Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Marry a boutique hotel with a resort, and you get the Luxe Sunset Boulevard in Bel Air. On an out-of-the-way stretch of Sunset Boulevard off Highway 405, this luxury boutique has just 160 rooms, but they're spread over a seven-acre, two-building property with a tennis court, a pool, and a spa. A white van shuttles guests between the main building (which houses the lobby, the restaurant, and some rooms) to the uphill building (more rooms, plus the pool, fitness center, and spa). Travelers who’ve visited the sister property in Beverly Hills, the Luxe Rodeo Drive, may recognize the tastefully comfortable but slightly staid lobby décor -- all muted, warm shades of chocolate brown, beige, and cream, with bookshelves stocked with books curiously wrapped in white paper (so you can’t tell them apart from one another). The big difference between this hotel and the Beverly Hills location is the amount of space: The standard-size room here, at 522 square feet, is over twice as large.
With its expansive, landscaped outdoor patio area, as well as three conference rooms and a 4,500-square-foot ballroom, the Luxe is a popular spot for weddings and conferences. Wedding parties and business travelers take over the hotel almost every weekend, along with college parents in town to visit their kids at nearby UCLA. For vacationers planning to explore the city, the Luxe Sunset’s location in the tony but very residential Bel Air neighborhood renders it a less appealing choice than hotels in livelier areas such as Santa Monica, downtown, or West Hollywood. Hotels in Westwood (the Hotel Palomar, the W) face the same problem, but they have the advantage of being within walking distance of UCLA and Westwood Village.
Travelers who do book here will find they get more than their money’s worth, from the huge rooms with free Wi-Fi and 32-inch flat-screen TVs to the heated outdoor pool and free business center, fitness center, and tennis court. Upon check-in, guests are greeted with a voucher for a free wine or cappuccino. There's nightly turndown service and a free shuttle from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. that drops guests anywhere within a three-mile radius of the hotel (mostly used for visits to Westwood Village and UCLA or the J. Paul Getty Museum).
Seasonal poolside service, but everything else you'd expect from a luxury hotel
A few of the services are similar to what you'd find at a five-star Beverly Hills hotel -- the nightly turndown service, for example, and the van that drives guests anywhere within a three-mile radius of the hotel. There is food and drink service at the pool — room service orders are delivered there, there is no restaurant — but only in the summer months.
Near UCLA and the Getty Museum, but little else
The Luxe Sunset’s out-of-the-way location off a residential stretch of Sunset Boulevard, in the tony neighborhood of Bel Air, means visitors don't have easy access to the city's dining, nightlife, and shopping hubs -- especially as compared to hotels in downtown L.A., Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Other than proximity to UCLA and a handful of cultural institutions like the J. Paul Getty Museum, there are not many attractions here -- but the relative calm does provide a nice sense of escape.
The Luxe Sunset Boulevard offers larger rooms than either the W or the Hotel Palomar in Westwood. The restrained interior design, with framed illustrations of seashells and furniture in muted shades of beige and chocolate brown, lends the rooms a more relaxing and sophisticated feel than the brassier, more colorful furnishings at the other two hotels. Disappointments included a paltry 24 cable-TV channels and basic, no-name toiletries.
Extensive -- even a tennis court
Like a mini-resort, the Luxe Sunset Boulevard has space enough over its seven acres for a pool, spa, fitness center, sauna, and tennis court. The similarly priced W and Hotel Palomar, in nearby Westwood, don't have the space to offer as many features -- although the W does have the better spa, Bliss.
Only pets under 50 pounds
Luxe's pet policy (only pets under 50 pounds, and fee per stay) can't beat that of the no-fee Hotel Palomar. A dog bed and bowl are included, though -- and there are a variety of pet packages available, including special spa services like owner-and-pet massages.
Huge rooms can accomodate up to six guests with rollaways.
While it lies farther away from family attractions such as Universal Studios or the La Brea Tar Pits, the Luxe Sunset Boulevard's spaciousness makes it inherently more family-friendly than many nearby hotels. Its large standard rooms have more than enough space for rollaway beds or cribs, and the forested seven-acre property, including a free pool and tennis court, offers plenty of room for kids to explore.
Clean and well maintained
The rooms, the pool, and the lobby and restaurant areas are all spotless and all the furniture looks to be in good condition (the last renovation was in 2006). No mildew in the bathroom or dust on the furniture.
Lunch at Luxe's On Sunset restaurant is a good deal made even better if you dine on the sunny, canopied patio. Entree lunch prices run notably lower than at most Beverly Hills and Westwood hotels. Breakfast and dinner prices are more in line with other hotels. The restaurant calls its cuisine "seasonal California fresh fare with a splash of French."
Popular for weddings and conventions, this 160-room luxury boutique hotel in Bel Air may be far removed from the action of Santa Monica and Hollywood, but it offers 522-square-foot standard rooms with free Wi-Fi and loads of extra amenities (tennis court, pool, spa, free business center) spread over an expansive seven-acre estate.