When looking into planning one of my first gay adult trips to Los Angeles, I could not decide where to stay. Do I stay within spitting distance of West Hollywood (WeHo) home of a larger concentration of gay bars and nightlife or do I go more toward Silver Lake and closer the very fun bars like Eagle LA and Faultline? When in doubt, split the difference and stay in the heart of it all and Hollywood and book a room at Mama Shelter.
My first thought was … hmmm … shelter … hostel? Is this going to be a good place? If I didn't like it both WeHo and Silver Lake were just a 4 mile Uber ride away. The pictures I saw did not do this place justice. From the ease of dropping off my AVIS LAX rental car with the valet, to checking in to getting to my room with a unobstructed view of the HOLLYWOOD sign, all was thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! This was going to be my home for a couple of days and it felt like I needed to stay longer, all just after being there for the initial 10 minutes.
After drooling over the subway tiled bathroom with grey grout, the storm trooper and Darth Vader masks, and the interactive Apple Monitor (tv, radio, hotel menus, Free XXX porn (2 gay ones)), I finally dropped my bags in my 5th floor corner room and floated up to the rooftop deck. Mind you, some travel magazines ranked Mama's rooftop one of the 10 best in the country and we would have to agree. I am a panoramic picture whore and I had to stop myself before I went crazy. The views on a smoggy, foggy, or clear day are all amazing. I was fortunate to be checking out the deck and bar on the first day of food service on the rooftop deck and I think many of the Mama Shelter patrons knew this as the space was comfortably filled both nights I was there. Thanks Larsen for taking great care of me!
Other things that were filled both nights I was there in addition to the rooftop deck were there restaurant and bar area downstairs. After coming back on Friday at 1:30 and Saturday at 12:30, the party could have lived at Mama Shelter. I'm thinking I would have been quite happy to just be in that building for the whole trip, but more needed to be seen out in LA.
Here's a quick little video from the Mama Shelter chain showing the other hotels in the family around the world.
My first night I was there, I took a quick Uber ride to the Spectra Lounge by Wolfgang Puck at the Pacific Design Center. Walking into the space, it was FUED overload and we loved it! We? I made some friends in line.
The high energy night included chanteuse Niki Haris, Jake Simpson, but the stars were Bianca Del Rio and Peaches Christ in their LA debut of "Whatever Happened To Bianca Del Rio" If there is a performance of this within 200 miles of you, you need to go! The ad lib to work around errors, technology issues, and the writing overall was side splitting. And the final dance performance was just as impressive by the Baby Jane Drag.
Since the Pacific Design Center was just one block away from Weho, the bars of the famous gay Los Angeles neighborhood was our next stop. We took in some protein at St Felix in West Hollywood (there's one in Hollywood as well). I recommend the Malaysian-Style Steak Skewers as I am still craving them 7 days later. Check out the retro corner with the older games and the Leg Lamp.
We then paraded around to Revolver where the dancers and shot boys were very friendly, over to PUMP for a quickie, and then ended up at The Chapel at the Abbey to finish the night with dancing.
I think the secret about doing Los Angeles is not to do too much. Enjoy the trip and leave some time for relaxation. And leave some things for next time, too. When I came out to Los Angeles for a quick 3 day excursion, I had the hotel and the FEUD event planned. That is it. And I think this is one of my more memorable trips. Granted, I've been to Los Angeles about 8 times before and have done all the touristy things. This time was for me, to be a gay adult in the city, something I had not really done before.
As I was preparing to leave my hotel on Sunday, I looked out my corner window and up Selma to the east and noticed the Hollywood Farmers' Market going on, something else I did not plan nor know about. Ten minutes later I was in the heart of one of the more expansive farmer markets I had seen, spreading down multiple blocks with booths offering vegetables, flowers, plants, breakfast foods and plates, thai, falafel, juices, dried goods, fresh seafood, and on and on and on.
When Los Angeles calls, we listen. And I think that is what one needs to do when visiting Los Angeles. Find a place to hang your hat and let the weekend flow. I love not planning and having wonderful things just happen. LA is a city where things just happen, a place where you meet great people, make new friends, and run into old ones out of the blue.