Choosing a Los Angeles Hotel
Full disclosure: I use to be the Director of PR & Communications for the famous Beverly Wilshire (A Four Seasons Hotel) in Beverly Hills, which lead to a personal effort to learn as much around the city as possible. When I first moved to Los Angeles from NYC, I realized how little I knew about how the City functioned, was laid out and how the hotels are used by locals for dining, events and spas, just as much as tourists coming to stay in them. It’s important to understand that L.A. is like a giant umbrella, and that all of the neighborhoods are like little towns, with distinct personalities and lifestyles (For first timers, I sometimes recommend staying in two different hotels/areas to really see the city – i.e. beach time in Santa Monica or Malibu or Laguna/Newport, vs central stays in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, vs staying closer to the hot restaurant action, concerts & more in Hollywood, Silver Lake and Downtown LA). There are SO many hotels in this City to accommodate the every flowing stream of national & international visitors (LA Tourism reported 48.3 million visitors in 2017) that occupancy is often low and prices are high, so it’s best to make a plan before you arrive. I cannot possible touch on all areas, but I will address the main ones while skipping a few (sorry westwood).
Before I discuss hotels, it’s important to note just how many options there are to rent houses or apartments with companies like Airbnb, One Fine Stay, Sonder, and more. For families, groups, or people planning the stay a week or more, I would highly recommend this option. It feels nice to live in a neighborhood here, have a kitchen, maybe a private pool, and there are plenty of options that will end up costing you less (*also a great option if you plan to pop out to the desert to see Palm Springs)
Central (Beverly Hills, West Hollywood)
Beverly Hills certainly boasts some of the best luxury hotels in the city, but it’s also a key area for business travelers given the central location (it also often confuses people with the many hotels with “Beverly” in its name). It isis certainly central, clean, safe and home to Rodeo Drive, but it is also very quiet at night, and not particularly interesting (with the exception of some popular local restaurants like Spago). Nearby West Hollywood offers a similar range of hotels, except more proximity to nightlife, restaurants, and a younger age set. Listing some of the more popular luxury choices below, along with some honest insight:
Beverly Wilshire (Four Seasons) – If it was good enough for “Pretty Woman”…this historic hotel sits atop of Rodeo Drive and is always buzzing with activity. Wolfgang Puck’s “CUT” is in here too.
Four Seasons Beverly Hills – Yes, there are two Four Seasons hotels in this area. This location is a celebrity favorite, has a bigger pool, but it’s off the BH strip, more towards west hollywood.
Beverly Hills Hotel – Also a glamorous historic hotel, and a favorite place to lunch at its Polo Lounge
Beverly Hilton – The Golden Globes are held here, they have the largest ballroom for events, but it’s a bit tired and needs a facelift.
Waldorf Astoria – The new arrival, and next to the Hilton, it only opened in 2017 and boasts Jean-Georges dining to boot.
Bel Air – More history, and tucked away in the hills, a much more private (& romantic) location that was recently renovated back to its former glory. Wolfgang Puck dining can be found here as well.
Montage – Spacious with a lovely courtyard, just sad that some favorite restaurants recently left the area (goodbye Bouchon), but it’s space – while newer – is a bit generic.
Peninsula – Certainly glamorous, and centrally located, and has a sense of privacy tucked away on a side street. More old school regal.
SIXTY Beverly Hills – Smaller and modern, this hotel offers a fantastic roof pool space to see BH.
Viceroy L’Emeritage – Off the beaten BH path with modern flair
Mr. C – Spacious & modern (don’t judge by the outside), this hotel is towards Pico, away from the others, FYI
SLS Beverly Hills – At the edge of Beverly Hills, more towards WeHo. Nice, but a little noisy. The Bazaar by José Andrés is in here as well.
The London – Modern option, off the main road so it offers some more quiet while staying close to everything
The Standard – Modern Option, up on Sunset with a cluster of other hotels
Sunset Marquis – Classic hotel, but I prefer the old school bar to the rooms
Chateau Marmont – Infamous, and always quite a scene, but it offers some old hollywood glamour and excellent outdoor dining & cocktailing
The Jeremy – Brand new, and soon to be part of 1 Hotel. Close to everything and a lot of space
PaliHouse – Charming, spacious suites with kitchens in an ideal location
Petit Ermitage – Small, charming & tucked away on a residential WeHo side street. European crowd and adorable roof pool and bar
There are so many hotels in this area, I can’t possible tackle them all. But these are the luxury options that get books most frequently.
Cool Central (Hollywood, Silver Lake, DTLA)
Change in this area has happened fast. And while Hollywood is still cleaning up, many businesses and condos, which I recently wrote about on Medium.
Dream Hotel – Tao Group set up a new complex in Hollywood, complete with it’s restaurants and bars Avenue, Tao, Beauty & Essex and more
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – While is is a historic hotel, I would skip it based on the location and traffic, unless that’s what you want
Kimpton Everly – Brand new hotel just down the street from the Pantages theater and across from the infamous Capitol Records building. If you have business in Hollywood, this is a good choice. It’s Jane Q cafe is good too.
Villa Carlotta – This historic building in Beachwood Canyon & Franklin Village, was recently renovated into long-stay “hotel residential living’. The price will set you back, but given it is geared to the movie people for multiple month stays, the amazing renovations makes it worth looking into
Nomad LA (dtla) – Brand new and gorgeous, like it’s NY location, but far larger and built in an old Bank. The entry is a busy, open bar and restaurant making it all the more fun
Ace Hotel (dtla) – Nearby and also in a historic building, complete with a huge theatre for events
Ritz Carlton (dtla) – A huge complex, conveniently next to the Staples Center
Beach Stays – North (Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu)
Shutters on the beach – The Classic, and wonderful for honeymooners. Located right off of the beach in Santa Monica
Fairmont Miramar – A popular choice, also right across from the beach and complete with the
Nobu Ryokan Malibu – Yes, that Nobu. Featuring only 16 oceanfront rooms built right into the sand
Malibu Beach Inn – luxury oceanfront with elegantly-appointed guestrooms
Hotel Shangri-La – Art Deco landmark features ocean views and cool breezes from every room
Ocean Beach Club Hotel – Modern amenities and a beach setting
Casa Del Mar – Historical beach club hotel
Ritz Carlton, Marina del-ray – The location is a bit isolated in this part of town but it’s a large hotel, with a great pool and spa
Beach Stays – South (Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Laguna, Newport)
I’ll be honest, I don’t normally go down here myself unless it’s for a full weekend getaway (and I am also not included Anaheim/Disneyland stays), but there are some gems here, with lovely beach proximity and charming towns.
Montage Laguna Beach – A spectacular luxury hotel getaway, but it will cost you
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa – Near Fashion Island, and offers a fantastic spa
The Resort At Pelican Hill – Five-star golf and spa resort, with Pacific Ocean views
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort – ocean view rooms, local California cuisine, resort-style pools & spa