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Thrills in the hills

Here Julie Wagner, CEO of the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau, reveals some exciting plans for the city.


Q: What can visitors to Beverly Hills look forward to in 2017? 


A: Beverly Hills continues to be one of the best neighbourhoods to shop, dine and stay in Los Angeles. We continue to welcome new up-and-coming designers and celebrity chefs to the city. In 2017 we will also see the opening of the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills which will be the pinnacle of five-star luxury. Jean Georges will commandeer all of the food and beverage experiences for the hotel and this will be his first effort on the West Coast.


2017 will also welcome a number of events and activities that people have come to know and love in our city. In January at the Saban Theater, we will be celebrating Chinese New Year with traditional entertainment and activities all the way from Beijing in partnership with the Chinese Government.


May and June will also see the return of our classic Concours d’Elegance car shows both at Greystone Mansion and on Rodeo Drive. And of course, our holiday activities will feature interactive photo moments and name entertainment.


Q: Why does Beverly Hill remain a must-visit destination on most people's bucket list? 


A: Beverly Hills is famous the world over for its glamour and luxury. It is the place to be seen and the place to see. Whether seeing actual celebrities, which is a regular occurrence, or walking in the footsteps of them, everyone wants to be a part of that. Beverly Hills is also one of the most travelled luxury destinations in the world. Many brands launch exclusive products and services here that can’t be found anywhere in the world. 


Q: There may be a misconception that you need to be rich just to visit so what options are there for those who aren't millionaires?


A: Definitely one of the biggest misnomers is that Beverly Hills is only for a certain type of individual.  But what people don’t know is that there is a wide variety of experiences that appeal to people in all walks of life.


Whether you want to paint pottery with your kids at Color Me Mine, go jogging in Beverly Gardens Park on the running trail, do a quick get-away with a couple of girlfriends at a boutique hotel, or shop on fashion forward Beverly Drive where there are both one of a kind boutiques (that are reasonably priced), and favourite name brand stores like Pottery Barn, everyone finds what they want and need.


Plus there is a huge selection of food and beverage offerings. Most people in California prefer casual fare so you’ll find all types of restaurants with every imaginable cuisine on every corner. 


Q: Can you give us a 'locals' insight into some of the things you like to do around Beverly Hills?


A: For me, Beverly Hills is a one-stop-shop kind of place. I can have my shoes fixed, go grocery shopping at health conscious Whole Foods, pick up spectacular wine at any one of our incredible wine stores, eat lunch at my favourite vegan restaurant or even sit outside at a sidewalk cafe with a bowl of pasta and watch the people and the fancy cars go by.


I also love to shop.  Beverly Drive and Department Store Row (Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York) are my favourite locations in LA right now. I love that everything is outdoors in beautiful weather and that everyone on the street is so friendly. I also like to sit down and grab a coffee outdoors at Nespresso, or work out at the local pilates studio.


Q: Most destinations have to adapt with the times to keep attracting visitors. Do you think Beverly Hills will continue to draw the crowds into the next decade and beyond?


A: I absolutely think we need to work to stay relevant. To survive you need to adapt. We just did a global trends report, The Future of Luxury. We did this to make sure that everyone continues to remember that we are Luxury Subject Matter Experts, that we are forward thinking and that we are working on what’s next for us. What’s popular continues to ebb and flow as generations mature, economies fluctuate and culture evolves. Any brand that doesn’t take that into consideration and isn’t positioned for adjustment will fade away.


Published: 20 February 2017

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