There is a nip in the air on this Monday morning in West Hollywood, and Melrose Avenue is still enveloped in a blanket of mist – so the top is going to be staying up for now. Thomas Nickel hops out of the silver Mercedes-Benz S 560 Cabriolet and strides into Urth Caffé, taking the three steps to the entrance in one. He comes here for breakfast a few times a week, and, as he tells us, so do a number of Oscar-winning actors. It’s not unusual to see top international models here too, though they tend to come later in the day. The laminated menu features exclusively organic dishes. It’s a place to be seen.
After two delicious Spanish lattes, the California morning has brightened considerably: it’s time to start the tour. The plan is to take a relaxed summer’s day jaunt from the Hollywood Hills to Deer Canyon Road. Thomas Nickel leans back in his 469 PS ride. “This is going to be my sun terrace for today,” he says, his mouth widening into a big grin. He turns onto Crescent Drive, touching a button as he does so: almost silently, the car’s immense fabric hood begins to open up and retract.