The Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel is a luxurious downtown hotel that opened in 1923. At the time, it was the largest hotel west of Chicago. The architecture is a mix of Renaissance Revival, Mediterranean Revival and Beaux Arts. Its interiors are jaw dropping with hand painted murals, marble columns, chandeliers, 24 karat gold accents, wooden carvings and tapestries. The ceilings were done by famed Italian artist Giovanni Smeraldi whose work can also be seen at the Vatican and White House. Opulence at its finest can be discovered in this glorious hotel.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España is located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Founded in 1797, 'Mission of the Valley' was the 17th of the 21 Missions in California. Just before the famed Gold Rush of California, a brother of the mission discovered the first gold in nearby Placerita Canyon. Those who enter the Mission may feel the resemblance as it has been used in several films. Bob Hope is also interred here making it a famous Hollywood Mission.
Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles was in existence between 1912 and 1966. When it opened, there were only 15 animals. The zoo grew as many movie star animals retired here. Today, it is a popular hiking and picnic spot among ruins. Many of the enclosures were built during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. It greatly captures the progress and improvement in zoos today. The cages are tiny and claustrophobic and allow the visitor to feel what it would have felt like to be an animal here. Although grotesque, this is an essential and fascinating experience.
Mount Wilson is a grand peak in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument & Angeles National Forest. The summit is just over a mile high at 5,710 feet. From the Angeles Crest Highway, Mount Wilson Red Box Road beautifully winds up the range. Visit on a rainy day and soar above the bursting clouds. Snow is even common in the winter. This wonderland is unbelievably right above Los Angeles yet you will feel you've entered another land.
The RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner docked in the Port of Long Beach. It sailed the Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. Luxury & Opulence is the key to this Art Deco Dream. Queen Mary was the last great ocean liner built during the golden age of world travel. Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Gloria Swanson & Fred Astaire among many other silver screen stars called this sailing palace home while on voyage to Europe.
During WWII, it was nicknamed the 'Grey Ghost' and transported 765,429 Military Personnel. It became the worlds largest and fastest troopship. Winston Churchill even considered it his headquarters at sea. In 1947, passenger service resumed. Modern amenities such as air conditioning were added but this would not prove to be enough as jet planes began to change the industry.
Queen Mary opened as a tourist attraction in 1971 and continues to delight today with a hotel, museum and restaurants. The ship in full can be explored at your leisure. It is even on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Historic Hotels of America. One visit to Queen Mary will have you longing for more. Are you ready to set sail?