Welcome to the first-ever edition of Curbed's Hotel 38 map, your answer to the question, "Where should I stay in Los Angeles?" From the snooty opulence of Beverly Hills to the beachy opulence of Santa Monica to the trendy opulence of the Strip to the total 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. Over time, the Hotel 38 will change, with new hotels joining as others fall off, but we'll keep the total number steady at 38. So for those of you sharpening your pitchforks because we've missed your favorite, wouldn't it just be more productive to tip us for next time?
The 38 Essential Los Angeles Hotels
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.
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
The Four Seasons is known for its junkets and you're definitely going to see a celebrity here. The concierge is famously terrific and the 285 guest rooms all come with balconies and iPads. There's also a half-acre pool deck; Culina, Modern Italian; and the beloved Windows Lounge.
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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.
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
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.
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 Bel Air
The tony Hotel Bel Air first opened in 1946 and has been a favorite of privacy-seeking celebrities and other richies ever since. Now owned by the Sultan of Brunei, it got a thorough makeover in 2011--in addition to its 91 rooms (including a presidential suite compound with a 10-person dining rom), it now has 12 villas with their own infinity spas and a La Prairie spa.
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.
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.
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The Beverly Hilton
The Beverly Hilton is the sprawling mid-century hotel you see every year on the Golden Globes. Conrad Hilton built it in 1955 (it was also owned by Merv Griffin for decades) and today it's a little more affordable than some of the other Grand Dames of the Westside. Designed by Welton Becket, the BH has 569 rooms (including poolside cabanas), an enormous pool, restaurants Circa 55 and Trader Vic's, a spa, and a salon.
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.
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.
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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.
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
Sam Nazarian's SLS gets its trendy/whimsical/opulent vibe from hottest-hotel-designer-on-the-planet Philippe Starck. It features 297 rooms, a trendy rooftop, and chef José Andrés's molecular gastronomy-fest The Bazaar.
L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel
The super-luxe L'Ermitage, operated by Viceroy, is known for its doting service and its huge rooms (650 square feet in the standards). It also has a 24-hour pool.
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King Edward Hotel
The King Edward Hotel was built in 1906 by City Hall architect John Parkinson and back in the day was one of the destinations in Downtown. These days it's a single-room occupancy joint on the edge of Skid Row, but it makes the list for its history and for its ground-floor King Eddy Saloon, where Charles Bukowski famously drank. Both the hotel and the bar are currently getting makeovers.
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.
Not just any enormous glassy French chateau could hold its own next to the Beverly Center, but the 295-room Sofitel manages to play a pretty classy counterpart to its neighboring fortress. Its rooms are luxe, its bar and restaurant are trendy, and its pool is tiny and has a view of the Beverly Center.
The Orlando Hotel
The big selling point at the boutique Orlando is its location--right on Third Street and walkable to tons of great restaurants and the Beverly Center. It's chicly decorated and comes with 95 rooms including suites and a saltwater pool.
Montage Beverly Hills
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.
Towne House Motel
The Towne House Motel is a classic kitschy Sunset Boulevard motel--nothing fancy at all, but cute and central, and full of tourists on a budget and kids who just got to town. The ne plus ultra of this variety of Hollywood motel.
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.
Malibu Beach Inn
The Malibu Beach Inn has all the pedigree you'd expect from the only hotel on Carbon (aka Billionaires') Beach--it was renovated a few years back by David Geffen and is now owned by Oracle CEO (and Carbon Beach hog) Larry Ellison. As for accommodations, 47 beachy little rooms are about the extent of it, except for a guest-only restaurant and spa service.
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.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
The historic (more than a century old) Fairmont Miramar is high-class but low-key, set on five acres with 270 rooms and 32 bungalows. It's close to the beach and the Santa Monica Promenade and has some great views, plus the very Santa Monica FIG restaurant (with ingredients from the nearby farmers' market). It's set to be redeveloped, possibly with a 21-story tower.
The Sunset Marquis is the place to stay if you're looking for rock stars (the Rolling Stones are fans, for heaven's sake)--it has its own recording studio and screening room. The 1963 hotel sits on more than four acres off the Strip and offers only villas (with private butlers) and suites, plus two pools, a restaurant called RESTAURANT, Bar 1200, and a spa.
The Sportsmen's Lodge
The Sportsmen's Lodge has been kicking around since the 1880s, believe it or not, and a few decades later became a favorite hangout of stars stopping by from nearby Republic Studios--the current hotel was built in 1962. It comes with a pool, 190 rooms and suites, and the River Rock Lounge, where guests used to bring freshly-caught trout from the nearby lake. The Lodge has just finished up a big overhaul.
Andaz West Hollywood
The hotel formerly known as the Riot Hyatt has really classed up since becoming an Andaz in 2008 (goodbye rock and roll history). It's now all dark and sexy, with a big open lobby overlooking the Strip, 257 rooms (don't forget that half face the Strip), a rooftop pool, and California fusion restaurant RH--they haven't completely forgotten their roots.
Viceroy Santa Monica
The chic Viceroy is one of the more modern-feeling hotel options in Santa Monica (the design is by manic pixie dream decorator Kelly Wearstler), but it's all luxury, like all the others. It has 162 rooms and suites, a happening pool scene, the Whist restaurant, and a library.
Developed by the always-hip Paligroup, the boutique Palihouse West Hollywood became an immediate hotspot when it opened in 2008. It has 36 studio, one-, and two-bedroom suites (there are also residences), a roof deck, and the see-and-be-seen Courtyard Brasserie.
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Mr. C Beverly Hills
This is the first in the famous Cipriani hospitality family's Mr. C brand hotels, and while the name says Beverly Hills, it's actually on kind of a weird stretch of Pico just south of BH (but Picca/Sotto-adjacent). Still, the feel is Old Hollywood glamour, and there's a bar before you even hit the front desk. It has 138 rooms in a range of sizes, all with private balconies, a small pool, and The Restaurant at Mr. C.
The bungalows of The Charlie were first built in 1924 (by the Ruth Gordon family, according to the hotel) and were supposedly owned by Charlie Chaplin. He's been attached to half the places in Hollywood, but either way, The Charlie offers truly charming historic suites, each decorated to fit an Old Hollywood star (they have names like Clark and Marlene and Gregory). They're suited for longer-term stays, with full kitchens, washer/dryers, and patios.