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Secrets of Seeing the Magic in Hollywood

Magic Castle Private Club Hollywood Hills photoThe Magic Castle has been a Hollywood landmark since the golden days of Hollywood glamour. Just up the street from the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, this striking Victorian mansion built in 1909 as a private home has been a curious secret of showbiz land. Impossible to miss while driving past, but hard to get into, as admission is only available to members and their guests. Originally opened in 1963 as a long time dream of television writer and magic lover, Milt Larsen, the Magic Castle Dinner and Show hollywood photoMagic Castle is a private club for magicians and those who love magic, run by the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. for the preservation and advancement of magic and illusion. In the form of a performance and supper club, the Magic Castle is a maze of mysterious chambers, with spooky secret passages, decorated with art and memorabilia dedicated to the likes of Houdini and Blackstone, where after a sumptuous meal, either dinner or weekend brunch, visitors are treated to magic shows in two smaller parlors, the “Gallery of Close-Up Magic”, Inside the Magic Castle photowhere illusions are performed before your eyes, the “Parlour of Prestidigitation” with magic in the setting of a Victorian living room, and the larger theater “Palace of Mystery” with more grand illusions. But like the mystery of a well performed master magic trick, how does a vacationing visitor to Los Angeles get in to the Magic Castle, just in case you don’t happen to be best palls with member celebrities (or happen to know my dentist)? As any illusionist knows there’s a secret to every trick. Next door to the Magic Castle mansion is the Magic Castle Hotel. It is a separate entity, but connected by name and a close relationship. Draw back the curtain and voila - visitors staying at the Magic Castle Hotel can go to the Magic Castle as guests. Ah, so that’s how it's done!

Magic Castle Hotel Hollywood photoThe Magic Castle Hotel is a former Hollywood apartment building converted into a hotel, with all one and two bedroom apartment suites, including full kitchens, Wolfgang Puck coffee and goose down duvets. The hotel has free high speed wireless so you can sit out by the swimming pool emailing your agent in true Hollywood Hills style. The Magic Castle Hotel is very conveniently located for visiting the classic Hollywood sights. The famous Chinese Theater with all the movie star footprints and Hollywood Walk of Fame is a block down the street. Magic Castle Hotle Pool photoThe Kodak Theater in the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Academy Awards happen every March (see Hollywood & Highland) along with the subway (LA's only one, pretty much) to Universal Studios or downtown are steps away. Just up the hill is the wonderful Yamashiro Restaurant with spectacular views of the city lights, (see Yamashiro) and the Hollywood Bowl is an easy walk up Highland Avenue. Entrance to the Magic Castle club requires dinner or brunch and an admission charge, but absolutely worth it. Room prices at the hotel are quite reasonable compared to it's nearer neighbor the Hollywood Renaissance, but can vary along with availability during big events like the Awards.

Read reviews on TripAdvisor where it's rated as the #2 out of 277 hotels in Los Angeles, a rare feat of magic.

To get to the Magic Castle and Hotel from LAX take the 405 freeway north to the 10 east, get off at La Brea Avenue, north all the way until you almost run into the hills and right on Franklin Ave. two blocks. © Bargain Travel West

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