With summer upon us, lots of locals have friends and relatives coming to town for vacations. Naturally, these visitors want to see the sights, the stars homes and all the other famous places Los Angeles has to offer.
But rather than devising a personalized tour of LA for out-of-town guests yourself, a West Hollywood-based tour company will customize a tour for you and your friends.
Glitterati Tours is a young but growing tour company that takes small groups out on private tours in luxury SUVs. They go where you want to go, stop where you want to stop and answer whatever questions you may have.
“We’re like a concierge on wheels,” reports Jimmy McGill who founded Glitterati Tours two years ago after working five years as a tour guide for another company. “We make this into your tour, do what you want to do.”
Glitterati offers the standard tours like stars’ homes, famous landmarks and movie studios, just as all the other tour companies do.
But Glitterati will also create a tour focusing on exactly what you want to see. Want a tour focusing on reality show stars/locations? Glitterati will do it for you. Want a tour emphasizing celebrity chefs and restaurants? No problem. Want a tour concentrating on the rock ‘n’ roll landmarks of LA? Piece of cake.
“LA is my passion; I never tire of this city,” says the 46-year-old McGill. “I started Glitterati because I wanted to share my experiences and my love of the city with visitors. The joy about touring is getting to vicariously relive what our home has to offer.”
To enhance the sightseeing experience, Glitterati uses iPads for multimedia presentations with overhead shots of stars’ homes so you can see what’s behind the hedges, shots of how landmarks have changed over the years, scenes from movies/TV shows filmed in certain locations, etc.
To stay current, McGill and his three tour guides are constantly researching information – everything from where Madonna lives to what Justin Bieber is doing to the Real Housewives’ latest adventures.
Beyond the celebrity glitz, McGill and crew also keep up with the business aspects of the city so they can point out where various companies are headquartered or where famous CEOs live.
He notes that husbands accompanying their wives on tours often perk up when he starts talking about these business details.
“We realize we have a tremendous responsibility in showcasing our city,” says McGill. “For many, this is the only view they'll have of Los Angeles. We must not only act as guides, but gracious hosts and ambassadors as well.”
These tours aren’t cheap. Prices start at $139 per hour, depending on how many people are on the tour. McGill explains they’re getting a personalized service and personalized attention, something that other tours can’t offer.
Locals often learn a lot too, routinely saying they drive by places all the time but never knew the history.
“I’ve had people who’ve just moved into a neighborhood call for a tour because they want to know who their neighbors are,” he says. “People are always fascinated by celebrity whether they want to admit to it or not.”