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QUALITY LOS ANGELES HOTELS
Booking a place to stay in Los Angeles means deciding between icons brimming with history on the east side (Hollywood) and the west (Santa Monica)—not to mention new stars all across town, including classic
Beverly Hills and of-the-minute Downtown.
A good idea is to Split your trip and base yourself in different neighbourhoods—it’ll feel like two getaways in one. Here are our picks for the best hotels in Los Angeles, spanning location, experience, and price range; in other words, when it comes to places to stay in this town, there’s something for everyone. Our top choice overall was The Millenium Biltmore due to it’s convenient location and classic design but the variety of good hotels is vast.
SUNSET TOWER HOTEL
Piercing the blue Californian skies on Sunset Boulevard, this elegant Art Deco tower has long been a landmark of the city, home to Hollywood greats since its arrival in 1931, courtesy of architect Leland A. Bryant. In those days it was Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner—and John Wayne, who apparently kept a cow on his balcony to ensure fresh milk for his coffee. Now it’s shiny again after a multi-million-dollar renovation, and 21st-century stars are coming here just for a night or to grab a drink at the see-and-be-seen Tower Bar on the notorious Sunset Strip. Maître d’ Gabé Doppelt discreetly juggles regular guests such as Jennifer Aniston with those who prefer dim lighting or need private corners for tête-à-têtes, while the bottom of the menu firmly reads: “No photographs. No phone calls.” The spicy tuna tartare is nearly everyone’s favourite; the seared scallops with black leek and truffle sauce a close second. The 81 bedrooms are done up in dusty pinks and browns with dazzling bathrooms clad in metallic gold wallpaper designed by fashion illustrator Donald Robertson, and there’s a Joanna Vargas spa for those red-carpet moments. The newly refreshed outdoor terrace overlooking the small but beautiful pool is one of the loveliest spots—in a city with a strong alfresco game—for a breakfast of mashed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, or simply to relax for an hour or so, taking in the spectacular views of L.A. and basking in that brilliant golden sunshine.
People who don’t live in Los Angeles have a fantasy of what life in L.A. must look like. Towering palms. Bougainvillea. Birds of paradise. And a fabulous bungalow tucked right in the thick of it, where every hour is golden hour. The Hotel Bel-Air, in the heart of the residential neighbourhood of the same name, is this fantasy come to life. One of the first sights to spot across the threshold is a swan lake. A lake with actual swans frolicking in it. The 12-acre gardens are part of the magic and made for meandering, with streams, footbridges, guava, pineapple, lemon, and orange trees, as well as coastal redwoods that are most certainly not common in these parts. In 2011, Alexandra Champalimaud did a full revamp of the lobby and spa, and designed the sizeable rooms to be lived in—they are cozy, with fireplaces, high ceilings and towels as thick as blankets. The bar is effortlessly cool, with photographs by Norman Seeff covering the walls, and the famous Wolfgang Puck restaurant, reimagined by David Rockwell a handful of years ago, is completely al fresco.
SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH
Shutters came into the world as the left coast’s idea of an east coast beach house, but with Pacific sunsets and interiors designed by the man who does the White House residence, it quickly became so much more. If you’re traveling for work, this is the perfect place to guarantee that vacation feeling during limited downtime. If you’re traveling for pleasure, lucky you. Note: many rooms don’t have a full ocean view, so be sure when you book to secure the ones that do for the dream beach house experience.
THE BEVERLEY HILLS HOTEL
Even if you don’t realise it, you’ve seen this hotel before. The hotel enjoys a great location while the palm trees, pink walls, and lush gardens of the Beverly Hills Hotel are as much a part of Hollywood iconography as the sign itself. The place is the site of legends: British Royals, Beatles, and Oscar winners have slept on its pillows, Elizabeth Taylor had six of her eight honeymoons there, and a recent renovation completed in 2015 brought all of that history up to date so it could remain the playground it’s always been. Tip: Book your reservation at the Polo Lounge at the same time you book the room.
THE FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL & BUNGALOWS
The Fairmont Miramar is a classic Santa Monica stay—as much of a garden hideout as a beach basecamp. Frette linens cover the beds, while suites on the top floor have two balconies (although the 31 residential Bungalows are the choice pick). One hidden perk of staying here? Access to the exclusive Miramar beach club—the staff will even drive you from the lobby in open-top Jeep Wranglers while you pretend you’re in a music video. The hotel offers Gold star service.
THE BEVERLEY WILSHIRE HOTEL – FOUR SEASONS
The Beverly Wilshire is as close to a European grand hotel as you’ll find in L.A.—with impeccable service to match. It was good enough for Elvis and the British Royal Family, and exists in triumphant opposition to the informal, minimal lobbies sprouting up across the city. Regular guests love the views of Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Hills and the pool, which was based on Sophia Loren’s Tuscan villa. If you’re looking for classic luxury, look no further than this.
MILLENNIUM BILTMORE LOS ANGELES
Located in downtown Los Angeles, this luxurious design hotel is just a 4-minute walk from Pershing Square Subway Station. Millennium Biltmore Hotel provides on-site dining, an indoor pool, and rooms with satellite TV.
Dining options include Smeraldi’s Restaurant, serving Italian cuisine. Gallery Bar and Cognac Room features live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Decorated in rich, warm colours, the guest rooms provide a safe and a work desk. Each room has a coffee maker as well. The marble bathrooms include a hairdryer.
Guests at Biltmore Millennium Hotel can swim in the Roman-style indoor pool or relax in the hot tub. They can also work out in the gym. The hotel is within an 8-minute walk from The Museum of Contemporary Art and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Downtown LA is a great choice for travellers interested in city walks, entertainment and tourist attractions.
Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8.6 for a two-person trip.
HOTEL CASA DEL MAR
An Italian palace feel on the California beach, Casa del Mar is the other iconic Santa Monica ocean-front property along with Shutters. Rooms feel romantic yet residential, with Italian style linens and private patios facing a peaceful inner courtyard. You’ll have a coffee machine steps from the bed, large marble bathrooms with the most tasteful products, then once you’re dressed for the evening there’s live entertainment every night in the lounge. This place is always worth it: for the views, fairytale four-poster beds, and the warm light that makes the adjustment from beach to room the smoothest possible.
MONTAGE BEVERLEY HILLS
You know your stay is going to be good when you’re served Champagne upon arrival. The lobby at this Beverly Hills icon toes the line between Old World and modern, done up in marble floors, soothing earth tones, wingback chairs, and dark wood furnishings. The hotel has 201 guest rooms, including 55 suites in shades of beige and dark wood, making them feel sophisticated and not splashy. Bathrooms are marble with soaking tubs—and the higher the room tier, the nicer the bathroom. Think mosaic tiles, double sinks, showers with sitting benches, and inset televisions over the bathtub. When you’re not luxuriating in your room, make use of the on-site amenities, like the rooftop pool and its private cabanas, the 20,000-square-foot spa.
The Chateau Marmont name is famous – and infamous. Chateau has hosted Hollywood successes and scandals, triumphs and tragedies. Discreet staff will keep your secrets, and earth-quake proof buildings make sure the bungalows will survive any parties you choose to throw. But it’s not all about what happens behind closed doors: the hotel’s strengths are actually in its common areas, where wood-beamed ceilings and candle-lit corners could be filled by any A-lister (except for Lindsey Lohan, banned for life for not paying a $46,000 bill…) Stay at this Sunset Strip icon for all the privacy and unpredictability of the Hollywood life.
THE HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT
To get a sense of the place all you need to know is that The Hollywood Roosevelt hosted the first ever Academy Awards. If you want to experience Hollywood up close, this is its Times Square, complete with room views of the Hollywood sign (and soundproof walls so the hustle outside doesn’t encroach). The hotel stays alive until the wee hours—the chicken tenders and shoestring fries are always available to order, before it’s time for a morning refresher in the David Hockney-painted pool—which you might have already seen in plenty of fashion shoots over the years.
MALIBU BEACH INN
Smell the ocean from the lobby at the Malibu Beach Inn. And, because check-in happens at the driveway, you’ll have your keys in your hand before you’ve even stepped into the building. From the lobby continue to your bed and collapse onto super-soft sheets in Scandi-Japanese designed rooms, with the sounds of lapping waves sneaking in from the balcony. And while the third-floor boasts the best views, you won’t complain about any of the others as you dine on your private patio, watching the ocean shoot from pink to orange to black. Come here for laid-back, beachfront luxury.
For a low-key, personal stay in Los Angeles you can do no better. This light-filled, design-forward spot was a motel in the 1950s before a California architect and his Australian wife transformed it. Feel at ease in the cozy library, or chat it up with the staff who are Malibu natives. The roof deck is only open to hotel guests, the ocean is yards away, and Bellino linens on the beds maintain that perfect balance of luxurious yet unpretentious.
WALDORF ASTORIA BEVERLEY HILLS
Just one deep breath of the lobby’s fresh scent and you’re in vacation mode. You can find your place in the Waldorf’s lobby among couples in artfully ripped jeans and Common Projects sneakers, hot-shot agents, and meticulously maintained ladies in Chanel, or head to your spacious room (the smallest at the hotel is a whopping 630 square feet.) But don’t get too comfortable down there—the pool has one of the best views in L.A., complete with an impressive lunch menu.
THE ROSE HOTEL
The Rose Hotel’s two owners are also photographers, and the property attracts those of its kind: people who work in the arts, fashion and design. In fact, the property is so in sync with its clientele that it’s hard to tell the difference between guests and staff—the assistant GM, Eric, even teaches surf lessons to all who are interested. Rooms on the upper floor are bigger, with larger decks and amazing views, and couples and honeymooners should ask for the Simpson Suite, which has a private staircase, the best view in the house, and the biggest bed. The Rose is as close to the beach as you can get (half a block away) without staying at an actual oceanfront.
THE MAYFAIR HOTEL
This Beaux Arts–style building has been given a modern refresh courtesy of designer Gulla Jonsdottir, also the vision behind West Hollywood’s La Peer Hotel. She led the Mayfair’s multi-million-dollar, top-to-bottom renovation, which includes a chic and stately lobby with velvet sofas, marble accents, and charcoal-coloured columns. Opened in 1926, the property carries a slice of L.A. history: It played host to the first Academy Awards afterparty. Today the common areas and guest rooms are monochromatic and sexy. Don’t miss out on peeping artist Kelly “Risk” Graval’s multi-million-dollar collection throughout the property, which was produced in collaboration with artists Shepard Fairey, Geoff Melville, Richard Mirando. The world-renowned graffiti artist is a hometown hero of the Los Angeles arts scene—and it’s easy to see why. For arts and culture lovers looking to explore DTLA, the rehabbed Mayfair is a great home base.
THE RITZ-CARLTON LOS ANGELES
Smaller than most Ritz-Carlton properties, this location has a boutique feel—it’s even accessed by a separate, exclusive entrance on the side of the JW Marriott. Special touches make the property feel very L.A.: Saturday yoga classes, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a club level with skyline views, a heated rooftop pool and jacuzzi, and a glamorous full-service spa. It’s luxurious through and through and, as a bonus, you can even book your stay on points.
Editorial thanks to Conde Nast Travel