Hollywood, Los Angeles review: Still the star of the show


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Hollywood sign

GETTYHollywood eats and breathes the entertainment in

The scene is one of utter devastation. A whole neighbourhood destroyed; the air heavy and reeking of despair.

Thankfully, this disaster scene isn’t real, but it could be, such is the attention to detail. It’s the work of the extraordinary set designers who created the scene for the Tom Cruise movie War Of The Worlds in 2005. And this set is found on a backlot at Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Minutes previously, we watched anxiously as Norman Bates removed Marion Crane’s (Janet Leigh) body from the Bates Motel and placed it in his car boot.

What we didn’t anticipate was that when he spotted us, he would rush toward us, wielding the same knife he’d slashed her with, a maniacal look on his face.

Universal Studios, HollywoodGETTY

War of the Worlds attraction at Universal Studios, Hollywood

Hollywood still puts on the glitz and it’s going to for some time yet

There was just enough time to hightail it out of the car park before he reached us. It was a lucky escape. The blurred lines between pretend and reality are uncannily entwined here. It’s an intriguing place to be.

You feel and see a familiarity, yet it is all rather surreal. Such as the full-size Hogwarts Castle, so lifelike it could be the real thing but home to rides and a shopping arcade.

Then there’s the trip riding the rapids through the wilds of Jurassic Park, populated by frothing dinosaurs.

This VIP tour is an essential for film lovers.

ba.com) offers return flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles from £458.

Loews Hollywood Hotel (dialling from the UK: 001 323 856 1200/ loewshotels.com) offers a Live Like A Star Package (tour and hotel for two) from £110, room only.

Millennium Biltmore (212 624 1011/millenniumhotels.com) offers doubles from £157, room only.

Starline tours (starlinetours.com) offers Celebrity Homes Tours from £33. Universal Studios VIP Experience (universal studioshollywood. com), from £239.

Dolby Theatre (dolbytheatre.com) offers tours from £17.

Los Angeles tourism: discoverlosangeles.com