It’s a cliché, but like most megacities and their hotels, there really is something for everyone in Los Angeles. Because of what it is, the room prices veer towards the pricy, but when it comes to range LA is nigh on unbeatable. Here’s our list of the best ten across neighbourhoods – the quirky, iconic, luxurious and homely. Please share this article with any friends or family who might be planning on visiting the City of Angels soon.
The Surfrider Malibu
If you’re on the lookout for something less grandiose or redolent of old-school Hollywood then The Surfrider Malibu could well be your dream hotel. Inspired less by Hollywood iconography than the outsider heritage of Californian surf culture (which, of course, encompasses Malibu’s historic surfing community through the decades), the original 1950s motel has recently been transformed – and not only the design. The hotel’s culinary aesthetic is “anti-hotel food”, which means menus that are Coastal-Californian with a sharp focus on sustainable, organic and locally sourced produce.
Palihouse Santa Monica
In existence as a hotel since 1927, the general pitch of Palihouse Santa Monica is that it is neither a luxury residence nor a boutique hotel but rather a blend of both. Long since designated a Santa Monica Historic Landmark, the hotel (to be more precise, an urban/long-stay country estate) is a few minutes walk away from the energetic Third Street Promenade. There is no gym or swimming pool (the beach is a few blocks away), no restaurant or bar, but with gazillions of food/bar options very close by you’re not going to miss such usual on-site facilities. Rather, it is something of a throwback and, let it be said, a little bit different from chic, high-end places. Which is exactly the reason why so many people love it.
Hotel Casa del Mar
Blending Santa Monica’s sandy beach vibe with Italian Renaissance sensibilities, this ocean front hotel – regarded as the best-located in town – has recently undergone a seriously contemporary refresh by interior designer Michael S. Smith. From the ocean view lobby and lounge to the rooms and suites (not forgetting three penthouses), Casa del Mar ticks the quality boxes. One of the hotel’s unique aspects is its relationship with LA artist Jules Muck, whose temporary murals have adorned its walls and whose designed menus have to be replaced regularly because guests deliberately ‘walk away’ with them!
“And the Lifetime Achievement Oscar goes to the Chateau Marmont…” At the venerable age of 90, this LA Grande Dame is a unique hotel in a unique city. With a television series about its history and secrets in development, as well as a book just published about it, it really is as simple as this: you can’t come up with a list of hotels in LA (or, indeed, the USA) without writing about the Chateau Marmont. Part legend, part private palace, part movie/rock star party crash pad (film director Sofia Coppola shot most of her 2010 movie, Somewhere, in Room 59), and part folklore, you might not be smothered in luxury, but you’ll never forget that you once stayed here.
One of nine luxury (and, blimey, do we mean luxury) hotels operated by the Dorchester Collection, this incredibly private boutique home for the extremely rich was built as a sumptuous retreat for movie stars, celebrities, and other high-powered guests. Set on 12 curving acres in the titular residential area, with over 100 rooms (over 40 of which are suites), the hotel’s theme is that of an oasis: lofty palm trees, a profusion of flowers, a footbridge and a lake (with swans, naturally). This being LA, the signature restaurant (Wolfgang Puck; restyled by the acclaimed designer David Rockwell) is totally al fresco.
Malibu Beach Inn
Twenty minutes drive from LAX, a two-minute walk from a Nobu restaurant, and seconds away from the beach, Malibu Beach Inn is many things to many people: hip, sleekly designed, reclusive and modern. It’s a small hotel in comparison to others mentioned here (no fitness centre or swimming pool – in fairness, options for each are on the doorstep), but all 45-plus rooms (all with pull-out couch beds) have wonderful ocean views. Nautical colour tones (blue, grey, white) give the rooms a lovely Scandi feel, while the loos have something we very much want at home: the moment you step into the bathroom the toilet seat warms up. Far from it we were raised, or what?
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
This hotel is quite different from others written about here: it is, relatively speaking, a new build, having opened about two years ago. Despite its recent arrival, however, it is widely viewed as the best luxury and most technologically advanced hotel in LA. The reasons for this are obvious: modernity for one, but also through an inspirational interior design (by Pierre-Yves Rochon), a considered food programme (by superstar chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichton), spa facilities (La Prairie, exclusive to this hotel in LA), and very clever use of personalised text messaging (to your allocated concierge team) for anything a hotel guest might need.
Kimpton La Peer Hotel
Located in West Hollywood (effectively, a city within a somewhat more sprawling city, and known to locals as WeHo), Kimpton La Peer is part of a hotel chain that is unusually attuned to locality and community. With just over 100 pacifying rooms, the level of charm and hospitality at this new-ish hotel is abundantly clear as soon as you enter (complimentary treats and homemade lemonade at a counter in the main reception area). With substantially sized rooms (including a top-floor penthouse for the high rollers) and a terrific Italian restaurant, Viale dei Romani, you have luxury at hand while outside is real individuality with eateries, art galleries, bars and restaurants.
Staying with West Hollywood, and sticking with that area’s idiosyncratic and brilliantly bohemian demeanour, let me in introduce you to a real hidden gem. Situated in a small side street, enveloped by shrubs and plants, this is the place you want to stay if you’re after complimentary yoga, al fresco movie screenings (with popcorn and cocktails), decidedly quirky rooms, and one of LA’s best bars – the Butterfly Bar. Seeing is believing. Believing is checking in. Don’t say you weren’t told!
Sunset Tower Hotel
Some hotels are more than just nice places to lay your head for a few days – take, for a perfect example, the Sunset Tower Hotel. Located on Sunset Boulevard (where else?), it was designed in 1929, and instantly became a Hollywood landmark with classic Art Deco stylings and magnet-like attraction to movie stars. These days, the star names may have changed but, with a multi-million-dollar facelift last year, they still come here to stay or to sample a cocktail at the hotel’s splendid Tower Bar. There is privacy, too, for the residents of the 80-plus sophisticated bedrooms: the hotel’s ‘no photos, no phone calls’ policy makes sure of that. Sign us up, sweetie.
WRITTEN BY TONY CLAYTON-LEA