Editing

Dolphin Quest at The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

Dolphin Quest at The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

THE HOTEL: The Kahala Hotel and Resort; Oahu, HI

The heart-warming and heart-wrenching film tells the story of Matt King, a successful Honolulu-based lawyer dealing with difficult family truths after his wife has fallen into a coma. So while you may not want to trade places with his character, the real-life Clooney leads an envy-worthy, glam life — he and the rest of the crew stayed at the luxurious Kahala Resort during filming. A celebrity retreat since 1964, the Kahala is one of the only quiet luxury options on Oahu, and offers amenities such as the renowned Dolphin Quest, a quiet, beautiful beach, and large rooms with enormous bathrooms.

Check out more Hollywood-approved hotels after the jump!

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Hangin’ ’round the mistletoe may have been a fine pastime in holiday seasons of yore, but these days, a dark bar with dark corners or a trendy nightspot makes a much more exciting locale for a stolen kiss. Celebrities have been spotted canoodling at hot hotel establishments all over the country, so those looking for a hip, modern locale to engage in a little good old-fashioned necking, take note.

Cameron and Diddy were spotted making out at the trendy PH-D nightclub this December. PHOTO by: Erik Jordan/startraksphoto.com (left). PHOTO by: KYLE ROVER/startraksphoto.com (right).

Cameron and Diddy were spotted making out at the trendy PH-D nightclub this December. PHOTO by: Erik Jordan/startraksphoto.com (left). PHOTO by: KYLE ROVER/startraksphoto.com (right).

PH-D at the Dream Downtown, New York City

Cameron Diaz and Diddy were spotted making out this December at Dream Downtown’s rooftop lounge PH-D. It’s not the first time these two have been spotted locking lips, but it’s the first time they’ve been spotted here. The amazing city views and rockin’ sound system must have helped set the mood. Read More »

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Miceli's Restaurant in Hollywood is considered L.A.'s oldest Italian restaurant

The Golden Age of Hollywood is alive and well in some of the old school restaurants of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the most famous (some made infamous by I Love Lucy) are no longer around — restaurants like The Brown Derby, Chasen’s, The Villa Capri, and Cyrano’s closed long ago. However, a few still survive.

Miceli’s (1646 N. Las Palmas Avenue): Miceli’s opened in 1949 and is considered L.A.’s oldest Italian restaurant. Rumor has it that The Beatles ate here before their concert at The Hollywood Bowl. Always a fun night out, here you can hear singing waitresses, live jazz, and dine on the same spaghetti and meatballs J.F.K. once ate. Read More »

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Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, California

Runyon Canyon in Hollywood, California

The mountains surrounding Los Angeles are beautiful. One great way to spend a couple hours is to hike the hills, take in some nature, get a good workout, and see some spectacular views. Bring a picnic, and you can have a bite on the picnic tables or benches at the top. Each hiking area offers you a choice of easier or more difficult trails, so you can bring the family too.

Temescal Gateway Park, in Pacific Palisades, is very popular. It’s an easy to moderate hike, totaling 2.8 miles, and takes about an hour and a half. Or, you can choose the short route and hike just a mile and a half. Either way, you’ll see waterfalls (in the spring), smell anis all around, and see the ocean. This is an extremely child-friendly hike and you’ll also see lots of dogs (on leashes). It’s very close to all the Santa Monica Hotels. Read More »

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Live performance at the Viper Room in Los Angeles, CA

A live performance at The Viper Room in Los Angeles, CA

The Sunset Strip in Los Angeles is famous for its live music and long club lines, all within steps of each other. The Whiskey and The Roxy are just one block apart, and The Viper Room is practically across the street. Add a drink or dinner at The Rainbow and you can have a rock and roll night.

Whiskey a Go Go (8901 West Sunset Boulevard): The Whiskey a Go Go was founded in 1964, and is famous for launching The Doors, its house band at the time. Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin played here, many British bands who headlined in L.A. for the first time started here, and the club was important during the punk movement, with The Ramones playing often. In the eighties, The Whiskey gave birth to the band Guns and Roses. When the Grunge scene took hold, Nirvana and Soundgarden were both regular headliners. Read More »

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Fried chicken at Musha in Santa Monica, CA

Fried chicken at Musha in Santa Monica, CA

[Flickr/CurryPuffy]

You don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well in Los Angeles. This is a city where you can eat some of the best food in the country, at about $10/person – and that’s for dinner! For those of you on a budget, don’t feel that you have to be stuck eating at diners and fast food joints; explore some of these ethnic cuisines and treat yourself to an experience that you’ll be talking about for years.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA

Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA

[Flickr/Dave Rytell]

Celebrity spotting in Hollywood is never predictable – while you probably will see a celebrity (or two) at some point during your vacation, there are no sure-fire locales that can always be counted on to deliver up our precious celebs. Well…except for the cemeteries, that is.

Los Angeles happens to be the resting place for hundreds of our favorite icons, so why not stop by and pay your respects? Just think of all the names you can add to your celebrity-spotting repertoire: Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Clark Gable, just to name a few. Here are four historic cemeteries to spot Hollywood dignitaries of years past:

Hollywood Forever -  Founded in 1899, this cemetery is over 100 years old and listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. If you’re here in the summer, be sure to go for one of their movie nights! A short ride from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, you get to picnic in the park (yes, on top of the graves) and they screen a movie from Hollywood’s Golden Era, most likely starring one of their tenants like Clifton Webb or Peter Lorre. Also home to Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks. 6000 Santa Monica Blvd

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