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The 18 Essential Los Angeles Hotels, November '13

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In today's new release of Curbed's Hotel 18 map, we're once again attacking the question, "Where should I stay in Los Angeles?" While our first version included 38 choices, we've carefully edited this version down to 18. In this smaller, leaner selection, we've made some tough choices to bring you the best of the best, and only those hotels considered most essential via reader and expert recommendations. From the snooty opulence of Beverly Hills to the beachy opulence of Santa Monica to the trendy opulence of the Strip to the trashiness of Hollywood, we've collected the 38 most essential LA hotels--the kind of places (for better or worse) that you can only find here. Whether you want to stay high or low, gawk at celebrities, relax, or just crash, we've got you covered.
We'll be updating the map again in due time, so if you have a favorite that wasn't included, please mention it in the comments or tip us for next time. If you spot a hotel unworthy of the Hotel 18 distinction, we want to hear about that, too.

For many more Los Angeles travel tips, head over to Racked LA, where they've just kicked off Travel Week.

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Château Marmont

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Possibly the most essential hotel in all of Los Angeles, the 1927 Chateau is home to history, glamor, and the deepest secrets of a million celebrities. (It's so damn storied, novelist AM Homes wrote the little intro text on the website.) Now owned by Andre Balazs, the hotel has units ranging from rooms to bungalows to a two-bedroom penthouse, plus a charming patio restaurant and a non-clusterfucky pool scene set high above the Strip. It's also incredibly expensive, but the studio's paying your way, right?

Beverly Hills Hotel

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The pink Beverly Hills Hotel, designed by Elmer Grey and with an addition by Paul Williams, first opened in 1912 and recently became Beverly Hills's first historic landmark. It has 208 rooms including 23 bungalows (Presidential Bungalows are nearly 5,000 square feet), an iconic pool, and 12 acres of grounds. Pretty much everyone has stayed there and its Polo Lounge is an institution.

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

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The glassy Westin Bonaventure, designed in the 1970s by Atlanta atrium enthusiast John C. Portman Jr., is supposedly one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It's 1,354 rooms and suites are a hit with business travelers and voyeurs (the external elevators offer great views into the rooms!), and its top-floor Bonavista Lounge is big with fans of rotating lounges (i.e., everyone). Be warned though that this part of Downtown isn't so happening at night.

The Standard, Downtown LA

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The Koning Eizenberg-designed Standard (an adaptive reuse of the Superior Oil Building) was an early pioneer in the last decade's Downtown renaissance. It's everything you'd expect from trendy hotelier Andre Balazs, down to the waterbed cabanas and topiary by the rooftop pool, cheery mid-century 24/7 Restaurant, and SPiN ping pong club. If you haven't partied on the roof just once, do you even really live in Los Angeles?

Shutters On The Beach

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The famous Shutters on the Beach is perhaps the classiest hotel game on the shore (and it's much-beloved by celebs)--it has an East Coast vibe, balconies on all of its 198 rooms, and direct access to the beach. Some of the rooms also have fireplaces or jacuzzis; there's also a small pool, a spa, and the One Pico and Coast restaurants.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

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Since its renovation in 2005, the Roosevelt has been most famous for hosting Lindsay and The Hills women at the poolside Tropicana Bar, but it's really classic old Hollywood--it was built in the 1920s by a group including Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer and hosted the first-ever Academy Awards. Now managed by Thompson Hotels, the Roosevelt has 300 rooms and an astounding number of trendy hotels and bars, including Teddy's, Library Bar, the Spare Room, and Beacher's Madhouse.

Langham Huntington Hotel

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The Langham is everything you think when you think old-money Pasadena. Originally built in 1907, it had to be completely rebuilt (immaculately) in the early '90s. It sits on 23 acres and has 380 rooms, suites, and cottages, all very proper and lovely, plus the Huntington Spa, fancy The Royce restaurant, The Tap Room bar, and of course afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge.

Sunset Tower Hotel

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The Sunset Tower might just have the very best service and very best architecture on the Strip--it was built in 1921 and designed by the great Leland Bryant as a luxury apartment building for stars (including Howard Hughes, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe, etc. etc. etc.). Hotelier Jeff Klein revived it in 2005 but kept the old school elegance firmly intact; it now has 74 rooms, a small pool, and the Tower Bar restaurant.

Hotel Angeleno

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The Hotel Angeleno is the landmark circular tower overlooking the 405 just south of the Getty Center and all of its rooms have balconies for taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the freeway. Once a Holiday Inn, it's now a hip, plush boutique with 208 rooms (including three suites). Head up to the penthouse level for panoramic views from West restaurant and lounge.

Mondrian Hotel

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Hands down the most hipper-than-thou hotel on the Strip, the Mondrian couldn't possibly have been put together by anyone but hotelier Ian Schrager and designer Philippe Starck. There are terrific views, a terrific pool, 237 rooms and suites, Asia de Cuba, and hey, remember Skybar, that place no one could ever get into ten years ago? That's still there.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

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The ornate Millennium Biltmore was built in 1923 and it's packed inside with ornate murals and frescos and tapestries and fountains, and its tiled indoor pool is especially cool. This is the place for business types who have to stay in the heart of Downtown, history fans, and movie buffs. The Biltmore shows up in countless movies and TV shows; in one of its most famous roles, it plays Ghostbusters's haunted Sedgewick Hotel.

Beverly Wilshire

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One of the most glamorous joints in town, the Beverly Hills Hotel (now a Four Seasons) was built in 1928 on the former site of the Beverly Hills Speedway and has hosted Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Barack Obama. It has 395 rooms and suites, an enormous fitness center, a great pool, and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant (CUT). In other words: everything.

Hollywood Center Motel

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It's right on Sunset Boulevard, was built in the 1920s, has one and a half stars on Yelp, looks like it could be a good place to score some crack, and shows up in LA Confidential. In other words, the essential Hollywood hotel. Don't ever stay here.

Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel

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The 86-room Best Western Hollywood Hills has always been a favorite reasonably-priced option for its great location at the foot of the Hills, cute mid-century design, pool, and staple 101 Coffee Shop. It got hipped up just a little a couple years with updates designed by Koning Eizenberg.

The Georgian Hotel

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The super-charming and super-turquoise Georgian first opened in 1933 and still has that Old-Hollywood-hits-the-beach feel (its speakeasy is rumored to have been set up by Bugsy Siegel himself). It's just across the street from the Santa Monica Pier and has a great front porch, 84 boutiquey rooms and suites, a restaurant, but not too much else.

Magic Castle Hotel

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Here's a tip for getting into the wonderful, members-only Magic Castle: stay at the Magic Castle Hotel next door. It's cute, moderately-priced, convenient to the madness on Hollywood Boulevard, and most importantly, it gets you into the Magic Castle.

The Queen Mary

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The Queen Mary is a chance to stay in a real 1930s luxury ocean liner without having to worry about food poisoning. Guests bunk in staterooms, and the boat and surrounding area are packed with things to do: shops, restaurants, a spa, tours (including a ghost tour), and exhibits, plus the whole Long Beach Harbor zone.

Casa Del Mar Hotel

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The beautiful art deco Casa del Mar will cost a pretty penny, but it's right on the beach (and many of the rooms have ocean views), and has a real old school resort vibe (it was built in the '20s). It has an excellent seafood restaurant in The Catch and a happening bar scene at The Lounge at Casa.

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Château Marmont

Possibly the most essential hotel in all of Los Angeles, the 1927 Chateau is home to history, glamor, and the deepest secrets of a million celebrities. (It's so damn storied, novelist AM Homes wrote the little intro text on the website.) Now owned by Andre Balazs, the hotel has units ranging from rooms to bungalows to a two-bedroom penthouse, plus a charming patio restaurant and a non-clusterfucky pool scene set high above the Strip. It's also incredibly expensive, but the studio's paying your way, right?

Beverly Hills Hotel

The pink Beverly Hills Hotel, designed by Elmer Grey and with an addition by Paul Williams, first opened in 1912 and recently became Beverly Hills's first historic landmark. It has 208 rooms including 23 bungalows (Presidential Bungalows are nearly 5,000 square feet), an iconic pool, and 12 acres of grounds. Pretty much everyone has stayed there and its Polo Lounge is an institution.

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

The glassy Westin Bonaventure, designed in the 1970s by Atlanta atrium enthusiast John C. Portman Jr., is supposedly one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It's 1,354 rooms and suites are a hit with business travelers and voyeurs (the external elevators offer great views into the rooms!), and its top-floor Bonavista Lounge is big with fans of rotating lounges (i.e., everyone). Be warned though that this part of Downtown isn't so happening at night.

The Standard, Downtown LA

The Koning Eizenberg-designed Standard (an adaptive reuse of the Superior Oil Building) was an early pioneer in the last decade's Downtown renaissance. It's everything you'd expect from trendy hotelier Andre Balazs, down to the waterbed cabanas and topiary by the rooftop pool, cheery mid-century 24/7 Restaurant, and SPiN ping pong club. If you haven't partied on the roof just once, do you even really live in Los Angeles?

Shutters On The Beach

The famous Shutters on the Beach is perhaps the classiest hotel game on the shore (and it's much-beloved by celebs)--it has an East Coast vibe, balconies on all of its 198 rooms, and direct access to the beach. Some of the rooms also have fireplaces or jacuzzis; there's also a small pool, a spa, and the One Pico and Coast restaurants.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Since its renovation in 2005, the Roosevelt has been most famous for hosting Lindsay and The Hills women at the poolside Tropicana Bar, but it's really classic old Hollywood--it was built in the 1920s by a group including Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer and hosted the first-ever Academy Awards. Now managed by Thompson Hotels, the Roosevelt has 300 rooms and an astounding number of trendy hotels and bars, including Teddy's, Library Bar, the Spare Room, and Beacher's Madhouse.

Langham Huntington Hotel

The Langham is everything you think when you think old-money Pasadena. Originally built in 1907, it had to be completely rebuilt (immaculately) in the early '90s. It sits on 23 acres and has 380 rooms, suites, and cottages, all very proper and lovely, plus the Huntington Spa, fancy The Royce restaurant, The Tap Room bar, and of course afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge.

Sunset Tower Hotel

The Sunset Tower might just have the very best service and very best architecture on the Strip--it was built in 1921 and designed by the great Leland Bryant as a luxury apartment building for stars (including Howard Hughes, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe, etc. etc. etc.). Hotelier Jeff Klein revived it in 2005 but kept the old school elegance firmly intact; it now has 74 rooms, a small pool, and the Tower Bar restaurant.

Hotel Angeleno

The Hotel Angeleno is the landmark circular tower overlooking the 405 just south of the Getty Center and all of its rooms have balconies for taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the freeway. Once a Holiday Inn, it's now a hip, plush boutique with 208 rooms (including three suites). Head up to the penthouse level for panoramic views from West restaurant and lounge.

Mondrian Hotel

Hands down the most hipper-than-thou hotel on the Strip, the Mondrian couldn't possibly have been put together by anyone but hotelier Ian Schrager and designer Philippe Starck. There are terrific views, a terrific pool, 237 rooms and suites, Asia de Cuba, and hey, remember Skybar, that place no one could ever get into ten years ago? That's still there.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

The ornate Millennium Biltmore was built in 1923 and it's packed inside with ornate murals and frescos and tapestries and fountains, and its tiled indoor pool is especially cool. This is the place for business types who have to stay in the heart of Downtown, history fans, and movie buffs. The Biltmore shows up in countless movies and TV shows; in one of its most famous roles, it plays Ghostbusters's haunted Sedgewick Hotel.

Beverly Wilshire

One of the most glamorous joints in town, the Beverly Hills Hotel (now a Four Seasons) was built in 1928 on the former site of the Beverly Hills Speedway and has hosted Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Barack Obama. It has 395 rooms and suites, an enormous fitness center, a great pool, and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant (CUT). In other words: everything.

Hollywood Center Motel

It's right on Sunset Boulevard, was built in the 1920s, has one and a half stars on Yelp, looks like it could be a good place to score some crack, and shows up in LA Confidential. In other words, the essential Hollywood hotel. Don't ever stay here.

Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel

The 86-room Best Western Hollywood Hills has always been a favorite reasonably-priced option for its great location at the foot of the Hills, cute mid-century design, pool, and staple 101 Coffee Shop. It got hipped up just a little a couple years with updates designed by Koning Eizenberg.

The Georgian Hotel

The super-charming and super-turquoise Georgian first opened in 1933 and still has that Old-Hollywood-hits-the-beach feel (its speakeasy is rumored to have been set up by Bugsy Siegel himself). It's just across the street from the Santa Monica Pier and has a great front porch, 84 boutiquey rooms and suites, a restaurant, but not too much else.

Magic Castle Hotel

Here's a tip for getting into the wonderful, members-only Magic Castle: stay at the Magic Castle Hotel next door. It's cute, moderately-priced, convenient to the madness on Hollywood Boulevard, and most importantly, it gets you into the Magic Castle.

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is a chance to stay in a real 1930s luxury ocean liner without having to worry about food poisoning. Guests bunk in staterooms, and the boat and surrounding area are packed with things to do: shops, restaurants, a spa, tours (including a ghost tour), and exhibits, plus the whole Long Beach Harbor zone.

Casa Del Mar Hotel

The beautiful art deco Casa del Mar will cost a pretty penny, but it's right on the beach (and many of the rooms have ocean views), and has a real old school resort vibe (it was built in the '20s). It has an excellent seafood restaurant in The Catch and a happening bar scene at The Lounge at Casa.