The hotel scene in Los Angeles has been riding a wave of late, thanks to game-changers like the Ace Downtown and the Line, which got the ball rolling back in 2014. This year has yielded some equally colorful options, but the hotel frenzy isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. To help you sort through the options, we’ve mapped out the city’s newest (and best newly renovated) properties, organized by personality type. From Malibu wannabes to closeted Silicon Valley design nerds, we’ve got the perfect L.A. hotel for you.
Credit: Courtesy of Mama Shelter / Photography by Jeff McLane
Ideal for: grown-ups who still think they’re in college
Finally, a boutique L.A. hotel that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. At Mama Shelter over on Wilcox Avenue, the “public spaces” are essentially a giant rec room: there’s a custom-made eight-person foosball table, and the ceiling doubles as a chalkboard. “People come to Mama to feel a warm, welcome, happy energy,” says owner Benjamin Trigano, who made a point not to “over-design” the rooms (exhibit A: Bert and Ernie bedside lamps). In October, the hotel will debut a rooftop bar, complete with sunbeds, a movie screen, and an outdoor gym.
Ideal for: rebels who’ve been kicked out of Chateau Marmont
Thwarted by the Chateau’s strict no-photographing policy? Or maybe you never made it past the door? No worries. Further west along Sunset Boulevard, the London West Hollywood (known for its panoramic pool deck) offers a similar dose of high-class glamour. It’s also looking fresh after a $25 million renovation, which supplied a 110-seat private screening room, new suites with dreamy interiors, and even a Vivienne Westwood–inspired penthouse, complete with framed silk scarves and a 5,000-square-foot terrace. Best of all, they won’t stop you from tweeting about it.
Ideal for: vacationers who want a breezy, country club feel but can’t afford Malibu
With age comes maturity, as they say. This W, which first opened back in 2000, recently implemented a few key changes. For starters, it now identifies as West Beverly Hills (think Rodeo Drive), not Westwood (think UCLA). Second, it’s gotten rid of those weekly pool parties, and opened a slick STK steakhouse. Mostly, though, the transformation has focused on the guest rooms: bright, modern, and a little subdued, they draw inspiration from the bungalows of Beverly Hills, with thick white shutters and palm tree silhouettes on the walls.
Like a hyperlink whisking you from one webpage to another, this rustic Koreatown address, with its gaping hallways and checkered lobby tiles, transports you back to Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties. But this isn’t some boho-chic contrivance, it’s a gorgeously restored 1926 building (designed by the same architects responsible for the Ace Hotel’s United Theatre) striking just the right balance between conservation and cool. Speaking of which, it just opened the Walker Inn, a 27-seat cocktail bar accessed through a secret door in the back of the hotel’s (other) cocktail bar, Normandie Club. An additional 10 boutique rooms will debut upstairs later this year.
Ideal for: laid-back, nostalgic types who want to live the Hollywood dream
L.A. lore ripples through this seven-acre hotel. It originally opened as a Howard Johnson (housekeepers used to use leaf rakes to clean out the shag carpeting), and its owner, Beverly Garland, was a small-time TV and film actress (her son James led the recent $20 million renovation). Nowadays, the rooms playfully invoke their 1970s roots with orange pillows, groovy pendant lamps, and closets lined with vintage paparazzi photos. There’s a lobby bar with poolside service (definitely try the mezcal-fused Oaxa-Can Happen cocktail), macramé classes, and free shuttle service to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Ideal for: techies with a weakness for mood lighting
This shiny new Pasadena option (the first U.S. location by Thai-based hotel chain Dusit) houses 21st-century amenities in a 1926 landmark building. Every room has an iPad to control lighting, change the temperature, and request housekeeping; and there are easy-to-navigate plug panels to connect your mobile device to the HDTV (hello, Netflix!). The blue-lit lobby bar wouldn’t look out of place in a Bangkok nightclub, while the dining hall is a classier affair, with ivory-coffered ceilings and marble walls.