clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 18 Essential Los Angeles Hotels, November 2014

View as Map

In today's new release of Curbed's Hotel 18 map, we answer the question, "Where should I stay in Los Angeles?" 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 fresh-off-the-bus friendliness of Hollywood, we've collected the 18 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.

A hotel has to be open for at least six months to make the Hotel 18, so we're finally welcoming two very new, but already very essential hotels to the map: the Ace Hotel, which has helped revive a huge swath of Broadway, and The Line, which is bringing even more attention to Koreatown lately with its super-hot dining and drinking.

We'll be updating the Hotel 18 again soon enough, 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.

Additions and Subtractions:
November 2014: Dropped The Georgian and the Mondrian; added Ace Hotel and The Line.

Read More

1. Château Marmont

Copy Link
8221 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-1010
Visit Website

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?

2. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

Copy Link
404 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624-1000
Visit Website

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.

3. The Standard, Downtown LA

Copy Link
550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 892-8080
Visit Website

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?

4. Shutters On The Beach

Copy Link
1 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 458-0030
Visit Website

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.

5. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Copy Link
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-7000
Visit Website

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.

6. Langham Huntington Hotel

Copy Link
1401 S Oak Knoll Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 568-3700
Visit Website

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.

7. Sunset Tower Hotel

Copy Link
8358 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-7100
Visit Website

The Sunset Tower might just have the very best service and very best architecture on the Strip—it was built in 1929 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.

8. Hotel Angeleno

Copy Link
170 N Church Ln
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 647-1163
Visit Website

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.

9. Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Copy Link
506 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624-1011
Visit Website

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.

10. Beverly Wilshire

Copy Link
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 275-5200
Visit Website

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.

11. Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel

Copy Link
6141 Franklin Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 464-5181
Visit Website

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.

12. Magic Castle Hotel

Copy Link
7025 Franklin Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028

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.

13. The Queen Mary

Copy Link
1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90802
(877) 342-0738
Visit Website

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.

14. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

Copy Link
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 228-1234
Visit Website

The crescent-shaped Hyatt Regency Century Plaza was designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki, and along with its adjacent tower has 726 rooms. Its known for its very proper doormen and for serving as something of a Western White House for President Reagan when he was in office. It's about to get an update and some new tower neighbors, and could end up being one of the first pedestrian friendly spots in Century City.

15. Montage Beverly Hills

Copy Link
225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 860-7800

The newest of the Bev Hills giants, the Montage has all the latest and best, including a rooftop pool, private cabanas (with TVs and fridges inside), balconies in all of its 201 rooms, complimentary Benzes with your suite, a spa, and a whole bunch of great dining options: Scarpetta, Conservatory Grill, and Parq Bar.

16. Hollywood Center Motel

Copy Link
6720 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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.

17. Ace Hotel Los Angeles

Copy Link
933 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 623-3233
Visit Website

The Ace began transforming southern Broadway even before it opened in early 2014 (thanks in large part to the chain's strategy of creating gentrification around its hotels) and is now an essential part of nightlife Downtown with its Theatre at the Ace, rooftop lounge, and groundfloor restaurant.

18. The LINE Hotel

Copy Link
3515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 381-7411
Visit Website

With its hipster reinvention of a 1964 hotel, which added sexy Sean Knibb design and restaurants by the beloved Roy Choi, The Line has dragged Koreatown into the mainstream spotlight since it opened in spring 2014 (cool kids have been into the 'hood for years, of course). Rooms may be small, but the hotel offers free bikes to get out and explore, plus it's subway-adjacent.

Loading comments...

1. Château Marmont

8221 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

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?

8221 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

2. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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.

404 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

3. The Standard, Downtown LA

550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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?

550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

4. Shutters On The Beach

1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

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.

1 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405

5. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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.

7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

6. Langham Huntington Hotel

1401 S Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106

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.

1401 S Oak Knoll Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106

7. Sunset Tower Hotel

8358 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

The Sunset Tower might just have the very best service and very best architecture on the Strip—it was built in 1929 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.

8358 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

8. Hotel Angeleno

170 N Church Ln, Los Angeles, CA 90049

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.

170 N Church Ln
Los Angeles, CA 90049

9. Millennium Biltmore Hotel

506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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.

506 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071

10. Beverly Wilshire

9500 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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.

9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

11. Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel

6141 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028

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.

6141 Franklin Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028

12. Magic Castle Hotel

7025 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028

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.

7025 Franklin Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028

13. The Queen Mary

1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802

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.

1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90802

14. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067

The crescent-shaped Hyatt Regency Century Plaza was designed by World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki, and along with its adjacent tower has 726 rooms. Its known for its very proper doormen and for serving as something of a Western White House for President Reagan when he was in office. It's about to get an update and some new tower neighbors, and could end up being one of the first pedestrian friendly spots in Century City.

2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

15. Montage Beverly Hills

225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The newest of the Bev Hills giants, the Montage has all the latest and best, including a rooftop pool, private cabanas (with TVs and fridges inside), balconies in all of its 201 rooms, complimentary Benzes with your suite, a spa, and a whole bunch of great dining options: Scarpetta, Conservatory Grill, and Parq Bar.

225 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

16. Hollywood Center Motel

6720 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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.

6720 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

17. Ace Hotel Los Angeles

933 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015

The Ace began transforming southern Broadway even before it opened in early 2014 (thanks in large part to the chain's strategy of creating gentrification around its hotels) and is now an essential part of nightlife Downtown with its Theatre at the Ace, rooftop lounge, and groundfloor restaurant.

933 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015

18. The LINE Hotel

3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

With its hipster reinvention of a 1964 hotel, which added sexy Sean Knibb design and restaurants by the beloved Roy Choi, The Line has dragged Koreatown into the mainstream spotlight since it opened in spring 2014 (cool kids have been into the 'hood for years, of course). Rooms may be small, but the hotel offers free bikes to get out and explore, plus it's subway-adjacent.

3515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010