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Trying to squeeze in all the fun that surrounds us in So Cal is often a challenge. One that we happily accept. What I'm about to tell you is shocking and embarrassing, in a total 3rd world problem kinda way… I've never been to Universal Studios. Like, I grew up in Orange County, live in San Diego and have been to LA and specifically Hollywood maybe 100 times and I've never been to Universal Studios. Where is the justice in this world?
I was on the Universal backlot quite a few times when I did some acting in my teens so I just imagined Universal Studios was going to be a glorified stage/set and justified it in my mind that I wasn't missing anything. I was wrong. I was missing quite a lot.
Seeing as Universal Studios is a good two hours from our home in San Diego and that there was so much more we wanted to see and do in Hollywood, we decided to make a weekend out of it and take a quick vacation! Today I'm sharing with you the first part of our trip… I'll be back later with our day at Universal Studios.
We wanted a hotel that was close to Universal Studios and The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because really, you can't visit Hollywood and not see the stars? I also am particular not just about location but also about amenities and style of hotels. I want to make every moment we spend together as a family to be awesome.
I knew this was the place for us as soon as we arrived. The hotel is located on a very busy road. The parking lot is not that big and I was a bit worried that we would be parking miles up and walking back. I was thrilled to be welcomed by 2 very friendly Valet's. We were helped into the hotel immediately and our car was taken care of. I'd give the parking situation a 5 out of 5 stars.
The check-in desk is lovely. I never saw a line and everything was handled efficiently and with a smile on their face. This totally set the mood for the entire visit!
“The Hilton Garden Inn feels very much like a private boutique hotel with the benefits of a well-established name.”
We made our way up to our room quickly because we were excited to explore the surroundings. The room was very clean and the beds comfy. Those are the most important aspects for me. The rooms are also spacious and have all your needs covered. We ended up using both the refrigerator and the microwave, both things I didn't think I would need or use.
Bathrooms are good too!
The girls love to go swimming. We have our own pool at home but it's still a thrill to go to a hotel's pool. The pool is in a private location and situated behind the hotel. Don't you just love the mini Hollywood sign!
We went out and had fun on The Walk of Fame and the next morning be woke up bright and early to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Great American Grill. It was fabulous. I know that pictures speak louder than words, especially when food is involved so take a look at these…
We all had the breakfast bar buffet. It featured a cold bar of cereal and fruit along with an omelet bar and much more. The food was delicious. Can I just point out that only the child of a writer like myself would know to stand by the food for me to take a picture. Well played daughter, well played.
After all that delicious food I felt this was the right time to mention the gym. It is so important to my husband that the hotel we stay at has a decent gym for him to keep up with his workout schedule. They have a really good selection of machines and it is really clean.
The common area in the hotel is both stylish and functional. If you are traveling for business there is ample room for all your needs.
And then there was the time that we made it to THE Walk of Stars as mentioned above… I've been here many times before, but this time was special because my girls got to see it. The older two thought it was great. The little one just wanted to stop and eat until she saw all the characters on the street. We saw Bat Man, Dora The Explorer and lots more. If you'd like to have your picture taken with any of these “colorful” characters, be sure to bring some dollar bills with you!
Marilyn Monroe was wheeled by us on our way to the TCL Chinese Theater aka Mann's Chinese Theater.
Does anyone see the twin Chewbaccas? Oh and Spiderman and The Hulk?!
Yep, we saw the handprints! There are also lot's of tour buses that will drive you around to see all the hot spots!
I always seem to catch the girls when they are making abnormal facial expressions… anyhow, be sure to get one of the celebrity home maps! They have newspaper dispensers that sell them for $5! We bought one for the fun of it…
I loved the pantry store that is located inside the hotel. It's great to be able to buy a quick snack at all hours of the night. We ended up buying a frozen meal and heating it up in the microwave in our room… remember the one that I thought for sure we wouldn't need or use?
And yes, there is a figurine wax figure from Madame Tussauds in the lobby, which is a great way to start your vacation!
Tips: Pack your walking shoes. There is lot's to do within walking distance of the Hilton Garden Inn. There is a great mall right off the Walk of Fame that has some good places to eat and really clean bathrooms. The hotel is a short 5-minute stroll from The Walk Of Fame, but if walking is not your thing the best place to park is in the mall too. Make sure to go up and down The Walk of Fame to see it all. If you decided to have your picture taken with any of the street performers please remember they work for tips and will not pose for a picture without being paid.
Thank you so much to the Hollywood Hilton Garden Inn for providing this experience to help facilitate this post.