I've Lived in Los Angeles for 47 Years, and These Are the Best Places to Stay

The City of Angels has hundreds of hotels, but this guide will help you narrow down where to stay.

The Los Angeles skyline, with palm trees, and a pink sky
Photo: iStockphoto/Getty Images

The Los Angeles area has much to offer vacationers, from beaches to mountains, hip urban locales to natural open spaces, and museums to theme parks. But choosing a place to stay in Los Angeles can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time to L.A. As a Hermosa Beach resident who has lived in Los Angeles for 47 years, I've curated this guide to help you figure out where to stay depending on the kind of vacation you're after. Trying to avoid traffic and stay somewhere without a car? There's a neighborhood for that. Planning a family vacation in Los Angeles, a couples' getaway, or a solo trip? Los Angeles has you covered. Here, the perfect neighborhood and hotel choices in L.A. for every kind of traveler.

The Best L.A. Neighborhood to Stay in for Families: Los Feliz

Looking for the neighborhood that's home to the Griffith Observatory — which is where you'll find the hike to the iconic Hollywood sign? You're looking for Los Feliz. "Not only is Los Feliz a charming, family-friendly village, but it's right next to the excitement of Hollywood, without any of the crowds," said Maya Kachroo-Levine, Travel + Leisure's senior editor who's been based in the Los Feliz/Silver Lake area for seven years. "Have brunch at All Time, or if you need some quick sustenance before a hike, grab breakfast tacos at Homestate." Los Feliz is close to Universal Studios, the Los Angeles Zoo, and Hollywood, where you'll find Paramount Studios and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "Don't miss the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sundays," Kachroo-Levine added. "And Barnsdall Art Park is a classic — it's perfect for a picnic and has wide-open play spaces for the kids, plus great views and Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House for the adults."

Room at the Kimpton Everly Hotel, in Los Angeles
Courtesy of The Kimpton Everly Hotel

The Best Hotel in the Los Feliz Area

Cara Los Feliz

Tucked just underneath Griffith Park, Cara Los Feliz, a relatively new boutique hotel, was a Travel + Leisure It List winner in 2021. It feels like an "unexpectedly serene oasis in one of L.A.'s hippest neighborhoods," said Nina Ruggiero, T+L's editorial director, who stayed there and reviewed the hotel. Ruggiero noted each of the 60 rooms have balconies and there's a chic tranquility pool in the center of the property.

That said, a vacation rental may be the best way to go for families in this neighborhood. Homes in walking distance of top attractions, including Griffith Park and the shops and eateries lining Hillhurst and Vermont Avenues, abound on Airbnb and Vrbo.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Amanda Blackard/Travel + Leisure

The Best L.A. Area to Stay in for Sand, Sun, and Surf: South Bay

This beachfront area just south of LAX includes the cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach, all with expansive shorelines, restaurants, shops, and walkable downtown areas. As a long-time Hermosa Beach resident, I can promise the surfing, paddleboarding, volleyball, swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching will keep everyone busy. A 22-mile oceanfront bike path begins at Torrance Beach in the south, winds through beach towns, passes the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, and ends at Will Rogers Beach, just under Malibu. Manhattan Beach boasts restaurant choices from upscale to casual, and its pier includes the Roundhouse, a free aquarium.

Westdrift Manhattan Beach hotel, in Los Angeles
Courtesy of westdrift Manhattan Beach

The Best Hotels in the South Bay Area

Westdrift Manhattan Beach, Autograph Collection

Just minutes from LAX, this hotel offers a casual beachy vibe with striking artwork and decor, blended with a cosmopolitan feel. The pool — surrounded by comfy lounges, a nine-hole golf course, bicycles, a lobby bar, a restaurant, and 385 inviting guest rooms — makes it a destination in itself.

Beach House

This all-studio suite hotel on the Strand in Hermosa Beach is steps from the sand and a short walk to restaurants, shops, bars, the pier, and Hermosa's Comedy & Magic Club where Jay Leno appears almost weekly. All 96 suites include a fireplace, balcony or patio, and continental breakfast.

Portofino Hotel and Marina

The 161-room Portofino Hotel and Marina in Redondo Beach — situated on its own private peninsula — offers a nautical environment, a heated pool, complimentary bicycles, a restaurant, a fitness center, and a convenient location near Redondo's walkable "Hollywood Riviera" downtown area for dining and shopping.

The Best L.A. Area to Stay in for Solo Travelers: The Westside

Known for top restaurants, trendy boutiques, designer shops, and cultural attractions, L.A.'s Westside is an ideal destination for the solo traveler. The Getty Center high atop a hill offers stunning views and a remarkable restaurant along with its popular art collections. Other museums catering to every taste include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, La Brea Tar Pits, Petersen Auto Museum, Craft Contemporary, Skirball Cultural Center, and Museum of Tolerance. Meanwhile, fashion enthusiasts can head to Rodeo Drive, Westfield Mall, or the Beverly Center to shop or browse.

Entrance to the Beverly Wilshire. a Four Seasons Hotel
Courtesy of Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel

The Best Hotels in L.A.’s Westside area

Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel

Beverly Wilshire offers glamour and history along with stunning restaurants, including Cut, Wolfgang Puck's Michelin-starred steakhouse, and The Blvd Restaurant and Lounge, overlooking Wilshire and Rodeo Drive. A visit to the hotel's spa is a lovely vacation indulgence.

The pool at the Hotel Bel-Air, voted one of the best city hotels in the United States
Courtesy of Hotel Bel-Air

Hotel Bel-Air

Set among wooded hills in the canyons of Los Angeles, this hotel has attracted star-studded clientele for over 75 years and still oozes Hollywood glamour. It's private, comfortable, and luxurious, and boasts an outdoor pool where guests can enjoy ice cream, snacks, and food by Wolfgang Puck.

L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

Established in 1975 on a peaceful, tree-lined street, L'Ermitage Beverly Hills is a sophisticated hideaway just steps from Rodeo Drive. L'Ermitage Beverly Hills was named the best hotel in Los Angeles in the 2022 World's Best Awards. "Many travelers — including VIPs like celebrities and foreign officials — choose this 116-suite hotel, located on a quiet residential street, for the sense of privacy it provides," reported Sarah Bruning, T+L special projects and surverys editor and California native.

Outdoor seating at Grand Central Market

Adrian Rudd/Travel + Leisure

The Best L.A. Neighborhood to Stay in Without a Car: Downtown (DTLA)

One of the most walkable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, DTLA no longer clears out at the end of the workday, with a growing number of residents, loft apartments, luxury condos, great bars, and creative restaurants. Entertainment opportunities abound, from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Grammy Museum, the Microsoft Theater, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and museums like The Broad and The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Dine at upscale restaurants in skyscraper hotels or choose your favorite counter at the Grand Central Market.

Downtown Los Angeles

Valerie de Leon/Travel + Leisure

The Best Hotels in Downtown L.A.

Conrad Los Angeles

The new Conrad Los Angeles, which made T+L's 2023 It List, has gorgeous modern interiors and restaurants by celebrated chef José Andrés. "The 305-key property is the brand’s first California location and occupies one tower of a massive new mixed-use complex designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, whose gleaming concert hall sits across the street," reported Bruning, who recently stayed on property.

Hotel Figueroa

Hotel Figueroa, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, was once a women's hostelry and the site of Moroccan-themed soirees. Now, this 14-story luxury hotel features 268 rooms and suites, a coffin-shaped pool, and four eateries and bars that show off the culinary skills of chefs Joana Cruz and AJ McCloud.

Room at the Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles, California
Courtesy of Hotel Figueroa

The Best L.A. Area to Stay in for Nightlife: West Hollywood

The Sunset Strip, a nearly two-mile section of Sunset Boulevard passing through West Hollywood, has been known for music, entertainment, and nightlife for nearly a hundred years. Live music clubs like the Troubadour, The Roxy Theatre, and Whisky a Go Go; comedy clubs including Laugh Factory, Comedy Store, and The Groundlings; and small theaters like Largo at the Coronet were the starting point for many popular entertainers. There are nightclubs, bars, lounges, and glitzy rooftops featuring music from retro to jazz to hip-hop. This LGBTQ-friendly area includes venues from casual to fancy as well as restaurants, shops, and boutique hotels.

The Best Hotels in West Hollywood

Pendry West Hollywood

Occupying an entire block on the Sunset Strip, Pendry West Hollywood comprises 149 rooms and suites, 40 residences, a rooftop pool, a spa, a private social club, and multiple restaurants by Wolfgang Puck. After dinner, head to the property's 100-seat live music venue or the private bowling alley for guests and members.

The West Hollywood Edition

Situated on Sunset Boulevard, where West Hollywood meets Beverly Hills, the 190-room West Hollywood Edition offers a perfect location for easily exploring some of L.A.'s best areas. Guests can look forward to a stylish rooftop pool and terrace, a full-service day spa, and a restaurant focusing on vegetable-forward California cuisine.

The New 'It' Destination to Stay in: Culver City

Nicknamed the the "Heart of Screenland" during the 1930s, Culver City is deeply rooted in the filmmaking industry. The area is still home to the landmark Sony Pictures Studio, but a recent revitalization has led to its current label as Los Angeles' new "it" destination. Located less than 10 miles from Santa Monica and DTLA, Culver City is an ideal base for travelers eager to explore both the city and the beach. And with a slew of design-forward restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, cafés, and boutiques, its five-square-mile radius is buzzing with creative energy.

The Best Hotels in Culver City:

The Shay

Since its opening in 2021, The Shay has been one of the developments spearheading Culver City’s renaissance. The Destination by Hyatt hotel features 148 modern rooms, an industrial-style lobby with cowering spaces, and the only rooftop pool in Culver City. Carve out a morning to lounge poolside while enjoying the Canopy Club’s all-day menu and views of DTLA and the Santa Monica mountains.

Interior of a lounge with fire pit at The Shay

Srdan Srdenovic/Courtesy of The Shay, a Destination by Hyatt hotel

Culver City Hotel

Located in the heart of Culver City, this beaux-arts landmark first opened in 1924 and quickly became a hot spot among stars like Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and Greta Garbo. After closing and undergoing a 15-year restoration, the property reopened in 2022 as a boutique hotel inspired by the building’s Old Hollywood history. Today, it boasts 46 individually designed guest rooms, a bistro specializing in French cuisine, and pop-up events ranging from intimate concerts to art exhibitions.

The Best L.A. Area to Stay in for First-time Visitors: Santa Monica

First-time visitors to L.A. have many options open to them. Are they interested in sightseeing, history, theater, music, beaches, or museums? Do they enjoy being in an urban or somewhere less crowded? Santa Monica has a bit of everything: beaches, a walkable downtown, shopping, parks, mountains, restaurants, an amusement park, art galleries, and an extraordinary weekly farmers' market. From Santa Monica, visitors can explore the mountains or enjoy nearby Venice Beach. They can head downtown for the day and then back for sunset over the ocean.

The Best Hotels in Santa Monica:

Santa Monica Proper Hotel

Located on Wilshire Boulevard, within walking distance to the beach, the 267-room Santa Monica Proper Hotel offers a design-forward base for exploring the area's boutiques, farmers markets, and health-conscious cafés. Inside the hotel, you’ll also find Surya Spa, which focuses on Ayurvedic treatments, and a rooftop pool and restaurant with impressive sunset views.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Set on manicured grounds, this hotel offers 297 guest rooms, 54 of which are suites, and 31 modern bungalows. The hotel boasts the most ocean-view rooms in Santa Monica and an outstanding restaurant, Fig.

The pool at Viceroy Santa Monica hotel, voted one of the best city hotels in the United States
Courtesy of Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica

The Viceroy brand’s flagship hotel has been a landmark on Ocean Avenue for over 20 years. Many of its 162 rooms come with ocean vistas, while its two sparkling outdoor pools with cabanas allow guests to make the most of sunny Southern California.

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