There’s magic in the air at the Hilton Hotels in the Los Angeles area; serious magic. There was a time when the only way to get inside the stately Hollywood Victorian known as the Magic Castle was through knowing a magician who happens to be a member or by joining the club yourself. But now, thanks to Hilton Hotels, any of us mere mortals have the chance to materialize into the private, members-only clubhouse. No magic wand is required, just a bit of planning and preparation.
Entering is pure magic. After arriving and checking in, you head through a secret passageway behind a bookshelf into the mansion itself. There’s a maze-like collection of bars and performance spaces as well as a large restaurant. Sprinkled throughout is a collection of magical artifacts from props to posters as well as oil paintings featuring notable magicians of yore.
With a reservation, you can enter the club early to enjoy pre-dinner drinks at one of the bars or see magicians at work throughout the building. At various times throughout the evening you can see tricks performed at the Close-Up Gallery, the Parlour of Prestidigitation, The Library Bar, and the Peller Theatre.
Dinner is served at set times in the upstairs dining room, composed of various sitting areas with plenty to look at, like vintage photographs and magic ephemera. The menu is heavy on meats, from Prime Rib to Beef Wellington, but there are vegetarian options and lighter fare such as Thai curry crab bisque and a watercress endive salad starter. The service is smooth, and the food is delicious, but it’s hard to focus on eating when there’s magic afoot.
There’s a show! Immediately after dining, guests are given tickets to The Palace of Mystery, where a few headliners perform their acts. After the show, guests are invited to wander to the smaller performances happening all around the Magic Castle. There are magicians doing miraculous things with decks of cards, some seeming to read minds, and others doing jaw-dropping acts with a variety of props. Crowds can be larger on weekends than on weeknights, so if you prefer more elbow room, then you might consider a Monday through Thursday reservation.
Dinners are only for those 21 and over. If you’re bringing the kids, the Magic Castle offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday with a show just for the little ones. There are other things you’ll need to know before heading for this wonderful world of wonders. To enter the club, there is an additional cover charge (either $25 to $35 per person depending on the night).
The Magic Castle also has a strict dress code that they take very seriously. Women must wear “elegant business attire or evening wear,” while men are required to wear a suit with a tie (or “bow ties, bolo ties, ascots, and banded collars when worn correctly.”)
The other thing is that your phone will need to stay in your purse. There are no photographs allowed in the club at all. Not a single selfie or quick snap is allowed, which can be torture for those who are addicted to Instagram and capturing the moment.
So, what’s the deal with the Hilton promotion: To visit the Magic Castle, you’ll need to plan in advance, way in advance. To secure entrance, you’ll need to make a reservation via the Magic Castle Offer at least six to eight weeks before your visit. First, before reserving your date, contact the Hilton concierge by making an inquiry about availability to MagicCastle@Hilton.com. Keep in mind that availability is limited.
There are quite a few Hilton Hotels to choose from as part of the offer, like the affordable Hilton Garden Inn (which is located within walking distance of the Magic Castle) to the legendary Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The Magic Castle Offer also includes either breakfast for two or premium WiFi access, depending on the property you choose. Warning: access to the Magic Castle is only available via this offer; you can’t book your Hilton stay via another avenue.
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Photography courtesy of The Magic Castle; last photo of Hilton courtesy of Hilton Hotels.
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