Four hundred + miles south
Three days per destination
One little corgi
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA
It was hard to leave the quiet peacefulness of La Jolla the next morning but we packed up the golf clubs and headed back up north about 110+ miles to Universal City, which you may know better as the home of Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk! The entrance to the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City literally has a red carpet out front and we immediately felt the shift in vibe from laid-back quiet La Jolla to the vibrant underlying buzz of Hollywood.
Check in at the hotel was quick and smooth and we made our way to our corner room which had stunning views of the Universal Studios property. Before we could take it all in, there was a knock at the door and in came room service with the most adorable welcome gift basket for Chompers (and some very thoughtful refreshments for us as well)! We were beyond surprised and thankful for the warm hospitality, which has been evident at every single property we stayed at on our trip.
Every morning during our stay, we walked over to Universal Studios and CityWalk, which was a short easy 15 minute walk from the hotel. CityWalk is a mix of shopping, dining and nightlife entertainment with pedestrian-only simulated city streets located just outside of Universal Studios itself. It was quiet in the morning before the park opened and one morning we were able to snap a quick photo of Chompers in front of the famous Universal Hollywood globe. (Please note that only service dogs are allowed in the park and CityWalk area. We were granted limited access to take the photo below.) I couldn’t believe we could see the entire property from the view in our room, how often can you say you can spot Hogwarts and Hogsmeade (of Harry Potter fame) from your window?
Every morning, we meandered down to Café Sierra in the lobby for breakfast. The hotel’s buffet spread was extensive and we were extremely impressed. It included not only the usual breakfast items/stations but also Asian cuisine (porridge, made-to-order noodle soup and dimsum) and an absolutely donut bar! As part of Hilton’s California Road Trip program, participating hotels (including the Hilton Universal) offer complimentary breakfast (or premium WiFi) as well as discounts to popular local attractions. We were thankful to get to indulge in the extensive buffet.
In the late afternoon, the bar in the lobby (Atrium Lounge) comes to life. Located just off to the left of the lobby, it is pet-friendly and the bartender was wonderful and more than happy to make Chompers a drink (of water, of course!) There are Happy Hour (or Yappy Hour, if you will) specials on food and drinks from 4-6pm and it is a great location to sit, enjoy a drink and people watch.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA
After a final morning stroll to CityWalk, we packed up our bags and leisurely drove around various Southern California neighborhoods until we reached one of the most famous zip codes in the world – 90210. After a brief stop at the Spadena House to gawk at the intricately built “witch house”, we turned into the grand circular entrance of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. This hotel is opened in 2018 and is the Waldorf Astoria’s first foray into the West Coast market. Upon entering the lobby, the intoxicating smell of fresh flowers engulfs your senses and you immediately feel at ease.
We arrived at our room which was bright and airy, with thoughtfully appointed amenities and high tech gadgets (including Alexa) that controlled various functions of the room. A lot of people are unaware that the Waldorf Astoria is pet-friendly, but Chompers knew immediately as he rushed to the other end of the room, where there was a plush pet bed and ceramic bowls ready with fresh bottled water and personalized treats waiting for him. He took a nap while we unpacked and settled into our new surroundings.
Since this was the tail-end of our road trip, we decided to spend our stay enjoying the on-site hotel amenities, including the beautiful rooftop pool with 360 degree views of the Los Angeles skyline. The pool area was meticulously maintained and given that it is accessible only to hotel guests, was a great place to rotate between taking a dip in the pool, reclining in the Jacuzzi and lounging on the lounge chairs with a good book.
On the other side of the pool area is The Rooftop by JG, which is a rooftop bar and restaurant that also boasts the same incredible views of the city skyline. There were beautifully manicured flower beds that brightened up the walkways leading to the restaurant entrance and at night, it was a lively scene with guests enjoying food, cocktails and the city lights. We enjoyed a tasting menu dinner at Jean-Georges downstairs before making our way back up to the rooftop for after-dinner drinks.
Our stay at the Waldorf Astoria was nothing short of magical. We appreciated all the little details in the room, the beautiful pet amenities and the luxurious common areas, and were impressed by the level of service and discreet privacy given to all guests, including Chompers. It was the perfect way to end our road trip and we will surely bookmark it for a return visit in the future.
There are so many pet-friendly hotels in the Hilton family to choose from, and each destination offers its own charm. Whether you’re looking for the excitement of a bustling city or the quiet solitude of a meditative retreat, we hope our trip down the California coast has inspired you to plan your own unique #HiltonRoadtrip with your furry family member(s) and experience all that our beautiful state has to offer!