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French elegance and a Hollywood scene
The Knot sculpture in the Sofitel lobby
In the Sofitel's guest rooms, a framed picture of the Eiffel Tower sits on a shelf next to a framed picture of the Hollywood sign. The shelf encapsulates the hotel's aesthetic, which combines the elegant luxury for which this French chain is known with a modern Hollywood trendiness. Calls to the front desk are answered with a hearty "bonjour," while the concierge can ably discuss which Hollywood clubs are good on which nights. A central location, at the crossroads of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood across from the huge Beverly Center mall, attracts a chic, international crowd and fashion and entertainment industry folk, who get proximity to Hollywood nightlife as well as Beverly Hills and Third Street shopping.
The dramatic black marble lobby with a huge modern sculpture ("The Knot" by Damon Hildreth) hints that this is not just another Sofitel. The 295-room hotel underwent a massive $50-million facelift in 2006, which included complete room renovations and the addition of a new restaurant, SIMON LA, from Iron Chef Kerry Simon, a new bar, Stone Rose Lounge by nightlife emperor Rande Gerber, and a gorgeous, 5,000-square-foot fitness center and spa. The chic design continues to the concierge station; they're housed in their own plexiglass cube with a bright white backdrop that contrasts starkly with the rest of the lobby's ebony and metallic tones.
Rooms are big on luxury, with huge rain showerheads and thick featherbeds, but starting at 340 square feet, they're a bit smaller than the heavily mirrored rooms at the nearby SLS, which start at 400 square feet. Still, rooms at the Sofitel are typically a bit cheaper and the stylish decor not as severe. The hotel's biggest drawback is its tiny 2nd-floor pool with unpleasant views of the Beverly Center mall. Those looking for a great pool should try the London West Hollywood or the Thompson Beverly Hills, both of which have rooftop pools with stunning views and comparable prices.
All the expected services of a luxury hotel -- though delivery can be inconsistent
The concierge desk
Chicly dressed in black and greeting guests with "bonjour," staffers exude a continental sophistication. As you'd expect at a luxury hotel, there is turndown service, valet parking, and 24-hour in-room dining, but service isn't without the occasional lapse. It's not the flawless service you get at the London West Hollywood.
- Concierge on-duty daily; ably discuss LA nightlife, which clubs are good on which nights, and whom to speak to if guests have problems getting in
- Parking is pricey and valet only
- There's no attendant on call at the small pool, but guests can order food and drink via a courtesy phone.
- Nightly turndown service
- 24-hour room service
On a bustling intersection at the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills
Located on the corner of a major intersection, La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard, and across the street from the huge Beverly Center mall, the hotel is in a busy commercial area in the middle of the city. It borders the trendy, bustling West Hollywood, and quieter, ritzy Beverly Hills, an enclave of wealthy living and luxury shopping in the middle of L.A.'s westside.
- Across the street from the Beverly Center, and a block south of Third Street, a quaint stretch of upscale boutiques and cafes
- Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive is less than two miles, and a 10- to 15-minute drive, away.
- Eateries in all price ranges abound; quick, inexpensive options at the Beverly Center, great cafes for brunch and dinner options, like AOC wine bar, on Third Street.
- Splurge on sushi at the famed Matsuhisa, a half-mile down La Cienega.
- The Sunset Strip, a mile-and-a-half stretch of Sunset Boulevard known for its cutting-edge rock clubs, night spots, and boutiques, is 1.2 miles, or about a five-minute drive, away.
- Santa Monica Beach is about a 30-minute drive.
- Universal Studios, a movie-themed amusement park, is about eight miles and a 20- to 30-minute drive.
- Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard are about four miles and a 10-minute drive.
- Los Angeles International Airport is a 30- to 45-minute drive.
Not huge, but big on luxury
Standard rooms are small, with pillow-top beds.
Starting at 340 square feet, standard rooms aren't huge, but with featherbeds, 400-thread-count sheets, and huge rain showerheads, they pack in a lot of luxury. With photos of both the Eiffel Tower and the Hollywood sign, modern furnishings, an entire wall paneled in a light wood, and a large, lovely pendant lighting fixture hanging over the entry, decor is a welcoming fusion of modern Californian and classic French styles. Rooms here are far softer and warmer than the severely modern, heavily mirrored rooms at the nearby SLS.
- High ceilings and huge windows that stretch to the floor and nearly across the wall; windows in the lowest category Superior Rooms are set back a few feet from behind the curtains, creating an odd sort of pseudo-balcony.
- For a bit more, guests can upgrade to a Luxury Room, 50 square feet larger, with French doors that lead out onto an actual, albeit tiny, balcony (less than two feet deep); a worthwhile upgrade.
- Sumptuous bed topped with thick feather bed, down comforters, 400-thread-count sheets, and fluffy, high-quality, poly-filled pillows
- Spot lamps on either side of the bed and stylish nesting tables that serve as nightstands
- 31-inch LG flat-screen TV and Bose Wave Radio II alarm clock with AM/FM and auxiliary hookups for iPods
- Large, stylish bathrooms feature marble counters, undermount sinks, bamboo plants, and L'Occitane toiletries.
- Bathrooms in standard Superior Rooms have speakers that broadcast sound from the bedroom TV; in Luxury Rooms, bathrooms have Switchlite glass panels that turn into a TV with flip of a switch.
- Standard Superior Rooms feature stand-alone showers with huge rain showerheads; only suites and double double rooms have bath tubs.
An exercising Buddha at the snazzy SoFit gym
Amenities are mixed. The hotel's shining feature is its 5,000-square-foot spa and fitness center -- so lovely that locals can buy memberships to use the facilities. The pool, however, disappoints, especially compared to the rooftop ones at the similarly priced London West Hollywood or the Thompson Beverly Hills.
- Opened 2006; offers a full range of treatments; only spa on the West Coast to offer nanotechnology immersion treatments, which use hyper-oxygenated water for everything from combating aging to improving sports performance.
- Hotel guests can use day spa facilities -- sauna, steam room, and a shower with 20 jets -- for free.
- Product lines used at the spa include Decleor and Carita
The SoFit fitness center:
- Opened 2006; big, snazzy gym with dozens of Life Fitness cardio and weight machines
- Great selection of free weights, a large stretching area, plenty of fitness accessories like a Bosu ball and ab roller, and good lighting and decor
- Cardio machines have individual TV monitors; fruit, Evian water, and chilled towels are provided.
- The small pool off the 2nd floor disappoints -- its landscaping, stylish cantilever umbrellas, and piped-in lounge music don't mask the busy street noise and ugly view of the mall next door.
- No pool attendant on call, but guests can order breakfast, sandwiches, bento boxes, and fancy drinks like French Martinis and Mango Ginger Mojitos via a courtesy phone.
- Open from sunrise to sunset
- Parking is by valet only
- 24-hour room service provided
Pets up to 30 pounds allowed for no extra fee
Dogs and cats up to 30 pounds are allowed. Pet owners must sign a waiver taking responsibility for any damage and put down a refundable deposit. (Many hotels in the area, like the Raffles L'Ermitage Beverly Hills charge a cleaning fee in addition to a deposit.) A pet room service menu offers treats like Purina Kitten Chow dry cat food and Filet Mignon flavor Cesar Original Pate, reasonably priced and unpretentious compared to the $98 Osetra caviar on the L'Ermitage pet room service menu.
Accomodates children, but isn't geared to them
Families can splurge on the ritzy Opera Suite
With small standard rooms, a carefully cultivated sophistication, and a bar that can get noisy, the hotel isn't particularly family-friendly. The nearby, similarly priced Le Parc Suites is less stylish but more family friendly -- all rooms are suites with kitchen facilities and start at a huge 650 square feet.
- Double Double Superior Rooms with two double beds are available; they typically cost only a bit more than a King Superior Room or Luxury King Room.
- King Superior and Double Double Superior rooms can be connected.
- Standard rooms with one bed only have showers; suites and Double Double Superior Rooms have bathtubs.
- Free cribs, but no rollaway beds available
- There's a kids' room service menu with options like silver dollar pancakes and mini burgers with California cheddar and Tuscan fries.
- SIMON LA has a children's menu (with the same items as the room service menu); regular menu also has kid-friendly items like mac and cheese and pizza margherita.
Sparkling guest rooms, but slightly worn hallways
After a $50-million renovation in 2006, the hotel still feels new and clean. Rooms are very clean (save for some water stains on the huge showerhead) and the black marble lobby gleams. Hallways show faint signs of wear with occasional spots on the carpets.
Outdoor cabanas at Stone Rose Lounge
With a great restaurant and bar on-site, and eateries in all price ranges right outside and around the hotel, there are plenty of eating and drinking options.
In 2006, Iron Chef Kerry Simon opened the hotel restaurant SIMON LA, serving an eclectic American menu with Asian and Moroccan influences, while nightlife impresario Rande Gerber opened the expansive Stone Rose Lounge.
- SIMON LA servers breakfast, lunch, and dinner; there are also inventive homemade desserts; outdoor dining and private party rooms available.
- Rande Gerber's Stone Rose Lounge features chic interiors (HBO's True Blood was shot there), a VIP room, and a large outdoor space with cabanas, which are reserved for bottle service on the weekends.
- 24-hour room service; sandwiches are priced in the teens, dinner entrees range from from pasta to a 10-oz. filet mignon.
Massively renovated in 2006, this 295-room outlet of a French chain on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills combines Continental elegance and Hollywood trendiness, with luxurious rooms, a trendy bar and restaurant, and a gorgeous spa and fitness center. Too bad the tiny pool is plagued by street noise and an unsightly view of the mall next door.
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Things You Should Know About Sofitel Los Angeles
- 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Hotel Is Also Known As...
- Accor Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Sofitel
- Imperial Suite
- Luxury Room
- Opera Suite
- Prestige Suite
- Superior Room