What’s New & Great in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, you may have heard, is having a renaissance. We’re not talking about an art renaissance. Or a snout-to-tail restaurant renaissance. Or a cute boutique hotel renaissance. We’re talking capital R Renaissance: the all of the above kind. While many of us were focusing on new bistros in Paris or great music in Nashville, Los Angeles, quietly, stealthily, redefined itself. And a groundswell of cool has taken over. As more East Coasters move out here, they’re bringing their beloved NYC institutions with them (looking at you, Employees Only and Apotheke), and those places are standing cheek by jowl next to true Los Angeles institutions: Botanica, Mh Zh, and the latest from the couple behind Bestia, Bavel. And in a city known for old-school, over-the-top hotels, there’s a new crop of contenders forcing the old-timers to step up their game. Speaking of old-timers: We’re also giving much love to the long-standing favorites that we missed in the past. Make no mistake: The Los Angeles you know is still there. It’s just cooler and tastier, and it comes with a whole lot more chutzpah. (For all of our neighborhood- and personality-driven guides, see here.)
Freehand LA416 W. 8th St | 213.612.0021
The Freehand is a thoroughly modern, chic hotel in DTLA. Yes, some of the rooms are shared accommodation, but they feel more like stylish cabins with rustic wooden bunk beds, colorful quilts, and chic tiled bathrooms. The décor is full of personality, with quirky details, like pink loungers by the rooftop pool and a wooden hut for a cocktail bar—a James Beard finalist for best American bar, no less.
Dream Hotel Hollywood6417 Selma Ave., Hollywood | 323.844.6417
Sitting at the foot of Runyon Canyon, the LA outpost of the Dream Hotel can’t be beat for convenience. Aside from the on-site restaurants and bars, which are great, the most notable takeaway is the hotel gym: not the usual handful of treadmills and sad weight station, but rather a custom Gunnar Peterson–designed workout space with every bell and whistle you could want. In true LA fashion, there’s also a rooftop pool with views of the hills. The entire place is bright and green, with natural wood furnishings throughout. The guest rooms are on the modern side, with huge beds (by hotel standards, at least), roomy seating areas, and beautiful bathrooms with glass-encased rainfall showers and the plushest bathrobes. The LA Metro is a few steps away, but for anyone in a rush (or with kids) the complimentary car service is a godsend.
Avalon Hotel9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills | 310.277.5221
Originally called the Beverly Carlton when it opened its doors back in 1949, the Avalon was recently remodeled by LA designer Kelly Wearstler to become the ultimate staycation spot in Beverly Hills. (Visitors should consider staying here, too, but it’s the locals who are especially psyched for somewhere fun to escape for a night or two.) The mid-century modern décor takes you back to a time when Marilyn Monroe called this boutique hotel her home. The pool and cabanas are a great place to relax with a mimosa in hand—even the guest rooms feel light and airy. Because of the emphasis on outdoor space, it may be best to plan your stay during the warmer spring or summer season.
La Peer Hotel627 North La Peer Dr., West Hollywood | 213) 296-3038
Over the last decade, Los Angeles has outgrown its one-industry city image, and West Hollywood is a big reason why. At its center sits La Peer Hotel, tucked into its namesake street between Melrose and Santa Monica Boulevards. From here, you can walk to some of LA's best mid-century modern furniture shops, interior design offices, home accessory stores, and the Pacific Design Center. This focus on good design bleeds into the hotel itself, by way of custom couches, Moroccan tiling, cool grey and white finishes, and a beautiful back patio. Each room is outfitted with considered details, including embroidered wall art and a large soaking tub. Given its proximity to excellent food and entertainment (goop favorite Gracias Madre is around the corner), it's surprising how quiet a stay here can be. Be sure to book a table at Viale dei Romani, the in-house Italian-meets-Moroccan restaurant, for wood-fired seafood and some of the best pizza in town.
The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles649 S. Olive St., Downtown | 213.358.0000
You know a hotel is doing something right when the locals are rushing to book staycations. that's exactly what happened when New York's NoMad made its way to LA. The LA outpost is in a former bank building on Olive Street (the massive vault in the basement now leads to the restrooms), and the lushly decorated ground floor is where you'll find the lobby restaurant and coffee shop. Both are excellent, but for dinner, you want to be up in the Mezzanine. The rooms, with their freestanding tubs, marble counters, and floral fainting couches, have been known to send overnight guests home with heads full of redecorating plans. And while room service is as standard a room amenity as, say, a flat-screen TV, here the experience is elevated to an art form. Everything on the menu is a slam dunk—though several goop staffers have come back from staycations waxing poetic about the breakfast sandwich.