Star struck: the best luxury hotels in Los Angeles for 2017
Los Angeles has always been famous for its hotels and for the certain itinerant creative class that frequents them. But in the last decade, an intriguing new batch of refurbishments have transformed the city’s older buildings, injecting last century’s architectural styles with a shot of contemporary appeal. Here are the eight best hotels to visit now.
‘If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont,’ goes the advice for young actors, which is as true now as it was when it was first uttered by a studio executive in 1939. The deliberately louche nature of the accommodations, supported by soundproof walls and an indiscretion blacklist, is part of the enduring appeal. Name-checked by a certain type of world-weary artist from the singer Jim Morrison (who once said the hotel used up ‘the eighth of his nine lives’) to the director Sofia Coppola, the restaurant and bar attract a crowd looking to create their own lore.
8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90046; tel: 1.323 656 1010; www.chateaumarmont.com
Photography: Nicolas Koenig
Offering extended stays, these two locations provide the small luxuries that a person could get used to, even on short visits. With pied-à-terre sized accommodations (no room smaller than 600 sq ft) and boutique hotel amenities, the overall mood is very continental grand tour, with Chesterfield sofas mixed with touches of eccentricity in vintage oil paintings and Persian rugs.
1001 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90046; www.palihouse.com
The first US outpost of the French boutique hotel chain owned by the Trigano family (of Club Med fame), this six-storey site designed by Thierry Gaugain takes a cue from its eclectic neighbourhood, where Hollywood meets its underbelly. The ceiling of the restaurant is graffitied with tributes to mothers by Los Angeles-based artists, and tipples are named after movies with a maternal bent, like the Mamma Mia! with vodka, almond syrup and cherry bitters. Ask for a room with a view of the Hollywood sign and pore over the scripts left bedside – this town’s version of the nightstand holy bible.
6500 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028; tel: 1.323 785 6666; www.mamashelter.com
In a mid-century concrete building with Sean Knibb interiors, each room at this Koreatown hotel features pieces from emerging artists. The greenhouse-inspired restaurant, Commissary, looks out onto the pool, while a ground floor Korean hot-pot spot provides evening fortification for private karaoke in the suites. North-facing rooms offer a view of the Hollywood Hills, while south-facing rooms catch a sightline of planes making their descent into LAX.
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010; tel: 1.213 381 7411; thelinehotel.com
Photography: Adrian Gaut
Ace Hotel Downtown LA
Arguably the project that tipped downtown Los Angeles into full-blown destination, the Ace Hotel and its Commune-conceived spaces have been so influential on the surrounding neighbourhood that it is already starting to feel like a historic institution, despite opening only three years ago. While most guests head poolside, to perch on minimalist furnishings designed by the artist Alma Allen, the restored 1,600-seat theatre anchoring the former United Artists’ headquarters is a must-peek example of ornate Spanish Gothic style.
929 South Broadway; tel: 1.213 623 3233; www.acehotel.com
Some of the rooms at this downtown hotel may have bunk beds, but the overall feeling is anything but hostel. For the Sydell group and the billionaire Ron Burkle’s investment company, the design team Roman & Williams took the steel-and-concrete Commercial Exchange building and warmed up the 12 floors of former offices with California craftsman touches like wooden fixtures and green penny tile. The restaurant serves inventive modern Israeli food.
416 W 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014; tel: 1.213 612 0021; freehandhotels.com
Photography: Adrian Gaut
Like Palm Springs in the desert, the Avalon hotel is an oasis in Beverly Hills that doesn’t shy away from mid-century style. The interior designer Kelly Wearstler, who has overseen two revamps of the property, most recently layered a distinctive mix of her own inspirations and 20th-century vintage, like Carlo de Carli settees and gold Warren Platner chairs, while Gio Ponti-esque trompe l’oeil murals surround the mod hourglass shaped pool.
9400 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; tel: 1.310 277 5221; www.avalon-hotel.com
True to its name, the downtown location remains a go-to despite upstart competition from the nearby Ace. In the slick former oil headquarters designed by architects Koning Eizenberg, double entendres abound, like room keys instructing you to ‘slip it in’. The camp feel extends to the West Hollywood location, with a sixties shag lobby and a model in a human-sized fishbowl behind the check-in counter.
550 S Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071; tel: 1.213 8928080; www.standardhotels.com
This boutique property in Los Feliz by interior designer Sally Breer has just five suites, each conceived as a ‘chapter’ in the life of a well-travelled literary type. The story in the 1920s building starts with a vaguely midwestern ‘Chapter 1’ before progressing through swinging bachelorhood into the more subdued tones of adulthood. Accommodations combine the panache of French modernist-inspired fixtures with vintage furnishings, a warm, well-lived vibe continuing into the happening downstairs wine bar.
4626 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027; tel: 1.323 660 4300; hotelcovell.com