Luxe Rodeo Drive: The Perfect Sleepover Staycation


Earlier this summer friends and I had an amazing dinner at the Luxe on Rodeo Drive. I’d mentioned that it’s the perfect place for a staycation so we pulled out our calendars and they gave me a pair of rooms Monday Night. The most difficult part of a staycation with The Luxe Rodeo was figuring out my kids’ schedules.

I love a good hotel and Jane and her friends love a hotel sleepover. There’s something totally irresistible about crisp white linens, sumptuous beds, blackout curtains and room service. I am also unabashedly high maintenance and when I see that a hotel has a four diamond rating from AAA I know that there’s a good chance I’ll be pleased with the service (and I was).

We checked in to the Luxe Monday afternoon and the girls needed to get themselves ready. They were going to have dinner at On Rodeo, which has the trifecta of fun, delicious and fabulous for people watching. I met a girlfriend for dinner around the corner because the girls wanted to have a sophisticated dinner and I was not invited (I was, however, allowed to pick up the tab – yay me?).

happy kids luxe beverly hills

While they got ready I wandered outside and hit up Fendi, Gucci and Prada. It’s not that I wanted to go shopping it’s that they were clearly in view from my window and it wouldn’t have been a good hotel write up if I didn’t visit the neighbors, right? Also, I’m searching for the perfect cross body bag for every day and I’m pretty sure I found it but somehow that feels like a bigger commitment than buying a house. I know, I’m weird.

After a little shopping my Mom and Stefanie showed up to the hotel. We were taking a look at the rooftop because I have a big birthday to celebrate with Mr. G this year and Jane has a Sweet Sixteen in the Fall. We all agreed that it’s a spectacular place for a party. The views are magnificent, it’s private and we already know that Luxe provides excellent service because we’ve spent a zillion hours nibbling with them.

I didn’t take a good picture of the view from the rooftop so I’ll have to go back and get one.

luxe rodeo rooftop

Stefanie and I walked around the corner to the South Beverly Grill where the drinks are good enough that you don’t notice the prices on the menu. We had a fabulous time chatting and catching up and planning our next adventures. She’s headed to Vietnam and we’re headed to Polynesia. As we wandered back to the hotel for some coffee and dessert we found the girls playing around on the steps over at One Rodeo.

If you stay at the Luxe you’re basically trapped in a zone that you’ve seen every inch of on TV and in the movies. It’s a playground for the rich and since there’s no entry fee you can sort of hang around the playground and watch and enjoy.  The girls ran back up to Sprinkles and had ice cream with cupcake tops.

There is a hotel on Rodeo Drive not more than one, just one. It’s a street that is known everywhere you go. Just say “Rodeo Drive” and folks know what you’re talking about.

If you’re looking for a central location this will suit you. It’s just a few minutes to the beaches or downtown, Westwood is nearby if you want to visit someone at UCLA or if you’re like me and you just don’t want to be home for a night it’s unbeatable. Right now I’m seeing rates around $360 with AAA, if you have dinner for four up the street at Crustacean you’ll be spending that before the tip.

If you’re looking for a resort the Luxe isn’t for you. The rooms are updated and clean but they don’t have spa bathrooms or a pool. There’s a fantastic outdoor area that’s more serene than scene. If you’re looking for a resort type hotel I would not recommend anything in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is urban and you’re there for the shopping and the touristy stuff. If you’re looking for a resort head to Santa Monica or hide out in Bel Air. You can always grab a salad and spend an hour or two at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s pool but it’s small and tired.

If you’re looking for the charm of a European Hotel without the cramped quarters and snootiness then the Luxe is the right place for you. There are less than 90 rooms, well appointed and they’re ready for international travelers. When I went under the desk to plug in my two phones, ipad and computer I saw this. It’s really quite handy when you don’t have a multitude of converters.

luxe beverly hills international travel

I’m excited to plan a party with Luxe. The kids’ school has had their galas at the Brentwood location and everyone was tickled with the space and the service there. The rooftop in Beverly Hills has an air of exclusivity and I like feeling like I’m on vacation 4 miles from my house.

Travel Tips:

  • It’s a boutique hotel on a street that goes to sleep by 10pm don’t worry about requesting a high floor, they’ll all be mostly quiet
  • Weekdays are low key, my room was next to an elevator and was completely quiet
  • The second floor has a patio between the buildings. If you’re a smoker or need a place for a toddler to run around without traffic this is a good floor for you
  • Try the bread pudding, it’s happiness on a plate
  • Enjoy breakfast at On Rodeo – people watch and relax


Arizona Travel: Westin Kierland and the FlowRider (Surfing in the Desert)


Today I have a guest post from Kate Eschbach. The day after my family returned from a trip to Arizona I was invited to visit the Westin Kierland and experience the FlowRider… the timing couldn’t have been worse for my family but luckily for Kate’s family they were right nearby. I’ll be writing about the Westin again, my kids are going to have to experience surfing in the desert too. 


We arrived Friday afternoon at the Westin Kierland and we were introduced to the FlowRider and Steve Richardson, the “Wave Master”.

The FlowRider is a water boarding simulator. It combines surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding into one amazing ride. Riders will be able to feel the power and force a wave. The Westin Kierland is able to accommodate anywhere from 300-500 riders per hour – so you do not have to wait too long to enjoy your 15 seconds of fame – or more if you can stay on that long.

It is designed with a trampoline like surface, making the inevitable wipe out much less likely to end in injury. They stress that riders of any age are welcome! You must be 42″ tall to body-board and 52″ tall to flow-board.

My nine year old son and twelve year old daughter were not sure that if they were going to brave the cold snap we were having here in Arizona, but as soon as they turned on the FlowRider and Steve was showing them tricks, the kids were heading over trying to figure out what size wet suit they should put on! The idea of learning to surf in the desert was just too tempting.

Since you are either riding the FlowRider or waiting your turn to ride, there is a very nice seating area and restaurant for parents and others to sit and relax if they choose to just cheer everyone on.

As the kids nervously walked up the side, I hoped that they would really enjoy this and just go for it!

And they did! Nate was the first to go and from the minute Steve helped him on the board, he was all smiles!

I was still breathing a huge sigh of relief that no one had asked me to put on a wet suit.

Steve was at the top of the FlowRider, helping them get on and giving them pointers and another adult was at the bottom. I felt absolutely at ease watching them head up to the top to ride again with huge smiles on their face! By the end, all the kids knew each other’s names and were cheering for each other.

That night the kids just couldn’t stop talking about how much fun they had! They called Grandpa just to tell him all about it. (Grandpa grew up in Corpus Christi, so surfing is second only to walking.)

The kids are already begging me to go back again. The FlowRider is the perfect addition to their Adventure Water Park which already includes a 900 foot lazy river and 110 foot water slide. This summer, the Westin Kierland will be holding a week long camp, and I can’t wait to research that!

Plus, I would love another excuse to stay at the Westin Kierland. At sunset, a Bagpiper plays as he walks the hills of the golf course. Mom and I were able to make it to the fire-pit Friday evening just in time to hear it.

“Like” Kierland FlowRider on Facebook or visit for the latest news and events, and Wave Master Steve’s personal blog.

You’ll have to try it someday. The view is stunning and the service is outstanding. All evening, they made my family feel like rock-stars.

FlowRider no water


This is the FlowRider without any water. Remember you’re in the middle of the desert.

Kate Eschbach Photography FlowRider


Here are Kate’s kids trying out the FlowRider. These aren’t kids who have ever surfed or been on a boogie board.

Kate Eschbach Photography first time on FlowRider

First time boogie board on Flowrider

It looks like someone’s getting the hang of it.

Elena Shaka

Beecker Carve



fun on the flow rider

Steve Richardson Wave Master


Max Sing

desert surfing
It looks a tiny bit different when the pros give it a go.

And every evening at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa pays homage to the contributions made by the Scottish Immigrants who developed Arizona’s railroads, mines and towns. Here you’ll see bagpipers at sunset.

Kate Eschbach Photography bagpipers


On a personal note, Scottsdale is a fabulous vacation spot with amazing shopping and The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is right next to the best of it.


Chaperoning is for Suckers


This morning I was up at 6 so that Jane and I could get to the local high school by 7.30. Buses pulled out at 8 and we arrived in Blythe midday and then Phoenix, Arizona mid afternoon. Blythe was predicably disgusting with men sitting on milk crates rolling joints and drinking from brown paper bags while we decided which fast food restaurant we’d poison ourselves at.

We arrived at the hotel in the hottest part of the day, 119 degrees to be exact. We had four busloads of volleyball girls disembarking and not a bellman in sight. The hotel rooms are filthy and sitting her on the bed I feel like I’m on a clean island and I’m afraid to step on the floor barefoot since I’ve moved chairs and found potato chips and dirty tissues under them. I’ve scrubbed and dusted and thrown out no smoking signs, clearly they are meaningless as the room smells like a cigarette.

I’ve been to WalMart and I cannot believe the prices or the sadness that permeates that store. It’s the size of of a city and filled to the brim with things that we shouldn’t want and definitely don’t need.

I’m driving a Chevy 15 passenger van and although it’s a 2012 model it has over 20,000 miles on it. I hope that the air conditioning holds out on us and I really hope that I’m able to not crash into people.

The girls are a delight. They are sweet and enthusiastic, they are polite and lovable. Granted, this is day one.

Mr. G has called to find out where the dog leash is, when we’re coming home, if Alexander’s friend Steve wants to sleep over and he wants to know if the housekeeper is coming. I’m not a great communicator with him. These things probably should have been in a note, but we have text messages and I like hearing his voice when he calls.

Should I survive this trip there will be wonderful tales to tell.