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From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every day, the Pavilion Hotel transforms from a quaint, family-friendly island hotel into a sophisticated garden party replete with wine and cheese. There were no repeat selections during our three-day stay, and the wine never ran dry. It’s arguably the best perk (complimentary, too!) at this boutique hotel sitting across from the Pacific Ocean. Kids will appreciate the running room in the central grass courtyard and the proximity to the beach; adults will appreciate the happiest hour of the day.
513 Crescent Ave., Avalon
The Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles nailed it with the name. Its gleaming exterior, modern furniture, and classy dining and drinking options deliver an immediate sense of Tinseltown to within a stone’s throw of LAX. While celebrities may avoid the paparazzi, you shouldn’t – Paparazzi is the aptly named, attention-grabbing Italian restaurant tucked behind the plush lobby. After a delicious dish, a good night’s sleep is a virtual guarantee – and a valid excuse to ditch the rental car and avoid the traffic into downtown.
6101 W. Century Bivd.
The Andaz claims its rooftop pool is West Hollywood’s highest. Maybe that’s why Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant once stood on its balcony — back when the building was known as the “Riot House” — and declared, “I am a Golden God!” Fresh off a $48 million makeover, the rooms are classy yet quirky — with a silhouetted palm tree painted on one wall, and “California … knows how to party” emblazoned on a window overlooking the Sunset Strip. Each room key has its own adjective (we got to choose between “creative” and “unforgettable”), and the room comes with a vinyl album (but alas, no record player). Call the place endearingly pretentious, a cool reflection of the La La Land world strutting just outside the lobby.
8401 Sunset Blvd.
Situated on seven secluded acres, The Beverly Garland Holiday Inn is anything but a simple motel. This old school-styled Hollywood retreat, very convenient to Universal Studios and Burbank Airport, is named for one of Tinseltown’s most tenured TV stars (My Three Sons, 7th Heaven). A multi-tasker by nature, the familiar actress owned and operated her namesake place until her death in 2008. Garland’s family has preserved her special touches, like a pleasing art collection, mid-century brick walls in breezy outdoor hallways, and a lush garden setting ripe for respite from Hollywood’s fast pace. Modernity is found in the form of chic rooms, with outstanding beds and room dividers. Meanwhile, outdoor spaces are equipped with giant ottomans and complimentary WiFi — especially helpful to working guests who can soak up that famous California sunshine while toiling by the Beverly Garland’s stylish pool. Refreshingly productive in North Hollywood.
4222 Vineland Ave.
The Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport is not only spunky and swanky but innovative. Sliding glass doors take the lobby outdoors, brightened by natural light and chartreuse upholstered furniture. There, business types convene for al fresco conferences and to take advantage of the Southern California sun and the opportunity to close business deals. This hard-to-believe airport hotel (directly across the street from the Bob Hope Burbank Glendale Airport) is also remarkable for its friendly yet professional staffers, abundance of punchy colors (like a wall of illuminated red glass behind the front desk), and a grand entrance so snazzy you’ll swear you’ve arrived at a big-time Hollywood resort.
2500 Hollywood Way
You might remember the Terranea Resort as where Jason and Molly from Season 13 of The Bachelor held their over-the-top wedding. If you missed the show, don’t miss the resort — perched on a jagged cliff and as close to the ocean as any Los Angeles-area hotel. This sprawling property opened in fall 2009 as a classic Southern California resort with an exotic Mediterranean touch. Only 20 miles south of LAX in Rancho Palos Verdes, Terranea seems a world away with its world-class spa, two miles of mountainous hiking trails, and the highly touted stand-alone restaurant mar’sel. Fine fare from its on-site herb and vegetable garden is best enjoyed while sitting on the terrace, warmed by a fire pit, and gazing out at Catalina Island — dramatic for sure, even without The Bachelor.
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes
Only a big stretch of sand stands between you and the sea at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, where the mouth-dropping bi-level lobby extends beyond the scattering of conversational fire pits to the great outdoors. Inside, lanky palms reach toward the ceiling, while a huge poolside hot tub beckons year-round. Other benefits of the beauteous Loews include an ambitious staff, ocean-view rooms, a pet-friendly policy, and an alluring lobby-side restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and its own fire pit for yet another unobstructed view of the majestic Pacific.
1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica
With its 18-foot check-in desk, the reception area of the Viceroy Santa Monica demonstrates just how grand yet stylish this ultimate urban retreat directly across from the Pacific can be. The same is true of the dramatic lobby, which welcomes you to put up your feet on a white leather chaise, a row of which face each other for easy conversation. Outside, two plunge pools afford twice the opportunity to catch some rays, while several cabanas offer shade in the same scenic location. Other awesome amenities at this unique boutique hotel: luxurious in-room spa treatments (including a complete Red Carpet makeover) and the sizzling Cameo Bar, a mid-century modern fantasyland for fun libations and the chance to make the scene with local partiers, visiting celebrities, and your fellow hotel guests.
1819 Ocean Ave.
A favorite of Price Is Right hopefuls, given that CBS Television City is right across the street (as is such other tourist favorites as Farmers Market and The Grove outdoor shopping mall), unconfirmed legend holds that the TV show’s longtime host Bob Barker was the one who built this hotel. The Beverly Center, a veritable Shangri-La for shoppers is also nearby, and the Farmer’s Daughter has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation – growing from just a modest hideaway motel into a modern-day home-away-from-home with tongue-in-cheek rural details. Where else does one find a denim bedspread – and, yes, the price is right.
115 S. Fairfax Ave.
It’s telling that downtown Los Angeles’s Japanese district is called “Little Tokyo,” for it is nearly as cramped and vertical as its namesake original. But there is an escape – really, an escape within an escape. The new, 21-story Kyoto Grand Hotel & Gardens boasts a “Garden in the Sky,” with cascading waterfalls, soothing ponds and scenic flora amid its bamboo-shaded alcoves. Situated on a third-story terrace, this eye-pleasing half-acre also features an on-site spa that provides shiatsu massage and facial treatments. The hotel itself offers business-friendly guestrooms with work desks, 3 multi-line phones, laptop-compatible safes, complimentary weekday newspapers and high-speed Internet access, for when you’re not in the garden.
120 S. Los Angeles St.
By Paula Conway
My last-minute trip to Louisville was also my very first — guaranteeing one delightful surprise after another.
As a neophyte, I was urged by a friend to try a Hot Brown (an open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in cheese, with bacon), to sample a Derby Pie (a cookie stuffed with chocolate chips, walnuts, hot fudge, [...]
RUMBAR, inside The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, lays claims to being Miami’s only live Latin music venue. On weekends, a four-piece band in white dinner jackets will take you back to Old Havana with rhythms of vintage Cuba. Order a rum flight for a vertical tasting of Miami’s largest selection of rums from Trinidad, Barbados, [...]Read More