Love shopping? Like to travel in luxury? Then check out the questions I put to Karine Bulger about her new venture, LA Experience, which combines luxe touring with luscious shopping in Los Angeles, California…
Are all trips designed for Australian-based travellers, or can anyone join up for the trip?
No matter where you live the idea of a luxurious escape in Beverly Hills and living the VIP/Celebrity lifestyle appeals so we hope we will have many Americans and international travellers joining us.
We have built the itinerary to offer the best of the best – people pay our all-inclusive price and leave the details to the LA Experience team.
One of the key offerings of our product is our access – access to experiences people couldn’t organise on their own.
As an example, these include our farewell lunch on the coveted deck of The Ivy, personal stylist sessions with celebrity loved stylists, a private dinner poolside at the Sunset Tower Bar, access to watch artists such as PINK perform from the ultra-exclusive Hyde Lounge and a private cabana at LA’s SkyBar.
Our itineraries suit singles, groups of girlfriends, and couples. We are the perfect choice for that long needed “luscious” getaway or the big birthday celebration.
We kicked off in Australia earlier this year and we are finalising the details of our official US launch as we speak.
Ship your shopping items home
What is different for our international clients is that we offer a pre- and post-tour consultative service for online shopping.
Before people leave for LA, we set them up with a US mailing address so they can shop online and have everything waiting in their hotel room. This is especially important if people have a long list of things to buy for other people!
We encourage them to buy all of this prior, so once they arrive in LA they aren’t running around – they can focus on themselves.
Once people return they can upload all of their favourite products and sizes to their online profile so they will forever have this information on hand to facilitate re-ordering online easily.
We also record which retailers/brands are everyone’s favourites so we can send them special offers from these retailers.
As well as the items on the tour itinerary, can you reveal some of your other favourite places in LA?
Trying to keep the tour to 5 nights has been one of my biggest challenges! LA has so much to offer but only so much can fit in the itinerary.
The favourite stops for participants were The Ivy for our farewell lunch, Mastro’s for dinner (with its fabulous piano bar), SkyBar at the Mondrian, and the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel – quintessential Hollywood!
For shopping it was definitely the Camarillo Outlets followed by BCBG Maxazria and then The Grove.
My October tour this year includes seeing PINK in a fabulous suite at LA’s Staples Center. Hyde Lounge is the inner sanctum of sanctums at Staples Center where LA’s ultra-VIPs go to mix and mingle. I have no doubt seeing PINK from this lofty position will be the absolute highlight for my October tour.
And my new home away from home is the Montage Hotel. When I was building the business I was absolutely set on finding a hotel that could offer an experience that would leave people feeling like they had just experienced the best hotel of their life.
When I was doing my site inspection earlier this year, I stayed at eight hotels across eight nights and the Montage just had that “it” factor. They get it right across all levels. From the service to the spa to the mattress to the décor, I simply can’t fault them. Our group from the May tour were absolutely blown away.
Which neighbourhoods do you feel are the most luscious in LA, and why?
Beverly Hills! It is pure decadence on every level. The streets are amazing to wander around with beautiful store fronts. Some of the most famed fashion houses call Rodeo Drive home and they have spent millions on the designs of their stores.
Dior is a great example. They recently renovated their store and they engaged designer Peter Marino to oversee the 5000-square-foot renovation. Their VIP change room is superb!
We work with a great stylist for all of our clients that want to shop Rodeo Drive, Joe Katz.
Joe has the connections to organize access to the VIP change rooms for our clients so they can truly have the Pretty Women experience!
Top personal shopping spots, from small and chic, to large and discounted?
For corporate wear I love the Elie Tahari and Theory outlets at Camarillo. For those that need to be suited up each day, these two brands offer a fantastic range – the quality and cut of their suits is gorgeous. Their outlets stock current season and the prices are always great.
For shoes, bags and fashion I love Nordstrom and also Nordstrom Rack. The latter is essentially the outlet store for Nordstrom and you can get some fantastic bargains on great labels.
Whenever I have visited the Nordstrom Rack in LA they have had a great range of Vera Wang shoes, Hudson and J Brand Jeans, and Kate Spade bags. (amongst many other things) You need to hunt through the racks but this is definitely a store I never miss visiting.
Any examples of fab purchases you’d like to share?
One of the stylists we use at the Grove is a membership only clothing boutique called stylehaus. They showcase a lot of local LA designers and I have loved everything I have bought from them. One of my favourites is a fantastic edgy top by Clover Canyon.
Some other great bargains:
- Joe’s Jeans – their fit is amazing. And I especially love their skinny jeans for my two boys! They were recently on sale and I got them Joes Jeans from the Camarillo outlets for only $25 each
- I got some gorgeous coral shoes (one of my new favourite colours) from the Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th (outlet store). They are Ivanka Trump and I LOVE them.
- And I have to mention my Kate Spade handbag. They have the most amazing colours out this summer in the US. I could shop in this store for hours !
Are you able to recommend any films about LA which people should watch to get into the spirit of the trip?
Of course Pretty Women since we are just around the corner from the hotel she stayed and her famous Rodeo Drive scene.
There are so many TV shows that show LA in the best light – from Curb Your Enthusiasm to Entourage – which I absolutely loved! Although not for everyone, I loved the whole LA scene the boys lived in each episode.
Do you feel like name-dropping any celebs you’ve run into during your travels?
During our last tour Usher was staying at the Montage so we saw him almost every day. Kim Kardashian also turned up for Bible study so the paparazzi outside our hotel were crazy!
One of the restaurants we go to is the Sunset Tower Bar. On my January trip I had Julianne Moore on the table next to me, fresh from the SAGs in her gorgeous gown.
On that same trip I also saw Vince Vaughan and Jason Bateman. During our farewell lunch at The Ivy in May we had the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on the table next to us.
See our post about LA Experience founder, Karine Bulger, here, and learn more about the luscious tours via these channels:
- LA Experience website
- LA Experience on Facebook
- LA Experience on Twitter
- Video about the personal stylist shopping day
Upcoming tours with LA Experience, and some examples of luscious activities:
10 – 15 October 2013
- includes option of exclusive VIP Suite to enjoy PINK performing in LA
- Columbus Day Sales
28 November – 3 December 2013
- includes concurrent sports tour
- Thanksgiving Day sales
See how you could be enjoying the good life:
- Sunset Tower Hotel (Saturday Night Dinner)
- Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills Hotel (Sunday night supper/drinks)
- Montage Hotel
- Hyde Lounge at Staples Center (for the sporting events and music events such as Pink)
Price for an LA Experience:
From $4500 USD per person, twin share (excluding airfares) which includes:
– 5 nights at the Montage Hotel
– Daily Breakfast
– Welcome and farewell lunch
– Dinner each night including 2 x alcoholic drinks (5 nights)
– Stylist sessions with BCBG, Macy’s and Nordstrom
– Pamper afternoon (hair and make-up)
– Drivers each day to group activities
– Driver till late each night we are out on Sunset Blvd
– All tips and gratuities for housekeeping, porters, bellman
– Airport transfers
See some of our Facebook photo galleries here:
- California Dreaming
- Viceroy Hotel, Santa Monica
- Hotel Bel-Air
- Jennifer Aniston’s $42m Beverly Hills mansion
- A minimalist Beverly Hills house by designer James Magni
- The Staller House, designed by Richard Neutra
- Palm Springs: Out and about
- Palm Springs: Interior style
See our Luscious boards on Pinterest for more travel inspiration, including:
- Luscious travel
- Beach life
- Islamic-inspired style
- An Italian Life
- Viva La France!
And check out all the travel-related posts on these photo gallery index pages:
- Take a trip: Luscious travel-related images, such as hotels, luggage and destinations
- Africa and the Middle East