Our guide to Los Angeles gives you a slice of what we think best captures the essence of the City of Angels and the best hotels in Los Angeles.
The Hotel Bel-Air
If your idea of a perfect city hotel is one that instils a sense of peace and tranquillity far away from the crowds and congestion but close enough to dive into the action when you need to, then this is the place for you.
The Hotel Bel-Air is nestled in the lush green neighbourhood of Bel-Air, spread over 12 acres of stunning foliage and a truly beautiful landscape. Your neighbours at the Hotel Bel-Air are multi-million dollar mansions without a shopping mall, office building or nightclub in sight.
Hotel Bel-Air has recently undergone a total renovation of its interior spaces, which now serve as a stark juxtaposition to its historic exterior.
Hotel Bel-Air’s 58 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in neutral tones and rich fabrics with sleek marble floors, high-end modern furniture and the latest gadgets (Bang & Olufson entertainment centres and a dedicated iPad for each room that between them control the temperature, draw the curtains, order room service and probably much more).
Having visited pre-refurb, The Hotel Bel-Air stuck in my mind as one of the most enchanting hotels I had ever visited, certainly one of the best hotels in Los Angeles, partly because of its exterior and setting.
Thankfully, the buildings, the grounds and the pool remain as they have for years – low lying Spanish missionary style buildings are positioned in a lush landscape of mature plantings that offer shade from the scorching Californian sun.
The oval pool remains as the centre of the action and serves as a reminder that service is of paramount importance at The Hotel Bel-Air. Guests are presented with hourly complimentary amenities like frozen fruits and iced lollies. It’s true that the little things can make a big difference
As part of the renovations, the restaurant was updated with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck now at the helm, offering a classic Californian menu with a real master’s touch.
Seeing the man himself work the room on two separate visits reinforced that this a serious destination restaurant in itself. The space is part indoors and part under a retractable roof, which maximises the magical setting in the middle of the hotel.
Hotel Bel-Air is virtually flawless (my only complaint being the addition of a TV in the bar area) and is the perfect way to combine a relaxing retreat with a city visit.
The stunning scenery, excellent service and gorgeous design make a truly special hotel and my choice of the best hotel in Los Angeles.
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows
Nothing embodies the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles more than the iconic pink structure of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Now celebrating its 100 year anniversary, the Beverly Hills hotel has seen starlets lounging by the pool, media moguls finalising deals over a power lunch at the hotel’s restaurant, the Polo Lounge, and debauched rock star parties in the highly discreet and hidden bungalows.
The rooms at the Beverly Hills hotel are designed in traditional 5 star luxury hotel design, which is comfortable but not particularly modern or remarkable.
The rooms are due for a refurbishment in stages over the next few years (2012 to 2014), and if the recently revamped lobby is a good indicator, the rooms will soon be stylish, modern and classy.
The bungalows are a unique feature of the Beverly Hills Hotel offering privacy, space and discretion.
The grounds are the Beverly Hills hotel’s most stunning feature and are the setting for the heart and soul of the hotel – the swimming pool.
The pool area operates a strict guest-only policy but once in, stretching out on a green and white striped lounger with a cold drink in hand in view of the pink hotel and towering palm trees in the background with a buzz all around you is as LA as it gets.
The Polo Lounge is the ideal setting for an evening cocktail to revel in true Hollywood glamour, and if you’re offered one of the booths, you know you’ve made it.
The poolside Cabana Café is a relaxed but stylish alternative with a menu of classic American dishes to refuel in between dips in the pool. Just make sure to be discreet when you spot an A lister in the corner.
The Beverly Hills Hotel with its glamorous past is a true contender to the title of the best hotels in Los Angeles.
For those craving to be in the centre of the nightlife in West Hollywood, the Chateau Marmont is our top pick. Slightly less obvious than the other hotels on the Sunset Strip, the Chateau Marmont manages to provide its guests with just the right mix of party scene by night and privacy by day.
Chateau Marmont is owned by hotelier Andre Balazs, who recently opened Chiltern Firehouse in London.
Shutters on the Beach
For some, a stay in LA is incomplete without direct access to the Pacific Ocean, which would necessitate a stay in Santa Monica.
There is no better hotel that captures upscale Americana by the sea than Shutters on the Beach, which is designed in subtle tones and New England style architecture right on the beach. Clik to read our review of Shutters on the Beach.
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