By Abby Samler
For those of us stuck in a deep freeze, it’s hard not to long for palm trees, neon lights and driving with the top down. Love it or hate it, Los Angeles has all that and more, plus the very high probability of running into a celebrity – or five – even if you aren’t invited to the red carpet. Your winter blues couldn’t have come at a better time: February is ripe for people-watching opportunities at Los Angeles hotels. We focus on the two marquis events in Hollywood this month, and where to stay, say, if you’re hoping to bump into Leonardo DiCaprio.
NBA All-Star Game
The deets: In a town teeming with stars, there’s one group of A-listers whose day jobs are coveted even by Hollywood royalty: the NBA’s elite players. Starting with a Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 18., the NBA All-Star Game explodes with hoop hoopla all weekend long. Thousands of fans watch in awe as big-timers like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce test their three-point shooting skills and alley-oop wizards such as JaVale McGee and Blake Griffin face off in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Of course, the main event is Sunday, Feb. 20, when the East Coast/West Coast rivalry heats up on the court. Keep an eye out for celeb fans Will Ferrell and Jack Nicholson – even if your seat is happens to be at EPSN Zone in the new LA Live Complex, a great TV-stacked alternative if you couldn’t get a ticket.
Where to stay: Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens
This downtown gem is a postcard of serenity in downtown L.A. With a rooftop garden, waterfall and free shuttle to local destinations, the hotel keeps guests close to the action, but removed when they want to be.
The 83rd Annual Academy Awards
The deets: Unless you’re up for an Oscar, you can pretty much forget attending this illustrious event (although the Academy does accept applications for “seat-fillers”) on Feb. 27 at the famous Kodak Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, but you might try hotel hopping for a glimpse of Natalie Portman in Dior. (Or will it be a repeat of Viktor & Rolf?) Then spend the rest of your Los Angeles vacation taking a driving tour of celebrity homes or strolling down the Boulevard of Stars.
Where to stay: The Standard, Downtown LA
Guests at this post-modern beauty relish in DJ-spun sets and downtown views from a rooftop bar. Sip an André Balazs reserve rosé. Hole up in a waterbed pod. This is the L.A. life.
Abby Samler is a Senior Market Manager for Los Angeles with Orbitz Worldwide. She enjoys traveling almost anywhere with her family, especially in her own backyard of L.A.