Los Angeles Hotels
9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills
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 stay-cation 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 midcentury 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 guestrooms feel light and airy. Because of the emphasis on outdoor space, it may be best to plan your stay during the warmer spring/summer season.
819 N. Sweetzer Ave., West Hollywood
Though it's just steps from the neon-lit Sunset Strip, the quaint, hidden Charlie Hotel is a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of the city; it blends into the neighborhood, so it's largely unknown, even to locals. The cozy spot is low on amenities—you won't find a pool or spa—but what it lacks in extravagance it more than makes up for in charm. The hotel itself is made up of 14 West Hollywood bungalows, each outfitted with a full kitchen (several have multiple bedrooms), painstakingly restored and tastefully decorated by loving hotelier Menachem Treivush, who rescued the site from demolition in 2002. Cottages are named after some of the Hollywood luminaries who lived in them in the early Hollywood days—the hotel itself is named after Charlie Chaplin, who lived here back in the '20s when it originally opened.
8221 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Originally constructed in the ‘30s as an opulent apartment building (its design takes after the Gothic chateaus of the Loire Valley), the Chateau quickly morphed into a hotel. It has official historic landmark status for a million reasons: It’s played host to everyone in Hollywood (sadly, John Belushi died here), and despite an André Balazs re-do in the ‘90s, it still feels wonderfully old-world. Its popularity has never waned, to the extent that you generally can’t grab a bite or a drink here unless you’re checked-in, or meeting a guest. Images: Nikolas Koenig
Dream Hotel Hollywood
6417 Selma Ave., Hollywood
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 guestrooms 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.
416 W. 8th St
The Freehand is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the hostel-meets-hotel concept in DTLA.
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
This is inarguably a hotel for people who like to stay up late. Check out The Spare Room, a clubby bar complete with bowling lanes, or take a dip in the super-sleek swimming pool. Come evening, this pool is central to the hotel's Tropicana nightclub, where the party always lasts until the wee hours.
701 Stone Canyon Rd., Beverly Hills
With a guest list that ranged from Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, to Prince Charles and Richard Nixon (randomly, he wrote his memoirs here), it's not that surprising that after a comprehensive remodel in 2011, people were upset that Hotel Bel-Air wasn't exactly the same. But we still love it: We just don't go there expecting to see the original. The lobby, in particular, is so chic, and the Wolfgang Puck restaurant is a great pick for an event.
La Peer Hotel
627 North La Peer Dr., West Hollywood
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 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.
Montage Beverly Hills
225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills
Plush Spanish colonial décor blends well with high-tech features (electronically controlled lights and drapes, huge LCD televisions, and iPod docking stations) to make this a slick but overwhelmingly comfortable stay. The elegant Scarpetta restaurant, an off-shoot of Scott Conant's Italian of the same name in New York, is a really special place to dine after a day of treatments in the two-story spa. For this much luxury, expect a luxury room rate.
Oceana Beach Club Hotel
849 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica
A pale exterior, mid-century furniture, and a courtyard swimming pool make this 70-room boutique hotel—right across the street from the beachside bluffs at Palisades Park—feel like classic Santa Monica. What sets the Oceana apart, though, are its spacious (and reasonably priced) suites, which include living rooms with queen-sized sofa beds, private balconies, workstations, and well-equipped kitchenettes, making them great for families and extended stays. If you’re going to stay by the beach, Oceana is in a prime location: it’s both a short walk away from the shops on Montana and just removed enough from the chaos of the Promenade. In-suite spa treatments, private yoga sessions, guided hikes of nearby Temescal Canyon, and complimentary Saturday surf lessons sweeten the deal.
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