The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows (9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-276-2251) is famed for its private cottages. But it’s also just as well-known for its pale pink coloring and the legendary Polo Lounge–still a power-broker spot after all these years. The bungalows are known for housing celebrities, the tropical gardens are gorgeous and the rooms are elegant and have extra comfy beds. Add impeccable service and you have a place that’s every bit as magical as you hope it to be.
The unusually spacious guest rooms and suites at Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills (9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, 310-278-3344 ) draw guests who appreciate the hotel’s space and quiet, intimate atmosphere. The Peninsula Beverly Hills (9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-551-2888) recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, adding cutting edge technologies to rooms that were already some of the plushest in town. Montage Beverly Hills (225 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-860-7800), a Spanish Colonial-Revival style luxury property, delivers a great location right in Beverly Hills, a top-notch spa and supremely comfortable rooms.
Among the city’s most iconic hotels is the The Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel (9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-275-5200; ). When Warren Beatty was a swinging bachelor during the ’60s and ’70s, he lived at the hotel for nearly 15 years. This spot was also made famous when it was featured in the film Pretty Woman. It’s still one of the top hotels in the city, with great restaurants and an unbeatable location at the mouth of Rodeo Drive.
For a lively scene book a room at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-466-7000). The lavish Art Deco lobby frequently hosts after-parties for movie premieres, and its refurbished old Hollywood celebrity suites are used by current A-listers for award show preparation. Celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie often eat in the restaurants, and The Tropicana Bar has hosted the cast of Entourage. Or check out the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Midtown, 310-247-0400), the first hotel from Sam Nazarian, owner of hospitality giant SBE. He’s launched most of L.A.’s hottest restaurants and clubs, and the SLS is the place to drink and eat in the city right now.
If poolside relaxation tops your to-do list, The Beverly Hilton‘s (9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-274-7777) enormous Aqua Star pool is the place to be. The pool has been a hot spot since 1955, and even today is often filled with sunning executives who appreciate the wireless Internet.
Perhaps L.A.’s most unique decor can be found at Palihouse Holloway (8465 Holloway Drive, West Hollywood, 323-656-4100). Entering this longer-term, lodge-style hotel is like discovering a private club. The furnishings are distinctive, with an eclectic living-room-style lounge with distressed leather chairs and unusual relics. Rooms have rain showers and hardwood floors, and amenities include a washer and dryer and a cleaning supply kit.
Top boutique hotels include the London West Hollywood (1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-854-1111). The sibling of sister property The London NYC has been revamped with Hollywood glamour in mind. The spectacular views are still there, but now the rich brown-and-cream rooms have Waterworks jet and raindrop shower heads, gadget docking stations and an open floor plan.
When presidents come to town, they check into the enormous Hyatt Regency Century Plaza (2025 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, 310-228-1234). After just completing a significant renovation, the swanky spot features brand-new suites, which include the use of the Regency Club (a private lounge with complimentary refreshments) and a new pool and deck with posh cabanas. You can hang out in the new Lobby Court and Patio for afternoon coffee or evening cocktails, or hit the new X bar to nibble on tapas amid outdoor fire pits and greenery. The best perk is the adjoining multi-tiered Equinox Fitness Club + Spa, the company’s West Coast flagship gym (although there is a $20 fee to access the club, unless you have a spa treatment booked).
Beach bums should book at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel (1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-458-6700). One of the bigger hotels in the area, it stands tall along the ocean. From your room, look out onto white sand and blue water, sparkling cityscape, or even–from the Presidential Suite–the entire Santa Monica Pier, complete with nostalgia-inducing Ferris wheel. Before Manhattan Beach visitors could take refuge in the Shade Hotel (1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, 310-546-4995), the beach town didn’t have a luxury hipster hotel. Now, lobby bar Zinc Lounge has become the place to party in Manhattan Beach, and rooms book up for the Tempur-Pedic mattresses, fireplaces and Lavazza espresso machines.
Movie buffs will love Chateau Marmont Hotel and Bungalows (8221 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-656-1010). Sophia Coppola recently wrapped a movie that was filmed here, set for release in December 2010, titled Somewhere. Numerous movies have been filmed at Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles (506 S. Grand Ave., Downtown, 213-624-1011), including scenes from Wedding Crashers, Spiderman, Ocean’s 11, Ghostbusters, Splash and Rumor Has It. The hotel also hosted eight Oscar ceremonies in the ’30s and ’40s; in 1960 JFK turned the Music Room into his headquarters for the DNC; and in 1964 the Beatles landed on the rooftop in a helicopter and stayed in the presidential suite while on their first U.S. tour.