SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Hot Spots: The restaurants Bazaar and Tres, from acclaimed chef Jose Andres (who beat Bobby Flay on "Iron Chef America"). SLS guests also get preferential reservations at SBE's other L.A. restaurants, lounges, and clubs, including Katsuya (known for their sushi), and Area, one of the more popular clubs. The Business Staples: Impressive 24-hour fitness center; well-equipped business center with MacBooks, copy machines, and printers; free car service in a custom Mercedes Jet Van within a two-mile radius The Bottom Line: The Philippe Starck-designed SLS, opened in 2008, may dazzle -- and possibly overwhelm -- the senses with capital-D design. The rooms are sleek, luxurious, and spacious; its gym is enormous, and restaurants by Spanish chef Jose Andres are praiseworthy. But the high-design elements sometimes get in the way of comfort and practicality -- neither of its two pools, for example, is deep enough for swimming.

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 Hot Spots: The restaurants Bazaar and Tres, from acclaimed chef Jose Andres (who beat Bobby Flay on "Iron Chef America"). SLS guests also get preferential reservations at SBE's other L.A. restaurants, lounges, and clubs, including Katsuya (known for their sushi), and Area, one of the more popular clubs. The Business Staples: Impressive 24-hour fitness center; well-equipped business center with MacBooks, copy machines, and printers; free car service in a custom Mercedes Jet Van within a two-mile radius The Bottom Line: The Philippe Starck-designed SLS, opened in 2008, may dazzle -- and possibly overwhelm -- the senses with capital-D design. The rooms are sleek, luxurious, and spacious; its gym is enormous, and restaurants by Spanish chef Jose Andres are praiseworthy. But the high-design elements sometimes get in the way of comfort and practicality -- neither of its two pools, for example, is deep enough for swimming.
Traveling for business doesn't mean you can't have any fun. These great hotels offer all the business traveler staples -- comfortable beds, up-to-date technology, and solid fitness centers -- as well popular after-work or nightlife scenes. Unwinding after a day of meetings doesn't have to mean room service and reruns (though that's an option, too); these hotels offer guests a night out on the town right downstairs. So go ahead -- have fun like it's your job. First up, Eventi, New York City Hot Spots: An outdoor BeerParc with gourmet food stands, and tapas and cocktails at the lively, ultra-modern Bar Basque The Business Staples: Four gourmet to-go restaurants from Jeffrey Chodorow at Food Parc; 20,000 square feet of event space; and room service, a business center, and fitness center open around-the-clock The Bottom Line: A stylish lobby, big, beautiful rooms with Frette sheets and 37-inch flat-screens, and gourmet to-go fare at Jeffrey Chodorow's Food Parc make this 292-room Kimpton the best hotel in a developing pocket of northern Chelsea. It offers easy access to the tourist sites, and FoodParc, BeerParc, and Bar Basque are all local hot spots. Hot Spots: A hip rooftop lounge with an artificial beach, the lively Living Room lounge, and a classy restaurant The Business Staples: Location near corporate offices and the San Diego Concourse; five meetings rooms; 24-hour fitness center; 24-hour concierge The Bottom Line: This stylish 261-room hotel in Downtown San Diego is as hip as you'd expect a W to be, with a happening rooftop lounge featuring an artificial beach, a rooftop pool, and a lively lobby area. Rooms have beach-inspired decor, window seats, and modern technology, including iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. Hot Spots: The restaurants Bazaar and Tres, from acclaimed chef Jose Andres (who beat Bobby Flay on "Iron Chef America"). SLS guests also get preferential reservations at SBE's other L.A. restaurants, lounges, and clubs, including Katsuya (known for their sushi), and Area, one of the more popular clubs. The Business Staples: Impressive 24-hour fitness center; well-equipped business center with MacBooks, copy machines, and printers; free car service in a custom Mercedes Jet Van within a two-mile radius The Bottom Line: The Philippe Starck-designed SLS, opened in 2008, may dazzle -- and possibly overwhelm -- the senses with capital-D design. The rooms are sleek, luxurious, and spacious; its gym is enormous, and restaurants by Spanish chef Jose Andres are praiseworthy. But the high-design elements sometimes get in the way of comfort and practicality -- neither of its two pools, for example, is deep enough for swimming. Hot Spots: Uber-popular nightclub Tryst, with go-go dancers; the more intimate Blush nightclub; plus more casual bars and numerous noteworthy restaurants The Business Staples: Great fitness center (but for a fee); 200,000 square feet of convention space; huge rooms with modern technology and top-quality beds; and even an 18-hole golf course The Bottom Line: Remote-controlled drapes in the giant rooms, eight premier restaurants, an 18-hole golf course -- the 2,716-room Wynn is one of the Strip's most extravagant luxury hotels. But service is a bit impersonal, and it costs an extra $30 just to use the fitness center. Hot Spots: China Grill restaurant by Jeffrey Chodorow, and drinks and live music at Angels & Kings The Business Staples: Meeting space for up to 300; 24-hour room service; 24-hour business center; location in The Loop business district The Bottom Line: Housed in the Carbide & Carbon building -- a Chicago landmark supposedly inspired by the design of a champagne bottle -- the Hard Rock stands out among the rest of Chicago's hotels. Inside, the property is sophisticated, stylish, and fun, with some original art deco embellishments on the floor and, of course, the rock-n-roll paraphernalia. Hot Spots: The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge, with a small pool and great city views; and the hip Lobby Bar The Business Staples: Free fitness center with sauna-style showers; excellent beds with Frette linens; secretarial services, a courier, and a notary public; same-day laundry, or rush two-hour laundry The Bottom Line: For the price, you'll be hard-pressed to find this level of on-site amenities at any other New York hotel. The Empire's rooftop bar and pool, both with excellent views of the upscale Upper West Side, make this 420-room hotel one of the city's best values, despite the small rooms. Hot Spots: POV and The Rooftop Terrace with phenomenal views and drinks developed by the renowned Sasha Petraske; Living Room Lounge and Cellar Wine Bar; and a steakhouse by celeb chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten The Business Staples: 24-hour room service; 24-hour business center; 24-hour Whatever/Whenever concierge services; modern fitness center; free drop-off service within a five-mile radius of the hotel in a chauffeured Acura MDX SUV The Bottom Line: The gorgeous, 317-room W Washington D.C. opened in July 2009, taking over the historic Hotel Washington's 1917 Beaux Arts building. But blending the new -- fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a fashionable rooftop bar; a great spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service -- with the old -- small guest rooms; no pool; desolate location (come evening) -- has its trade-offs.
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