Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Meticulously refurbished to its golden age of Hollywood glamour, this 74-room Sunset Strip icon still draws stars, but treats the hoi polloi just as well.
Hotelier Jeff Klein, who also owns the swanky City Club in New York City, rescued the Sunset Tower in 2005, transforming the decrepit 15-story landmark back into the sparkling Art Deco hotel it once was. In the '30s and '40s, it was the temporary home of Howard Hughes, Billie Burke, Errol Flynn, and John Wayne. (In a later era, Iggy Pop is said to have leapt from his window into the pool, an unlikely if not impossible feat.) While Hollywood luminaries still spend the night, the scene today is decidely more tranquil, with guests more likely to relax in poolside lounge chairs than to attempt rock star stunts.
Unlike the Hollywood Roosevelt, another historic hotel that these days focuses more on cutting-edge nightlife than quiet sophistication, the Tower still delivers bygone glamour that's rare in this neighborhood -- hustling valets; front desk clerks who address guests by name; white-jacketed waiters in the Tower Bar who don't walk but glide from table to table, delivering cocktails while a live pianist sets the mood. No wonder the Tower's first screen appearance was Murder, My Sweet (1944), an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's noir classic Farewell, My Lovely."
Rooms, while not nearly as large as those at the London, are tastefully decorated with dark-wood-and-brass furnishings and comfortable beds that are turned down nightly. Views of greater Los Angeles, available from many of the rooms, are stunning, and the panorama from the relatively small pool deck is also lovely. While Hollywood royalty visits frequently, the Tower has none of the pretense of the too-hip-for-you Chateau Marmont while delivering better quality service than the sleek, 300-room Mondrian just down the street.
The hotel would never admit to hosting stars, but many A-listers spend the night.
While the hotel would never admit to hosting celebrity clientele -- that'd be far too gauche! -- Hollywood royalty does pass through regularly. An October 2009 New York Times article name-checked Jennifer Aniston, Sean Penn, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, and Johnny Depp, as well as a roster of business-side heavies.
Top-notch, luxury-level service; some of the best in Hollywood
With front desk staff that greets guests by name, porters almost too happy to open doors and carry luggage, and accomodating waitstaff in both restaurants, service is top-notch throughout. In Hollywood, only the London takes better care of guests.
In the beating heart of West Hollywood, right on the Sunset Strip
Located in the heart of West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower is on the same stretch as three other popular and notable hotels, the extravagantly designed Mondrian, the achingly hip Standard Hollywood, and the celebrity magnet Chateau Marmont.
The Sunset Strip, which has long been known for its famed music clubs like the House of Blues, the Roxy, Viper Room, and Whisky a Go Go, has gotten significantly more upscale than its strip club and head shop days in the '70s and '80s -- though that doesn't mean all the grit is gone. A few (now legal) marijuana dispensaries dot West Hollywood, and panhandlers occasionally operate on Sunset Boulevard. Overall, though, the neighborhood is safe and clean.
Furnished with wood-and-brass-trim desks, wardrobes, and side tables, the guest rooms lack the edgy design you'll find at the Mondrian, but the art deco accents fit the nostalgic vibe of the hotel perfectly. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of light into the bedroom. Plus, rooms on the south side of the building have sweeping views of Los Angeles. Renovations to the bathrooms in 2012 have added all new fixtures to create a modern, comfortable experience. Like the hotel as a whole, rooms are refined, comfortable, and a good value.
A full-service spa is the highlight at this small yet well-equiped hotel.
As a smaller hotel, the Sunset Tower can't compete with the bigger London or Hollywood Roosevelt when it comes to amenities. But the features the hotel does have are excellent, among them a top-notch spa and a modern, well-maintained fitness center.
Ideal pet hotel: next door to an off-the-leash dog park and pets are pampered almost as much as the human guests.
A destination spa -- the best in Hollywood
Awarded "Best spa treatment rooms" by Los Angeles magazine for both their size and their copious amenities, the spa and salon at the Tower gets almost as much press as the stars who stay at the hotel.
Not ideal for families, thanks to a hushed, adult-only vibe
The standard guest rooms aren't big enough for rollaway beds, and the sophisticated vibe -- poolside business meetings and a hushed, clubby atmosphere in restaurants -- certainly isn't inviting to youngsters. Families might prefer the Magic Castle Hotel or Le Parc Suite Hotel.
As immaculate as you'd expect, given the hotel's attention to detail
Two popular restaurants on-site; a casual poolside spot and a refined dinner option
A rejuvenated Sunset Strip landmark with just 74 rooms, the Art Deco Sunset Tower draws A-list celebrities and treats everyday guests like stars with impeccable service and a vibe that channels the glamorous history of Hollywood. Despite its small pool, the Tower is still a great value.