About Tracy

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High Profile Publicist Travelling Cool Places Doing Interesting Things

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review - Accommodations - (Budget) "Hostel California" Hollywood

Hostel California, 
Carlos Avenue 
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Those who follow my blog know that I often stay at the very top level of accommodation when travelling on work projects.

In Jamaica, for example, we stayed at a luxury local resort... Caribbean style! ...

...and soon I’ll be telling you about our Washington DC trip, where my husband,fifteen year old son and I stayed at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, one of the most storied hotels in Washington DC - a city of storied hotels - where nearly every president since the 1930s has held their inaugural or other important balls . Much more on THAT incredible adventure later -and you want to check that blog out! (Turns out, the vice president was there when we were but that’s another (Washington, DC story….)

 In Hollywood,  though I wasn’t staying in a five-star hotel...and I didn't mind a bit!

I could pretend that I was ...do some kinda spin the truth bad movie publicist thing and not tell you that I was ACTUALLY staying at a really cool and affordable travellers hostel.

 But that would be wrong because then you wouldn’t know about this place...and since the whole POINT of a travel blog is taking you where I go so you can discover the things I discover...

so here it is!

So first let me preface this by saying these people have no idea I’m writing it and I didn’t tell them I was a publicist, and I wasn’t even a travel blogger when I stayed there.  I haven’t contacted them since - and I’m really just giving you this review to let you know that there is an affordable place for a single traveler to stay in LA and I actually still can’t believe what I found just around the corner from Hollywood Boulevard!

I had booked it online site unseen so I could’ve been walking into anything really.

And to be honest,  I was kind of afraid that I'd regret it... Sure there was some really nice bright photos on the Internet and the place looks clean in the pics and most of the reviews were good but still…

So I have to say I was pretty thrilled when we drove up to the repurposed beautiful home right around the corner from Hollywood Boulevard.  The house looks clean and welcoming the yard looks great and I walk through the big white gate.

Inside, the entryway and lounge area look just like it did online....

 right down to the welcome to Hollywood sign sitting on the desk :

               I picked it up for a selfie and noticed it was missing A letter but who’s complaining,

                                                   Of course I took the selfie anyway.

First I’ll tell you about the only two negatives about the place.

And they’re not really negatives - not when you consider that you can book this place for $30 Canadian a night -  that’s about US$25!

 So first of all - for that price you get a bed in one of two bunkbeds in a room.

Yep it’s hostel style dormitory style accommodation - the likes of which I remember from wayyyyy back when I was backpacking through Europe, age 21.  (Which, by the way, I HIGHLY recommend everyone do in their youth! Best trip EVER though after 3 months of backpack through several countries together, my high school best friend and I barely spoke again after we got back.. though she did end up introducing me to the guy I've been married to for more than 25 years, 3 years after we got back from our Euro travel adventure!) )

For those who aren't familiar with the concept of travellers hostels -- They are NOT crash pads for locals.  Normally you can't stay at one unless you have an out of town address.  Everybody there is from out of town, and in Hollywood for a professional reason something work or school related primaril.

I’m sure there was some tourists there but everybody who was there when I was seemed to be pretty busy and pretty engaged.

The first night I was there I shared my room with two girls who  were travelling together and one single traveller.

The two girls left the next night, another couple of girls arrived everybody kept them to themselves but they were friendly and polite. No one bugged you.

The other negative was that you couldn’t drink there -  that was actually positive for me because really who wants to hang around and shared accommodation with a bunch of people drinking - that  could get sketchy.  But you also couldn’t smoke which means I couldn’t medicate without legal California cannabis - not on property anyway.

Not even in this nice little outside area above.

I asked though and they had no problem with me going just outside the property to smoke late at night. And that they told me that was a better idea than walking very far away - though I was also walking all up and down Hollywood Boulevard smoking on the walk of the stars at midnight as you can see in some of the selfies I shared earlier.

But it was sparkling clean well taken care of quiet safe And with a nice chill backyard area which I admittedly didn’t spend any time in because I was too busy having fun in Hollywood Boulevard… and when I saw the breakfast man I could not believe that was provided with that lesson $30 Canadian per night price.

The kitchen

The dining area

Hard-boiled eggs, sausages, yogurt, waffles, toast, croissants, apples, bananas… Cereal too. Milk. Coffee. Orange juice. Several kinds of tea. Take as much is you’re hungry for and even take a fruit or yogurt for the road.

Of course I took some pics…

Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there and I highly recommend it to anybody looking for a budget accommodations. You can’t smoke there and you can’t drink there and you’ve got to share a room with a couple of nice quiet people. But if you’re looking for cheap safe quiet and clean in Hollywood well you just cannot do better...

Color me impressed!

Not So Good: 
You can't smoke cannabis on the property - even in the nice backyard which would be a perfect spot to chill with a nice joint otherwise.  I get it though - they keep alcohol and weed away because they don't want it to be a party place.  They don't mind if you stand out front just off the property and smoke though..

Shared accommodations make me sleep with my essentials in the bed with me, but for 20 bucks a night in Los Angeles what can you expect? 

No TV, but who the hell comes to Los Angeles to sit around and watch TV?? I wouldn't have watched it even had there been one there. 

Tiny bathrooms, shared.

Great :
Plugs for your charger right at each bed 

Overall :

What Other People Said : 

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor, etc...
A few were negative, but I don't think they understood the hostel concept - it's not a private hotel at twenty bucks a night - but it's a clean, safe space.

I agree with these reviewers : 

Book a stay at : 






Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tracy hits Hollywood... A Night On Hollywood Boulevard

Tracy hits Hollywood... a night on Hollywood Boulevard

This one deserves it’s own blog post... it’s a continuation of the day when we arrived in Los Angeles.

I had spent the day with my friend and client, Karen.

 We had arrived in Los Angeles via flight from Toronto through LAX., got our car, traded in our car for a new and better one once we discovered the first one didn't have SiriusXM *(Karen decided that was just not acceptable for our week in the City of Angels!) .

 We had stopped at her clients where she was staying in the Hollywood Hills - and then we had dropped my bags off where I was staying off of Hollywood Boulevard (the one they call The Boulevard of Broken Dreams...lol.)

 And we'd stopped off at my favourite Hollywood Dispensary- the one that had served me so well on my first visit to the year before.   (See previous blog posts for all those adventures and pics to match!)

                         We had stopped for a Mexican dinner..  (Trejo's Cantina)
                        See the meal and logo as posted on socials that day. (above)

After dinner, my client was heading back to HER clients - an actress who lives in the Hills whose hair she does. This actress has epic dreads and starts in BOSCH among other things.

Karen drops me off just off Hollywood Boulevard where I'm staying.  I stick around for a few minutes - do my hair and then headed out to hit the town...after all I wasn’t gonna be wasting any more of my Hollywood time than necessary sleeping - or sitting around !

 I walk around the corner to the Hollywood and Vine area to see if anything changed from last year.
 It all looks pretty much the same - the pharmacy on the corner where I had bought the hair curler and all - the Capitol records building - the sketchy and the glitzy (like in any city) but here we were -   Hollywood style.

And like every other tourist I was walking around enjoying my time, and of course taking selfies and other pictures .... looking for names I recognised on the Hollywood Walk of Fame like Tallulah Bankhead and other interesting names from Hollywood classic years all the way up to today.

 I whipped out one of those legal Hollywood joints for a selfie ...now I got to confess I’ve since learned that while cannabis is legal in the great nation state of California - I hear it is not yet legal to smoke in the street the way you can here in Canna-da but the hotel doesn’t allow smoking and they don’t have any vapor lounges yet so what is a tourist who buys that legal Cali cannabis supposed to do?

                              Whatever.  I had to do it for the great shot either way, right!


                                 Smoked my joint.  Got the picture.  Continued on my way...

                                                  Stopped to grab a shirt for my son

I don’t have a lot of time on business travel so I like to squeeze every bit experience I can and I like to experience every single moment.  Like I said, I don’t like to waste a lot of time sleeping  -- and of course Hollywood was no exception in fact it was the rule!

By this time it's close to 11 o’clock  on Hollywood Boulevard but I didn’t want the night to end.
 I texted my husband back home in Hamilton , Ontario, Canada to let him know  where I was and what I was doing and that I wasn’t planning to go back to the hotel quite yet.

He was a little worried about me being alone around Hollywood Boulevard but I took a picture of it and I told him it’s basically like Yonge and Dundas in Toronto, I feel safe, and it's all good.

He told me to be careful -  but then again he always does.   I continued on my way.. no real destination, just walking around, taking pictures of interesting Hollywood looking things for my socials (I hadn't thought of this blog yet!)

A few minutes later a brightly coloured sign in a little corner with what looked like a tiny  dive bar caught my eye...I’m not sure why.  I  vaguely remember seeing it last time but I had never gone in.  On my previous visit to Hollywood it was literally a whirlwind -  two days and I was with my client the whole time - other than that last afternoon where I had the Santa Monica Beach adventure.. .(I'll tell you all about that one in a future blog post!)

But now I have some time to wander around I don’t know what it was that made me Google it but something told me there was something iconic about the place - after all I WAS right in the very center of old Hollywood.   So I stop right in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard  to google "THE FROLIC ROOM" - and sure enough I was right.

 Turns out it is a truly iconic space.

I'll wait right here if you want to google it - but here are the details in a nutshell :

                         and another blogger reviewing the joint had this to say :

To fans of old Hollywood there is a lot here to fascinate - and to fans of classic film noir or true crime stories - even more so.   To me, one of the most  fascinating things about this was that it is known as the last place where the iconic 1940s murder victim Elizabeth Short, known as "The Black Dahlia" was seen.

Standing there on Hollywood Blvd googling on my phone, I read that from those days to the present, The Frolic Room is considered to be a place where "serious drinkers congregate" --  and though that definitely does NOT describe me, it also says that it's a place where cool locals and tourists alike meet. I found that kind of funny, because on the day I was there I saw the security guy who stands outside of the bar say goodbye to a group that was leaving in a clearly tourist kind of way and when I walked in he nodded and said, "hey." like he knew me.

Living like a Hollywood local! 

So... I went inside and I ordered a drink

On the socials I said :

"#ElizabethShort who became known as the #BlackDahlia was last seen here before she was found #murdered in an iconic unsolved #Hollywood #murder case from the 1940s. Several movies were #filmed here. It was originally a #speakeasy that became a #bar when #prohibition of #alcohol ended. #JudyGarland and #FrankSinatra were regulars here and writer #CharlesBukowski wrote about it and came here all the time. #academyawards used to be held next door with tons of stars stopping in. The beauty is it’s still the same simple #dive #bar it’s always been ... I didn’t know of it. I am just wandering #HollywoodBoulevard enjoying my time tonight - it looked like a neat little place and since everything in old #Hollywood has s story I googled it and learned all this and totally had to come in for whatever #cocktail the #bartender suggests. A strange mix of #locals and #tourists come in here / the doorman greeted the tourists and noises at me with a “hey” like he had seen me here before ... lol #hollywood #hollyweird"

Even though I had just read online that it was a tiny little place and it didn't look too big from outside... still it was tiny -  far smaller than I would’ve imagined.  Divided by a mirror  aligned on one side of the bar.

Picturing Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes, Bukowski all hanging out here in the day...
when the Oscars were held next-door

... I stayed for two drinks just to soak up the experience….

…. and for the selfies of course!

              (Posted this the next morning about trying to figure out where to hit next...)

Then I decided to head a block or two down Hollywood Boulevard .... to where the big neon W indicated the chic, luxury W hotel - just a few steps from the entrance to the Hollywood Vine subway station ...

                                                            .... stop for Selfie!

                              and just around the corner from where I was staying.

 In front of the glittering W marking the W Hotel on Hollywood Blvd for the second year in a row!

I'd been to Hollywood on a different project with a different client the year before (2018) and I’ve been to the W for two Oscar parties.  The pre-party populated by film industry folks who weren’t attending the Oscars was held at the W Hotel in a super swanky really fun event that I somehow got invited to but that was last year ...

Now, in April 2019, I thought I would go see if anything interesting was happening there.

There was.

Clearly it was another industry thing - people all dressed up some swanky some sort of arty - seemed like mostly a theatre and film crowd - not the kind where you recognise people but the kind of place  where all the suit folks and backers and bookers and big money people that the entertainers want to reach are.

Doorman in a tux standing there looking like security and it definitely looked like an invite only event - it wasn’t open to the public.  I had no idea what it was, but I thought it looked like something this publicist / networking star might wanna be in… so dressed to the nines... and I gotta say with my thousand dollar bright red hair (thanks to that celebrity stylist of mine!) I looked pretty Hollywood, so with my best I Am Supposed To Be Here, busy and vaguely uninterested look, a give the door guy a quick nod and smile and sail right in.


I knew exactly where I was going - where the bathroom was, where the bar was and what you could get there, what the serving procedure was, where to get the best selfie (part of the reason I was there was to get a pic just hours after I hit LA by the wall painting quoting the Doors song LA Woman ...

This on the wall inside between the bathroom and the little art gallery

                           Hashtag #LAWoman Hashtag #LuckyLittleLadyInTheCityOfLight

Hilariously it was there at the W Hotel where I first realised the year before that Hollywood and Beverly Hills were cheaper than Toronto!

 I mean seriously folks we get ripped off in Toronto!

 I knew the city was expensive but man  - I fully expected that if I was in a Hollywood industry party in Hollywood I’d be paying a lot of money for food than I would in Toronto.  Wouldn't you???

But no.  In fact, the year before - I had even looked at the menu right there at the W fully expecting sticker shock .... there’s a 30% increase for the American dollar and plus I expected to see the kind of prices I see at upscale events in Toronto - you know - $25 for a plate of cheese....

...But no the year before when I was there at the pre-Oscars party after several hours of not bothering to look at the menu assuming it would be insane I finally took a glance and was shocked to see fancy plate of hummus and crackers for just $13 US!

..Sure that made it about $18 when you translated to Canadian but not off the charts especially for this kind of up scale super high end environment and this kind of crowd ...

so there I was inside again this time uninvited...

but just like I own the place I walk to the bar and I ordered that plate of white hummus with little fancy pita chips artfully arranged on the plate and took my seat down alongside a group of people.

The tables were arranged with long tables seating 10 or 12 people people just randomly sitting down so I did the same.  Everyone talking and laughing and asking each other "So what is it  YOU do?" ajd someone came up to me all Hollywood fabulous and said "You look like someone I should know, can I sit here?"  LOL!!   (I'm going to use that line in the future!)

 Being a publicist I absolutely was fitting with the conversation - I always say that PR opens literally every door and it's pretty much true...

We exchanged business cards and I met people the way you do ...

by this time it was after midnight And after another little walk around the lobby taking more pics I thought I should start heading back down Hollywood Boulevard toward my hotel in Carlos after all tomorrow is a workday even though we’re in Hollywood and Karen will be picking me up early in the morning...

Stopped for another joint by the iconic Capital Records building on the way back to my bed...

                                                           Good night Hollywood!

                                                            Preview : The next day :


The Other Side - Hollyweird and the Museum of Death (and Serial Killers) 6031 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA

        The Other Side - Hollyweird & The Museum of Death (and Serial Killers)                                                          ...