Travel

Los Angeles Hotels

Establishment neighborhood
Proper Hotel
700 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
We heard rumors of designer Kelly Wearstler’s lofty goals for the interiors of the Santa Monica Proper, the new hotel from her and Proper Hospitality, the hotel brand led by Wearstler's developer husband Brad Korzen and his founding partners. But nothing hinted at how stunning it would be. Wearstler has designed a breezy, maritime-inspired space that transports you to a seaside villa the moment you walk in. She outfitted the lobby with elements that speak to the coast (a carved front desk that echoes the shape of a seashell, art backed with sand, flooring that gives a bird’s-eye view of a beach umbrella) and married those with bold, eclectic accents (giant archways in Douglas fir and marble and gorgeous ’70s art) that only Wearstler could pull off. The greatest feat here is the synergy between the hotel's two buildings: One is brand-new and sculptural; the other dates back to the 1920s and boasts a vintage patina with gorgeous original iron-clad windows. The aesthetic of the guest rooms varies depending on the building but are all anchored by gorgeous elements—glossy tiles, giant tufted headboards that look like the sunset, bespoke…
Firehouse Hotel
710 S Santa Fe Ave., Arts District
It’s as improbable as it is genius: Take an Arts District firehouse that was built in 1927 and served for half a century as a firehouse and transform it into a hipster paradise. That’s the general story behind the Firehouse Hotel. From the outside, it’s still a 1927 firehouse, but inside, it’s everything but. Rooms are unique and lofty and named for colors. The Black Room is especially intriguing. The restaurant plays all the greatest hits (classic burger and fries, whole branzino, etc.), and every detail—from the firepit to the bistro lights to the industrial bar—is a study in design as atmosphere.
Villa Carlotta
5959 Franklin Ave., Franklin Village
We have long bemoaned the fact the LA’s Eastside is surprisingly short on hotels and extended stay residences, Villa Carlotta slides stylishly and seamlessly into that much-needed space. The concept is clever and contemporary. For the multitudes looking to do a stint in the city that’s longer than a holiday but not long enough to merit a committment, Villa Carlotta delivers the local experience of rooming in the heart of Franklin Village (it’s one of the few zip codes in town that feels neighborhood-y, with restaurants, ice-cream, and an actual magazine kiosk, all on one street), supplemented with the conveniences of a luxury hotel. There’s a concierge to pin down elusive reservations, a rooftop for kibitzing with friends, a laundry service, a pool (a pool!), and adorably, a spot to park your bike: The tree-lined streets of Franklin are made for cycling to the bakery for your daily sourdough.
Palihotel Culver City
3927 Van Buren Pl., Culver City
It feels like every time we loop through Culver City, the cityscape has changed. Literally. New towers and rooftops and parking lots are quickly swallowing up desirable chunks of real estate surrounding Platform. We craned our necks, parked the car, and rushed into the lobby when we saw that one of these new structures was a Palihotel. Tucked behind the ArcLight, the Art Deco forty-nine-roomer is a stunner. Guest rooms are dressed up in cozy tartans, warm woods, and clean white subway tiles with the kind of contemporary art and photography you wish were shoppable. Restaurant Simonette echoes a swish French brasserie, and the bar and lounge areas are retro and so cool. The mid-century modern sofas demand a faceplant, or at least some postwork wine with a colleague, and the inner courtyard—shaded by a lone, towering tree—is one of the most serene in the city.
Hotel Covell
4626 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz
Imagine a hotel that’s more like nine hipster apartments—SMEG refrigerators, Chemex coffee makers, vintage record players, hardwood floors, and if that’s not enough, McClure’s Spicy Potato Chips in the minibars. Where would you imagine such a hotel? Brooklyn maybe? Close. This one is where Los Feliz bumps up into Silver Lake—basically the Brooklyn of Los Angeles. Hotel Covell is named for author George Covell. And the whole places oozes coolness, but not in an annoying way. More like in the way that the coffee is fantastic and the crowd appreciates ironic eyewear. All the rooms are comfortable and inviting, but we have it on good authority that the Parisian Atelier, with its views of the Griffith Observatory, will not disappoint.
Level
888 S Olive St., Downtown
Level is advertised as a luxury furnished apartment complex, which it is. But we've discovered it's also one of downtown LA's best secrets for a hotel stay. First off, it's immaculate. The design is modern, and the amenities are pristine—there's giant gym and a gorgeous rooftop pool with an area for screening movies. And second, we might actually be more inclined to stay here than at a traditional hotel. Each room has a full working kitchen, a washer and dryer, and a view that looks like the entire southern half of California. And it's located in walking distance of LA Live and some of downtown's best restaurants and bars.
Hotel Casa del Mar
1910 Ocean Wy., Santa Monica
If your kids are on the older side and can entertain themselves, the cocoon-like spa at Casa del Mar is tough to beat (the Soothing Waves at Sea treatment uses lavender from Malibu and warm rose stones), and the candlelit terrace is especially mesmerizing for evening drinks. Guest rooms have a similar vibe to Shutters in that they’re light-soaked and stay-forever comfortable with massive beds and bathrooms the size of bungalows. The hotel started as a palatial beach club back in the roaring ’20s, and there’s an old-world LA charm to the place that makes you want to drink champagne, dress for dinner, and pretend it’s 1929 again.
The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles
649 S. Olive St., Downtown
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.
Mama Shelter
6500 Selma Ave., Hollywood
LA abounds with rooftop bars, but even Westsiders will make the pilgrimage east for a night at Mama Shelter. There's just something about it. Maybe it's the direct view of the sun setting over the Hollywood sign, maybe it's those rainbow-striped loungers you sink into, or maybe it's the tunes spun nightly by the DJ. Arrive before dusk—especially on particularly balmy LA nights—and take over a corner with a crowd of friends. The barmen are some of the best in town (Y Tu Mama' Tambien is the spicy mezcal cocktail to order), and those panoramic views will keep you spellbound until last call.
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