Los Angeles is spread over more than a hundred square miles, but there are no more than 10 in which it is really worth spending any time.
It's difficult to differentiate between Monday and Saturday on the streets of L.A., as the beautifully unemployed and decadently wealthy occupy Starbucks and local gyms throughout the day and spend their weeknights out on the town. If you can't see the hills or the beach, you're probably lost -- or just not in the right part.
Here's where you should be, right now in Hollywood:
Sexy Sleeping Arrangements
The best hotels are located in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. West Hollywood offers a nightlife Mecca, and its hip shopping scenes, like
, are popular with Hollywood's starlet set. Beverly Hills is more upscale, but also older, with tourist havens like the stores on
and Wilshire Boulevard. Santa Monica is a newer groove, with historic 1920s hotel palaces and a burgeoning artist community.
Chateau Marmont's (West Hollywood) Gothic-inspired French chateau overlooking the Sunset Strip offers prime celebrity sleeping chambers and a bungalow pool area popular with Jonathon Reece-Myers, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sienna Miller. On weekends, a room key or famous face is the only assured entry to the lounge and garden restaurant.
Sunset Tower Hotel (West Hollwood) is hotelier Jeff Klein's (of New York's City Club) impeccable recreation of the historic St. James Club. The rosewood-paneled lobby features the uppity Tower Bar Restaurant where you'll often see Jennifer Aniston slinking out the back.
Regent Beverly Wilshire (Beverly Hills) was famous even before the movie
, but with hot new restaurants like Boulevard and CUT in the lobby, it is hotter than ever. Famous faces that can be seen here include Tom Cruise, Victoria 'Posh' Beckham and Jennifer Lopez. Ask for a room in the original building for period bathrooms and classic Hollywood architecture.
Viceroy Hotel (Santa Monica), designed by Kelly Wearstler, is one of Santa Monica's most stylish properties, located between the Santa Monica Pier and hip Main Street. Glamorous guest rooms have head-on ocean views and Rita Hayworth sex appeal. The quirky-chic lobby and cabana pool area are weekend hotspots for local surfer professionals.
Malibu Beach Inn (Malibu) is Malibu's original budget boutique motel, recently acquired and remodeled by Malibu resident David Geffen. Although we expected more opulence for the billionaire's beach pad, the marble baths and head-on ocean views make up for the Z Gallery-minded décor and poorly conceived guest suites.
Hot Hollywood Nights
It's one of the toughest nightlife scenes in the world, secured by professional bouncers that pride themselves on knowing a crowd. If you're staying at the Chateau, the in-house concierge can assist with local guest lists - otherwise, you're wise to call for bottle service in advance or come with at least $100 for greasing. For others, the lines can be endless, especially if your wardrobe includes a polo-crested dress shirt or shapeless denim skirt.
Winston's (West Hollywood): is currently the hottest bar in Hollywood, attracting Lindsay Lohan and Fergie types to hip-hop theme nights in a cozy deco-style lounge setting.
Les Deux Cafe (West Hollywood) can thank
"The Hills" for making it a name synonymous with Paris Hilton catfights. It's still incredibly popular, but a bit more lax at the door with mature celebrities like Bill Maher making the cut.
Teddy's (Hollywood), created by Amanda Scheer-Demme, marked the true return of hot celebrity nightlife. Closed for more than a year, the hotel lounge is back and bustling again with a kinder, gentler approach to all-night dancing.
Parc (Hollywood) occupies a boutique restaurant space that morphs into a hip lounge at midnight. An interior park-like setting offers petrified tree and stream of celebrities like Adam Brody, Justin Timberlake and Scarlett Johansson.
Green Door (Hollywood) is Hollywood's newest it-lounge, located within long-established nightlife space. Hoping to last longer than its last incarnations, faux antiques and tacky Venetian plastering is currently luring Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton and Ashley Olsen.
Food Is for Fat People
People in L.A. don't really like to eat, or at least be seen eating in public. Perhaps that's the best explanation for star-eateries never lasting longer than a daytime soap-opera plot. For those who do eat, a prime reservation is no later or earlier than 8 p.m. Attire is almost always casual, accessorizing a favorite pair of pricey denim with something lux like Balenciaga or Lanvin.
Katsuya (Brentwood and Hollywood) is the hippest sushi restaurant in town, owned by nightlife-entrepreneur Sam Nazarian and designed by Philip Starck. Longtime L.A. sushi chef Katsuya Uechi offers an adventurous raw and cooked menu with a Hollywood twist.
Il Sole (West Hollywood) is an insider's nest of Italian cuisine stalked by paparazzi and carb-craving actresses. Nicole Kidman vies for a better table than Courteney Cox, as Ricky Martin and Keanu Reeves attempt to hide from the tabloid star-seekers.
Osteria Mozza (Hollywood) is the hottest restaurant to hit the West Coast in years. It's a culinary match made in heaven, as pasta-papa Mario Batali teams up with the baroness of bread Nanci Silverton to create a symphony of Piedmont-inspired cuisine. If you can't get into the Osteria, try the more casual pizzeria next door -- it's open late night.
Comme Ca (West Hollywood) is the latest eatery from L.A. chef David Myers, who teams up with a former Boulud apprentice to create a surprisingly authentic French bistro menu in the middle of West Hollywood. Ask for a table along the front banquette.
Make Like a Local
While every travel book will tell you to hit up shopping hot spots like
The Grove and uber-chic
Fred Segal, we suggest taking a more local approach and enjoying the many activities touted by our local experts.
Trendy Culver City
Gallery District is the closest thing L.A. has to a Soho, located near the old MGM (now Sony) Studios. Walk along Culver Boulevard and enjoy casual local eateries like
Ford's Filling Station and
Fraiche before heading over to the hip
Mandrake for a shot of whisky.
Take a Hike
: It's L.A.'s hottest singles scene and one of the toughest hikes an inner thigh can encounter.
Runyon Canyon (Hollywood) stretches from Franklin to Mulholland Drive and is the city's second-largest, but also prettiest, urban park. With three paths to the top, L.A.'s hottest bodies flaunt their skills while getting one of the city's best outdoor workouts.
Shop Like a Star
: Robertson Boulevard (West Hollywood) is the trendiest shopping street in L.A., home to an array of hip local designers as well as starry lunch spot
(113 N Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood). The ever-expanding
Kitson chain recently added a
down the street from its original outlet, equipped with paparazzi curtains should a need for shopping privacy arise. If you're feeling all a bit too common, detour to nearby
(8825 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood), L.A.'s poshest department store -- where even Brad goes to buy gifts for Angelina.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.