T + L Checks In: Scoping Out The $25 Million Transformation of W West Beverly Hills
An all-suite retreat with show-stopping contemporary design and a lounge-y “Living Room” lobby with live DJs.
Although it’s billed as the W West Beverly Hills, the hotel—which launched in 1999 as the fifth W in the global brand’s portfolio—is most assuredly in the heart of Westwood. (There is no such place as West Beverly Hills.) It’s adjacent to the dining and shopping-centric Westwood Village, the Hammer Museum, and the UCLA campus. (Fun fact: In the 1970s, the hotel was a university dorm.)
The recent renovation added 39 new rooms for a total of 297. Entry-level “Wonderful” and “Fantastic” studios start at a spacious 400 square feet. Our “Fabulous” suite was a whopping 800 square feet, with a living room, master bedroom, and guest quarters with a Murphy bed. We loved the ombre side tables, the faux silver leaf bathroom wallpaper, and the backlit floor-to-ceiling headboard.
Party in the front; business in the back. With its glass waterfall entry stairs and color-changing illuminated lobby ceiling fixtures that blink in time to the DJ beats (part of a $1 million lighting upgrade), the W attracts both a well-heeled crowd of European and Asian professionals and hospital residents still in their UCLA medical scrubs. Along with locals, guests kick back on ultra-modern furniture or enjoy drinks at the Living Room Bar. (This is also where Rendition, a once-a-month live music series, takes place.) Up a flight of stairs and outside, the pool-view restaurant The Backyard is always packed with a business crowd.
Enthusiastic but chill. Check-in was brisk and there was free WiFi in the Wired Lounge near the reception desk. We also got to take a pre-dinner peek at the swank new digs for STK LA, the popular modern steakhouse helmed by chef Robert Liberato, which has relocated from La Cienaga Boulevard. (Don’t miss the Wagyu sliders and chocolate peanut butter bar for dessert.) In-room breakfast—yummy huevos rancheros with black beans—arrived five minutes sooner than promised.
The Sunday W’s Summer Tune Up on the “Wet” Deck by the pool features complimentary yoga by celebrity fitness trainer Elise Joan, with coconut water mimosas after each class. And the Bliss Spa seduces guests with a brownie bar and movie-while-you-manicure nail stations.
What We Loved
The cool blue and silver hallways with moody custom photography of women swimming in fancy gowns by New York beauty photographer Amber Gray. And the TV-equipped cabanas and Airstream trailer bar by the temperature-controlled saltwater pool.
What We Wish Had Been Better
The lavish “Oasis” lounge in the lobby has a 12-foot high water feature that’s meant to conceal the elevators, but it actually creates a too-narrow passageway that can become crowded while you wait for the lift. Despite the $25 million makeover, the bathroom had an older tub. Though the shower’s water pressure was nice and robust, no ventilation fan meant foggy mirrors. Oh, and a note to Room Service: Iced coffee does not mean a pot of hot coffee and two glasses of ice.
David A. Keeps is on the Los Angeles beat for Travel + Leisure. The host of Ovation TV's "Art and The City," he writes regularly about travel and design. Follow him on Twitter at @davidkeeps and Instagram at @davidkeepsinsta.