Best Hotels in Los Angeles
No. 1 Peninsula Beverly Hills
The Peninsula Beverly Hills opens a 6,000-square-foot rooftop garden, complete with palm trees, wisteria, and jasmine, where guests can dine alfresco and sip cocktails under the stars. Designed by James Northcutt, the property prides itself on extraordinary service just the same. Like the monogrammed pillowcases, like the customized room scents, like most things at the luxe Los Angeles hotel, check-in is a flawless affair. From the moment you arrive you are in the hands of your own guest relations manager, who will know your name, have your registration materials and keys, and escort you to your room, suite, or private villa in the garden—bypassing the front desk along the way. These days, check-in can start at the airport. Your Peninsula concierge will retrieve your luggage, lead you to your car idling at the curb, and present you with a menu so that you can order room service on your way to the hotel.
No. 2 Montage Beverly Hills
On a prime swath of Los Angeles real estate, this Spanish-style 201-room hotel mixes old-Hollywood touches with modern glam. Mediterranean elements skip from star lanterns and hand-painted tiles to lacy grillwork and brawny furniture with dark wood frames and nailhead trim. Plush and persuasive as they are, Montage’s visuals are not considered to be its sharpest weapon. Neither is the 20,000-square-foot spa, with its sensual whiff of a Moroccan hammam; three restaurants; or 44-foot rooftop pool, which is attended by eight cabanas and faced with approximately 1.32 million individually hand-set mother-of-pearl mosaic tiles. The hotel’s success is based on its impeccable service and amenities. Guests “own” their rooms for 24 hours (the industry norm is 19 to 21 hours). The hotel also offers flexible round-the-clock check-in and checkout.
No. 3 Hotel Bel-Air, Dorchester Collection
What sets the Bel-Air apart is its sense of sanctuary; despite the property’s relatively large size (12 acres), the warm staff, the cozy Spanish Mission-style architecture, and old-world gestures like complimentary tea service create an intimate ambience here. The 103 rooms uniquely decorated rooms all have luxurious, understated touches; many of its 45 suites include fireplaces. Those with private patios are tucked behind walls covered with cascading bougainvillea, flowering shrubs, and giant California oaks. Lunching on the Bel-Air terrace, while gazing over the swan pond and pretending not to notice the Oscar winner at the next table, is a decades-old L.A. pleasure.
No. 4 L'Ermitage Beverly Hills
Minutes from Rodeo Drive, this sleek, Asian-inspired hotel is a favorite with visiting fashionistas (no less than Giorgio Armani stays here when he’s in town, and Julia Roberts makes appearances, too). A streamlined, uncluttered aesthetic prevails in the 119 rooms—which, at 675 square feet on average, are some of the most spacious in town. All have platform beds and fluffy duvets, English sycamore paneling, 40-inch flat-screen TV’s, surround-sound Bose speakers, and personal lighting and temperature controls. The rooftop pool, with its teak chaises and panoramic views over the Hollywood Hills, is a scene unto itself; if you’re a VIP (or want to feel like one) book one of the two Moroccan-style cabanas, which come with stereos and drink-stocked fridges.
No. 5 Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
The $33 million facelift this Beverly Hills classic went through in 2010 may just be the best cosmetic work to come out of La-La Land. The complete renovation aimed to combine the hotel’s signature floral motifs with a new sense of California cool–natural elements and hues, added privacy for events and celebrity guests, and a bit more whimsy. The spectacularly huge floral arrangement that dominates this hotel’s small lobby hints at the opulence of the 285 rooms and suites, which have a glamorous 1940’s vibe, tempered by pops of teal or coral. Most have spacious marble bathrooms and balconies big enough to read the morning paper on. There’s a see-and-be-seen scene at the rooftop pool, where Hollywood bigwigs review scripts over Bellinis and divas disappear into poolside cabanas for their afternoon massages. If you don’t run into your favorite star while waiting for a fruit-and-pumpkin enzyme facial peel, you probably will at the lavish Sunday brunch at Culina, Modern Italian, the hotel’s new restaurant.
No. 6 Shutters on the Beach
This sprawling beach-house-style inn looks like it was airlifted from Nantucket and dropped on the Santa Monica shore. Inside, the common areas (like the fireside lounge with chairs and sofas upholstered in seashell colors) and the 198 rooms (all whitewashed wood and blue-and-white patterned upholstery, with wicker-furnished balconies) reinforce the laid-back, summer-house vibe. But there’s real luxury here too: The on-site ONE spa offers decadent massages, facials, and body scrubs using Ole Henriksen products, and at the nautically-themed One Pico restaurant, chef Michael Reardon serves elegant seafood dishes like Petrale sole grilled whole with salt and bay leaves.
No. 7 Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
As luxurious and understated as a perfectly cut Armani suit, the Beverly Wilshire is, appropriately, just steps from iconic Rodeo Drive boutiques like Versace and Cartier. Naturally, celebrities, Fortune 500 executives, and other assorted high rollers have staked out the 395 guest rooms here since 1928. More than a third of those rooms are suites, which start at nearly 1,000 square feet (scoring a penthouse will give you a whopping 5,000). All are decorated in pale, creamy fabrics, with the Four Seasons’ usual mix of antique repros and modern amenities like wide-screen plasma TV’s. Even standard rooms have marble-clad bathrooms with soaking tubs, and many have balconies and views of the Hollywood Hills. The spa, designed around a dramatic wall of water, offers treatments ranging from Oshadi-clay body wraps to Balinese massages.
No. 8 Chateau Marmont
Behind the Marmont’s lush, paparazzi-shielding hedges, discretion and privacy rule—a trait that has made it an infamous favorite of celebrities. (“If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont,” Columbia Pictures honcho Harry Cohn once said.) Devotees have included Errol Flynn, Greta Garbo, Jim Morrison, and of course, John Belushi (who checked out in an unconventional manner). Inspired by a Loire Valley castle, the property has 63 eclectic units, from standard guest rooms to poolside bungalows and a 3,000-square-foot penthouse favored by Howard Hughes. All are uniquely decorated; some with an Arts and Crafts aesthetic, others with 1940’s-style retro-chic, and still others with sleek minimalism. All the cottages and bungalows have private entrances, and many are screened by those hedges, which evoke the feeling of a grand, if slightly overgrown, estate.
No. 9 Fairmont Miramar Luxury Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica
Since the 1920s, privacy-seeking Hollywood starlets—among them Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe—have found refuge at this bluff-perched resort overlooking Santa Monica beach. The property’s 32 stand-alone bungalows, with patios surrounded by thick tropical greenery, are still coveted by A-listers today—but plenty of nonfamous luxury-seekers appreciate the 302 Edwardian-meets-California-cottage rooms set in the 1924 Palisades Building or the newer 10-story Ocean Tower. Snob appeal is blissfully absent here: service is warm rather than white-gloved; the scene around the pool and at the Exhale spa is laid-back; and the cuisine at the inventive, farm-to-table FIG restaurant is unfussy. It’s a perfect mix of Beverly Hills luxe and barefoot Santa Monica.
No. 10 Hotel Casa del Mar
Unlike its sister property, Shutters on the Beach—which feels more like Cape Cod than SoCal—Casa del Mar’s opulent, Mediterranean design feels right at home on the Santa Monica shore. The focal point here is the Spanish-tiled, ironwork-decorated lobby, where on any given afternoon you’ll find business types strategizing over mojitos, couples flirting by the fireplace, and guests unwinding after a day of sun and surf (the fifth-floor pool boasts a classy Italian granite deck, and the hotel’s toes are planted in the sand of Santa Monica Beach). The 129 rooms, done up in muted blues and beiges, have hand-painted armoires, plush beds with walnut headboards, and bathrooms sheathed in marble. If you’re not quite feeling beach-ready, hit the hotel spa for a "shimmer and shine" exfoliation before heading to the beach in your teeny-weeny bikini.