LA’s Coolest Hotels

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The sunrise view from my room at Terranea.

After years of updating Fodor’s San Francisco’s lodging section, this year, I got the gig to update the LA guide’s hotel chapter. And all I have to say is…WOW.

I’ve said for a long time that San Francisco’s hotel scene doesn’t have many properties that blow my mind. Sure there’s the upscale heavy hitters like the Mandarin and St. Regis; and yes, there is a slew of JDV’s funky joints like the Phoenix. Sure, Hotel Boheme and Inn at the Presidio are quite lovely.

But in the end, I’ve always felt that SF hotels are fine, but not mind-blowing.

And I was right!

After a few months of bouncing around LA hotels, touring almost 150 properties, I have to say that my insight was spot on–while LA and SF sure can battle it out for the right to call itself the coolest California city, LA sure does win in the hotel department. 

Here are some of my favorites.

To call Palihouse an empire might be stretching it a bit, but I do fancy this outfits cheekiness; it’s playfulness; and most of all the way the designers stitch together odds and ends to craft a winning look. The Palihouses all rock kitchens, while Palihotel is a great choice for budget seekers.

Redbury has been getting Fodor’s love for years, and for a good reason: this Hollywood property caters to musicians and hipsters without feeling too contrived. And you gotta love a hotel room with a stripper pole in the middle of it!

In West Hollywood, the musician favorite Sunset Marquis was surprisingly lovely. In spite of the storied history–this was where Courtney Love was when she learned of Kurt Cobain’s death, the hotel feels like a retreat from LA’s scene. The attentive staff, the lush gardens and the giant bathtub in the villas are just some of the allure.

If you are going to splurge, wind through Bel Air to the luxurious Hotel Bel Air, one of the prettiest and classiest properties I visited. Sure it’ll cost you your kids’ college funds to stay a night, but you only live once, right? And why not tell your kiddo that you ruined their chance at an education so you could rub elbows with the dignitaries???

Finally, my new favorite hotel in LA is the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Sure it feels like a Hawaii resort, and yes, it doesn’t boast a sandy beach, but the mellow vibe, the walking trails along the cliffs to rocky coves, and the huge pool works just fine for a quick getaway.

Now that I am in LA, I’m on the prowl for the next great property to open. I have big hopes for The Line.

What’s your favorite LA hotel?

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