The girls (me, my older sister Grace and her little one year old Ava Berry Cherry) set out for a day of sun and shopping today at Americana at Brand. After hearing enough friends rave about it, I had to check it out for the experience and my sister had to check it out for the shopping.
All I can say is....
We got there around 11am (early enough to beat the crowds and get bomby parking). As bff Jay had said there actually were people in the elevator pushing buttons for you...oh what great service, from the start!
Down a few stories and here's what opens up to you on the first floor:
Beautiful lobby area with a concierge service there for shoppers and residences. Shoppers - they'll do everything from hold your packages, make you restaurant reservations and provide personal shopping services! But wait! For residences, they're there for you 24 hours a day - booking you travel, nightclub reservations, getting you tickets to concerts or sporting events and they'll even walk your dog! Oh if Buddy only had it so good! (that's Buddy my golden retriever)
As you get off the elevator they hand you this very cute brochure that pretty much sums it all up:
Experience the ultimate in shopping, dining, entertainment and luxury living at The Americana at Brand. From the carefully chosen boutiques to the beautiful ambience, every care has been take to surround with you with luxury. We hope you will enjoy your time here.
The $400 million it took in a two-year period was all worth it. Rick Caruso, the mega-developer behind this, knew this would be a hit based on his development, The Grove, that brings in 18 million people a year (or 3 million more than Disneyland). Look above the center's shops and restaurants and you'll see about 100 condos and 238 apartments, with condos ranging from the low $700,000s to $2 million and rents from $2,000 to $5,500 a month.
More interesting facts:
There are 2 full acres of landscaped green space at its center that, by law, belongs not to the developer but to the city's redevelopment agency. The public park at the foot of their apartment buildings is patrolled by Caruso's security team and you can't ride a bike or a skateboard on it.
Lunch at Katsuya - best service and food I've had in a while. Loved everything about this place, from the decor to the hilarious waiters...
Sit outside to enjoy the water show while you eat. Order the spicy albacore sashimi w/crispy onion and the crispy rice with spicy tuna...amazing.
I'll leave the shopping comments for my sister who had a field day, enjoying everything from Barney's Co-Op to H&M.
I shall leave you with some writing on the wall of a very cute children's store, Peek.
Overall impression: Beats the Grove for me any day. Very well selected high end stores catering to a younger, hipper crowd. I definitely will be back.