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Oyster Hotel Review
This 238-room Westwood hotel has a warm staff, free coffee and wine-hour mixers, and big rooms with free Wi-Fi. But other than proximity to UCLA, there's little reason to book in this neighborhood.
Bold colors and patterns in the Palomar's lobby
There are two reasons you book at the Hotel Palomar in Westwood: You need to be near UCLA or your gigantic Weimaraner needs a home. On a strip of Wilshire Boulevard lined by luxury high-rise condos (thus referred to as the "Golden Mile"), Hotel Palomar lies neither in the most picturesque nor in the most happening neighborhood (little here in the way of destination bars, restaurants, or nightlife). You're also no closer to Santa Monica or West Hollywood than if staying in Beverly Hills (where you can find equally nice hotels well within the same price range). The Getty and Hammer art museums may be close, but it's really the short walking distance to UCLA (and its huge medical center) that's the big sell -- that, and the best pet policy in LA. Pets of all shapes and sizes are welcome at the Hotel Westwood at no additional cost, and they're furnished with free bowls and treats.
Once pet lovers and UCLA visitors get in the door, they'll find all the cool, quirky style that Kimpton is known for. The substantial 350-square-foot rooms with huge 42-inch flat-screens, ETRO toiletries and Frette linens, as well as top-notch service and freebies, may be reason enough to book again. Expect solid service all round, from the attentive porters and valets and prompt 24-hour room service, to the separate concierge (but alas, no poolside drink service). Hotel Palomar also offers those free daily wine and coffee hours that have become de rigueur in Kimpton hotels, as well as the Kimpton guest-loyalty program. Guests can fill out their particular requests (type of pillow, room location, any special needs), which will be saved for their next visit (they also score a free voucher for the minibar).
Granted, the Hotel Palomar's narrow, slightly depressing pool is no match for that of the bigger, cheerier one at the W hotel in Westwood, with its larger deck and poolside restaurant. And Palomar offers only in-room spa treatments, while the W has the on-site, full-service Bliss Spa. But rooms at both hotels are comparable in size and amenities, and the W costs a bit more. If a spa and better pool make the difference, book the W -- but if not, you'll save at the Palomar.
Classic Kimpton attentiveness
Hotel Palomar may not have the nearby W hotel's complimentary Acura, but other than that, there's little this Westwood hotel lacks. Everyone -- from the porters to the room-service staff to the waiters -- are attentive, with a casually friendly, warm vibe that makes guests feel at home.
- 24-hour room service
- Fee for overnight valet parking (about standard for this area)
- Kimpton In Touch guest loyalty program -- guest make requests (type of pillow, room location, special needs) that are recorded for the next visit (they also score a minibar voucher for their next visit
- Extra toiletries (toothpaste, razor, etc.) furnished by housekeeping upon request
- Nightly turndown service
In Westwood, near UCLA but little else
Located in Westwood, an area in west L.A. best known as the home of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Hotel Palomar sits on a strip of Wilshire Boulevard lined by luxury high-rise condos (thus referred to as the "Golden Mile"). It's neither in the most picturesque nor happening neighborhood (short of premieres at the many vintage movie theaters and a popular In-N-Out Burger, there's little here in the way of destination bars, restaurants, or nightlife). Most guests book at Hotel Palomar because it's within walking distance of the massive UCLA campus.
- Three blocks from UCLA, the Hammer Museum, and Westwood Village (the little village around UCLA)
- Three blocks from Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery where Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Burt Lancaster, and other stars are buried
- 15-minute drive to Getty Center, L.A.'s largest art/cultural institution
- 10- to 20-minute drive to Santa Monica, a beach town rich with shops, restaurants, and a touristy pier
- 20- to 30-minute drive to Venice Beach, with its skateboarders, surfers, and hipster restaurants
- 10 minutes to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, an enclave of wealthy living and luxury shopping on L.A.'s westside
- 30 minutes to Universal Studios Hollywood, a movie-themed amusement park
- 20 minutes to touristy Hollywood Boulevard and the celebrity footprints on the Walk of Fame at Grauman's Chinese Theatre
- 20- to 40-minute drive to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Big rooms with luxe amenities
Red-lacquered trays hold Aveda toiletries -- the hotel now carries ETRO toiletries instead
With a design (supposedly) inspired by L.A.'s movie industry, Hotel Palomar is boldly furnished with teal blue accent pillows and black fake fur throws, offset by a lipstick-red bathroom door and red metal bedside drawers. Much like the animal print robes for sale (and free to use) at this and other Kimptons, the decor could be seen as daringly fun or a bit cheesy. Either way, what's not in dispute are the luxury amenities: 42-inch, flat-screens, Frette linens, and ETRO toiletries make these rooms a match for those at the nearby, and more expensive, W.
- Three types of rooms: 350-square-foot Deluxe Room with a king or two double beds; a 650-square-foot King Spa Suite with a separate sitting area, an oversize bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower; and the 750-square-foot Presidential Suite, also with a separate living room area and deluxe bathroom
- For a bit more, it's worth the upgrade to a Vista Deluxe or a Vista King Spa, with a better, panoramic view of Los Angeles; if there are ample rooms available, the hotel might not even charge for it, just ask.
- 42-inch LCD flat-screen with 57 channels (large number for an L.A. hotel) including free Showtime, free HBO HD, and eleven other HD channels; pay-per-view movies; adult entertainment; just-missed TV episodes; free views (exercise videos, golf tips)
- iHome iPod dock
- Soft, top-of-the-line beds: Sealy Posturpedic mattress wrapped in Frette sheets and a down duvet, topped with goose-down pillows, three accent pillows, and a throw
- Bathroom has granite countertop, red lacquered trays holding ETRO toiletries, and sleek mostly Kohler bath fixtures; basic white toilet, full-size tub, and showerhead with good water pressure.
- Free in-room Wi-Fi, for guests who register in the Kimpton guest-loyalty program
- Good, if not extraordinary, minibar with top-shelf liquor, snacks, and intimacy and first-aid kits
- Free daily newspaper, though I was not asked which one I prefer and none was delivered; there were free copies of the New York Times in the hallway.
Hotel Palomar's heated, outdoor pool
Hotel Palomar offers the same excellent free coffee and wine hours as at other Kimpton hotels, plus a sunny, light-filled 24-hour free Precor fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows. But the pool can't compare to the one at the nearby W, and there's no spa.
- A 24-hour, free fitness center, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Wilshire Boulevard; all Precor equipment has individual LCD monitors showing 30 cable stations; fresh towels kept cool in the fridge
- 40-foot, heated outdoor pool, open daily; lounge chairs with free towels and fireplace; no poolside drink service; not an impressive pool compared to the one at nearby W
- 24-hour business center with two Macs (can switch between Mac and Windows operating systems), Lexmark printer; charge for 15 minutes, fee to print.
- Free wine in the early evening. in the on-site BLVD 16 restaurant; free Wii and Rock Band.
- Free daily coffee and selection of teas
- Pet-friendly features and amenities
The most pet-friendly hotel in L.A.
Pets of all shapes and sizes are taken at the Hotel Palomar, at no additional cost, a much better pet policy than other L.A. hotels.
- Free bowls, food, and amenities
- Water bowls outside the hotel entrance
- Concierge can arrange for a house vet, dog day care, dog walking, and pet spa treatments.
- Dogs can be taken anywhere in the hotel except bar and restaurant.
Big rooms and a kids' program: great for families
42-inch flat-screens with lots of channels for kids
With large, 350-square-foot rooms that offer space for the rollaways (low fee) and free cribs available, plus a pool, and a kids' program, this is a good choice for families.
- 40-foot, heated outdoor pool, open daily.
- Family-friendly BLVD 16 restaurant; high chairs and booster seats provided
- KimptonKids program: with prior notice, hotel will furnish children with a welcome pack (a free backpack with yoyos and playing cards), and furnish the room with child-size animal robes; though it's mentioned on the website, there are no child-safety kits (outlet covers, nightlights, etc.) available at this Kimpton hotel.
- Free cribs; fee for rollaways
- Connecting Deluxe Rooms (but no connecting King Spa Suites)
- Families can book a standard 350-square-foot Deluxe Room with two double beds that sleeps up to four, or a 650-square-foot King Spa Suite with a king bed and pullout sofa bed that also sleeps four.
- High chairs and booster seats at the restaurant
BLVD 16 offers farm-to-table cuisine.
Serving a solid, if not culinary groundbreaking, menu of continental American farm-to-table cusine, BLVD 16 is patronized primarily by hotel guests. The menu includes favorites like mac-and-cheese, roasted salmon, and calamari appetizers. It does offer a mean happy hour deserving of a larger crowd, however. The restaurant's emphasis is on sustainable and free-range meats and seafood.
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Saturday-Sunday brunch, and a great daily happy hour
- Breakfast entrees include eggs Benedict, bagel and lox, buttermilk pancakes with macadamia nuts; dinner entrees wild sturgeon with shrimp sausage, roasted halibut.
- A Saturday BBQ set up at the pool features pasta, veggie salads, and fruit salads, and grilled meats; worth it for the low price.
- Although offering unlimited mimosas and Champagne, the Sunday Champagne brunch didn't seem worth it for the typical chafing dishes of pancakes, bacon, and egg dishes, along with pastries, salads, and a bagel platter; no omelet station or freshly made waffles.
A diligent housekeeping staff keeps the rooms spotless and the bathrooms mildew-free.
Just blocks from UCLA (but unfortunately close to little else), this 238-room Kimpton hotel, opened in 2008, offers big 350-square-foot standard rooms (luxuriously outfitted with 42-inch flat-screens and Frette linens), a small heated pool, free coffee and wine hours, and a no-fee pet policy.
This Hotel Also Featured In
Things You Should Know About Hotel Palomar Los Angeles Westwood
- 10740 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, US
Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As
- Hotel Palomar Los Angeles - Westwood - a Kimpton Hotel
- Kimpton Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Kimpton
- Deluxe Room
- King Spa Suite
- Presidential Suite
- Vista Deluxe Room
- Vista King Spa Suite