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“Not worth it at all, waste of time.”

VIP Tours of California
Ranked #173 of 253 Tours in Los Angeles
Attraction details
Reviewed September 6, 2013

Had pre booked this in a hurry before we left Australia. As we were not on the hotel list I stated we would walk to the nearest nominated hotel which was a good 2 kms away. We confirmed the day before as requested on the voucher. Told pick up would be at 5. Got to the pick up early as you never know. Well pick up wasn't until 5:45, so by then my 11 year old son was quite eager to say the least. Small mini van, very nice friendly driver who finally explained he was taking us to meet the main group. He explains about tipping and as he was nice (& I fell for his struggling Hispanic family man story) I did tip him $8. Next we wait around with a bunch of people at the headquarters. the staff are all older sleazy men. On to the bus finally and the bus driver starts his banter on LA, we head for Century Walk at Universal studios and given 20 minutes, to us a waste of time as had been to Universal Studios the day before. Then through the city, pointing out some sights and telling us how lucky we were to be on the tour on a Saturday as no traffic. Then to the Hollywood hills to see the sign, you are given 2 minutes to hop out, take a photo then off we go again. Then to Hollywood were you are "given" a voucher for a free gift. A tiny pen if you buy something at nominated shop. You have 20 minutes or so there, crowded and full of people "dressed" up in costumes wanting you to take a photo with them for a fee of course, not a pretty place at all but good to see it I guess and the stars on the sidewalk. Then to Rodeo Drive, most people didn't even get off the bus here, shops were closed and probably of no interest to anyone anyway. But you could use the rest room in a local club. So this is where he gives you the lecture and points to the sign. He then go around to each person with his bag open, now I knew this was coming but thought I would get money out of atm at next stop however this was the last stop before the long drive to drop each party at there hotel. I told him I had none left. He was quite rude to most people. I didn't want to tip him anyway as they were late picking up and I had paid $127 AU (one adult, one child)for the privilege of this tour. It really left a sour note with all on the bus as he was a bully. I do tip when I think they are worthy and don't bully for it. This tour was a complete waste of our time. If you only have one day or night in LA and have never been there before maybe a tour like this would suit however try a different company please!

2  Thank roseangel65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 19, 2013

Fantastic tour company and tour organization. I had a private Limo take me through the Bel Air estate and to see all the stars homes. The Bus driver on the Hollywood Hills night tour was a comedian in the making and a really nice guy. Made the trip fun and really interacted with the tourist giving us just enough information to make the trip more memorable. Who Knew Mrs Barbera ( Hanna & Barbera) lives in the Hollywood Hills in the Jetsons prototype house and she is like 93! Sit back and enjoy the complimentary popcorn....you wont be diappointed.

1  Thank KerryC13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013 via mobile

Our driver was an Indian with a Hispanic accent. Basically, couldn't understand a single word he said. We got off the bus and found our own way back to the hotel. Never did see any of the sights.

1  Thank Truthfultraveler1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Where to begin... Expensive compared to the provided services. I choose the hop on/off tour and I was told that I was going to stop for 1,5 hours on each sight. No way, the tour stopped maximum 40/45 mins which sometimes were not enough. But the worst ever thing that I experienced here is the drop off path they are following... Basically in a city like LA you cannot foresee to drop each member at their respective hotel, meaning that from the end of the tour until I was dropped to my hotel, it took almost three hours. Not to mention the open mini-bus they used with 20C degrees of temperature in LA, also driving on freeway at 100km/h (such a wind effect that I couldn't wear my sunglasses).

I hope this review will help the management to improve this tour, considering that is everything other than cheaper.

2  Thank aspingar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

I really can't say enough (good) about this tour operation near LAX - the Los Angeles Airport.

I'm a serious traveler, not a road warrior or constant business traveler, but a long history of exotic adventures when I can. I'm heading West and like many others on this tour, have only a day or so to spend in LA, and I'm looking to "get a sense of L.A.". Unless I were here with children (considering Disney for a day) I'd definitely recommend this tour.

Our guide - Marco - could not have been more amazing in terms of doing his best to share his love of LA and the Hollywood Hills and movie stars and writers and the whole reality which is LA. Incredible tour. We began by seeing several beaches, and - after checking in with everyone and double-checking, it seemed nobody was late for an international flight so he took a bit longer at each stop, for shoppers and photographers and bathroom seekers. Totally considerate. Someone had lost a wallet on an earlier tour and the driver/tour guide got on the radio and tracked it down. Everyone cheered.

It was like a mini-club med in our air-conditioned bus. We had several short stops, from 15 minutes to 45 mins or an hour, at beaches of several variety, past movie studios, to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and (my mission as a photographer) a stop near the Chinese theater where we had time to explore a wonderful esplanade, Dolby, Disney (soda fountain), the stars on the sidewalks as well as all sorts of Disney characters prancing about. Lastly, off to Fisherman's Market, a sort of made for tourism creation, but really fine restaurants, delis, and gourmet food and cooking stores, a bit like a Turkish Bazaar.

And speaking of Turkish, and returning to the tour itself, and why I so highly rate is both the expertise of the guide and his challenge in handling a diverseaudience - this is an airport area, including the hotels where en route travelers stay. Airline people. International travelers. College students heading home. Our van had all of these, he even had an app to translate into French. A couple had with them twin sons who wanted to see sports and Eddie Murray, a student heading home to China, with her flight heading home later that night. LA is a great place to stop over and acclimate to time zones and sleep. And a tour like this, for people who have ever seen TV or a movie, is precious. We had a teacher, nurse and psychologist, and a software engineer from India,

Add to this mixture Marco the tour guide, who shared a great deal and on the way back to our hotels, stopping to retrieve the lost wallet for the passenger onboard (it was turned into the office, very near to the airport and all our hotels). He made sure the student made her flight with time to spare,, and spared his own time. As we approached our hotels he asked each of us what we'd most like to recommend in *our* home towns. I know I really learned a lot. Had a fantastic day.

Marco worked the walkie talkie to find the lost wallet, he shared all sorts of facts about the movie biz, from actors to writers and the lifestyles and habits of the stars. In fact, we stopped to go into a hotel lobby where the movie stars stay, near the beach. (Rest stop too, and photo ops).

In between spots which were on the tour, and a few added bonus stops by our guide who thought we really should see, he checked again that we were all ok with time. He made a point of learning everyone's name (right, Tony?) and meanwhile our mini-van full of people who booked this tour got to know each each other, as Marco frequently provided information on what we were seeing, and where to look while driving. He added a lot, and re-affirmed my belief that a tour guide who is both in love with the city s/he is showing it off, and respectful of people from all sorts of places and circumstances, is a treasure. Marco also is passionate about Hollywood. He wants to share it with his passengers and students. (Be ready for an occasional quiz: Anyone here know what the X in LAX stands for?) Show biz.

My fellow passengers truly were treated like VIPs. By a professional, with passion for his work.


Addendum. Just as I finished writing, I noticed the sidebar saying there are many reviews, and I'm shown three -one that disliked the time accorded to 'the stars' and another regarding customer service as terrible. The third likes what s/he saw but not that so much of the time was spent in a van. Having just returned from a tour a few hours ago, processing it as I download photos (some taken of or by fellow tourists), my hopefully-helpful reaction/suggestion/tip would be: Your mileage may vary on who you reach in calling "customer service" I know the feeling! But, they work with hotels mostly, who regularly fill their mini-vans by sharing their brochures and arranging the tour with VIP. At LAX-Hilton the concierge handed me the phone to ask a question, though I can't say what number they called. I can say, if you make a reservation for a specific time and tour, via a hotel concierge, they arrive on time with a prime guide. The guide is just so important. Not related to the business office. Time limits - I think Marco did a great job of determining what our particular van-load of limited-time-in-LA wanted to get out of the tour. There are just so many hours...
I'm sure the guides may vary, but some operations tend to groom and keep really good ones.

I agree with the "better if there were more time outside", although one of the thrills of an afternoon tour is the chance to see a real LA traffic jam. Our guide tried to get us the maximum time outdoors, at the beach and much longer on Hollywood Blvd and Fisherman's Market, He kept his eye on the ball of everyone's time concerns. I really feel I got a taste of the main tour bullet items plus a bit of personal effort above and beyond from this particular guide. They vary. I've had several (like Grey's) where I schedule with specific guides. Great guides are priceless. Maybe I lucked out, maybe some get lemons. Don't know. I'd say if you're in an airport hotel that offers VIP tours, and you've got one afternoon/eve free (the tour I took), do it! Great.

I know I was more than satisfied, and will be processing images and funny stories and my comrades in VIP-ville today for a long time. Goal: Get a taste of LA in less than a day. Check.

1  Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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