Ginger rosemary English

You forewent the summer vacay this year because (a) gas prices were astronomical; (b) you were transfixed by the primaries/conventions/Palingate, or the crumpling of stalwart financial institutions, or an especially active hurricane season, or some other indicator that the end of the world as we know it is nigh; (c) airline travel has lost its appeal, edging ever nearer, comfort-wise, to riding a poorly equipped, very cramped Greyhound; or (d) the economy, stupid. Whatever. The bottom line is, you got to enjoy an unseasonably warm summer in Santa Barbara (um, yay for global warming? Kidding :), and now you’re stir crazy and your schedule’s picked up the pace and anything but a day or two off is inconceivable. You’ve hit all the usual nearby suspects and are craving something different. And a Zima’s just not going to cut it.

Well, brace yourself, because I have a suggestion that borders on the shocking, the revolutionary, the unheard of. What about : L.A.?

Stick with me here.

The Crescent, a swanky little hotel just steps from Rodeo Drive, is offering a package deal now through the end of the year that deserves some consideration. Hotel General Manager Shaw McPherson came up with the idea in a flash of brilliance: the Drink & Drive package! Wonks massaged that title into something a little more palatable and voil !: “Cocktails & a Chauffeur” was born.

Victoria's Secret Garden

The idea is that, once you arrive in Beverly Hills and hand over your keys to the valet, the Crescent takes over, allowing you to party like an (old-school) rock star-which is to say, with a limo and a driver, as opposed to an SUV, and, likely, a DUI. So yes, the latter might be more effective if you’re most interested in becoming fodder for TMZ, but if not, this clearly is the way to go.

The chauffeur is only part of the story, though. From the time you check in, the pampering begins, and it doesn’t let up until you check out. Originally built in 1926 for silent film stars but recently renovated, the sleek, boutique-style property has only 35 rooms. Despite the beautiful, modern design, the feel is cozy and personal, with plenty of nooks perfect for sipping one of their signature cocktails like the 10 Cane Caipirinha or the inspired Happy Ending, a deliciously deadly mix of Stoli Razberi, Zen Green Tea Liqueur, lemonade, and iced tea-add to it some veggie spring rolls, mini curry burgers, or the fried macaroni stack and the indulgence has no earthly match. The rooms offer a similarly seamless blend of comfort and cool: Modern decor is balanced with personal touches, like the pre-loaded iPod, juiced up with loungy picks like Thievery Corporation, ready to transport you squarely into relaxation mode.

Rosemary Nectar

The hotel’s location, on North Crescent Drive, right in the heart of 90210, means you can walk to just about any of those Pretty Woman landmarks, not to mention the current fave of paparazzi spots for boldface stake-outs, but then, nobody walks in L.A. Which is where the chauffeur comes in. Yes, your own personal driver will be on hand to shuttle you wherever you’d like to go. Drum roll, please: wherever. Fear not thine velvet ropes, for included in the package is the Crescent’s concierge service, which handles all the schmoozing (and lord knows what else) required to ensure entree into L.A.’s most exclusive restaurants and clubs. So that TMZ dream of yours? Back on! (A note to the ladies: Just be sure to wear some underpants, okay? Okay.)

The perfection of a night such as this can only be foiled by one thing: a hangover of epic proportions. But fear not: The Crescent’s “Hangover Cure” breakfast-poached eggs, French toast bites with sweet apple compote, crispy bacon-should set you straight, easing your pounding head, your queasy stomach, your hairy tongue : and if that doesn’t work, there’s always a Bloody Mary. Thus fortified, and ready for the not-very-long drive home, guests are treated to the icing on this most indulgent of cakes: Your car is returned to you freshly washed.

It’s almost enough to make you forget items (a) through (d).


For reservations, call (310) 247-0505, visit, or email


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