A few weeks ago, my best friend Andrea and I went to a fabulous retreat in Southern California. This was our third retreat with this group, and we had always flown in the day before it started and flown out right after. That made sense, but with the retreat running for 3 days, 8-5 each day we rarely left the hotel. Spending time in Southern California sounds wonderful, but we might as well have been in Fargo. We didn’t even go to the beach, and I LOVE the beach!!
This time, we got smart. We flew in a couple of days early so we could have some fun. Although the event was held in Irvine, we decided to fly into LAX.
We are both fans of the “Real Housewives” franchises on Bravo created by Andy Cohen, and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is our favorite. So it we wanted to stay a night in Beverly Hills and check out some of the businesses they owned.
Side note: Andy Cohen is a genius. I would (and do) watch any show he creates. There should be some sort of rehab for Bravo junkies. Actually, they should have a rehab and make a reality show out of it (run by Andy Cohen, natch). I would watch the hell out of that!!
Okay, back to the trip! I picked out our hotel, and asked a trusted friend in California for recommendations. She recommended the Beverly Hilton. Apparently it’s where they hold the Golden Globes. I checked it out online, and liked what I saw. I’m a Hilton Hhonors member, so although I had envisioned more of a boutique hotel in BH, I booked it.
Andrea rented our car, a BMW convertible. We were all in!! When in Rome, right??
The Beverly Hilton is BEYOND glamorous. Clearly a luxury property, everything has been thought of. We were greeted warmly, and although it was a bit of a trek to our room (it’s a HUGE hotel), it was worth it! Our room was large and beautiful. Two Queen beds, a fully appointed bathroom with a tub/shower combo, and a lovely view.
We had a busy itinerary planned, so we put our bags in the room, changed out of our travel clothes and headed out.
My friend had recommended a drink in the hotel bar, so that was our first stop. It did not disappoint! We had drinks out by the pool. The menu had fantastic small plate options for a quick snack. Best of all, there were all sorts of specialty cocktails.
The pool at the Beverly Hilton is gorgeous! The service was superb, and we realized that we had seen the hotel in several movies and tv shows. Looking up at the white balconies, I knew I’d seen them before.
After a couple of cocktails. It was time to go to the first stop on our “must visit” list. We had reservations for SUR restaurant. Owned by the ever-glamorous Lisa Vanderpump. The restaurant is featured on the Real Housewives, and on another Cohen creation: Vanderpump Rules.
We took an Uber to the restaurant. Remember how I said we had reservations? Yeah…I used OpenTable to make the reservation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention when I did it, and I got us reservations at a restaurant named SUR in….Mexico. Not my finest moment.
Although that lack of attention to detail caused some confusion when we arrived, the hostess was delightful and found us a table even though the place was packed.
The atmosphere at SUR is amazing. At night, it’s kind of dark, but that goes well with the vibe. It’s a very sexy theme. Everyone seemed to be in a fantastic mood, and we ended up chatting with the people at the two tables next to us. It was a great vibe.
If you’ve seen Vanderpump Rules, you know that the waitstaff is impossibly good looking. Don’t expect to run into the whole cast though. Rumor has it that the only time they are all there is when the show is actually filming. Our waitress told us she was new, so we expected some hiccups, but she was very good!
We ordered some Champagne and appetizers. Everything was absolutely delicious!! In keeping with what was apparently my theme that night, I managed to knock over a wine glass. Fantastic. I was embarrassed, but Andrea was thrilled because the person who came out to clean up my broken glass was Max, Lisa Vanderpump’s son. Cast member sighting…check!
After dinner we went into the bar for some more drinks, and dancing. they have a really cool video jukebox, where you can take photos and videos and have them emailed to you. I danced like no one was watching, and OF COURSE, we took some selfies!
Did I mention that we are TERRIBLE at taking selfies?? Try as we might, we are never both looking the same way, and we are almost never looking at the camera.
We closed the place down, not bad for a couple of moms!!
The next day was just as much fun! Lots of water in the AM (to make up for all of the Champagne the night before) and we headed to the other restaurant owned by Lisa Vanderpump, the absolutely gorgeous Villa Blanca.
I took a LOT of photos at Villa Blanca. As dark and sexy as Sur is, Villa Blanca is light and airy. We had the first reservation of the day (and it was actually for the right restaurant…Score!!) so we got to pick our table. The restaurant has a lovely indoor space, and an outdoor seating area as well. We chose an indoor/outdoor table that was just perfect for us, Andrea prefers to be outside, I prefer to be inside!
The first order of business was to order some wine (hair of the dog). We settled in for some wonderful food and people watching.
I absolutely LOVE risotto, and Villa Blanca has an asparagus and spring pea risotto that is absolutely magnificent!! I highly recommend it, I could seriously eat it every day! Andrea got the pommes Frites, which were equally delicious.
I had the chicken for lunch, again, I recommend it! From what we could tell, everything they serve at SUR and Villa Blanca is magnificent. Definitely worth a trip!
I can’t overstate how beautiful the restaurant is! Here are some shots I took of the interior:
Dessert was in order, I ordered the berries with fresh whipped cream. delicious, and beautifully presented. I don’t think I have ever had fresh whipped cream before. There really is no comparison!! It was sooooo good!
Following our luxurious lunch, we had just one more stop left on our “Real Houswives Tour” of Beverly Hills. The boutique owned by Kyle Richards, “Kyle” is just down the block from Villa Blanca. Again, in style befitting the Houswives, the boutique is beautiful! They were showcasing some amazing Wonder Woman themed items while we were there. I was Wonder Woman for Halloween when I was nine years old, so I was digging it! They even had some costumes and props from the movie on display.
I have to say, I was expecting the shop to be the kind of place where you have to drop $750 for a dress. You certainly can do that if you are so inclined,, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a wide variety of items and price ranges. I picked up a couple of pairs of earrings (they had them in Diamonds, and CZ) and a great beach towel.
It was time to check out of the hotel and head to the conference. while Andrea got our convertible, I took a few pictures of the hotel. Truly Hollywood Glam!
Time to go to Irvine for the retreat! One last picture from the convertible, and we said goodbye to Beverly Hills!
If you’re considering a trip to Beverly Hills, I HIGHLY recommend it! Andrea and I had a fabulous time. We were sorry we had to leave!!