The London West Hollywood Rating: 4.5 Pearls
West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • No rooms are smaller than 750 square feet, and all feature Waterworks bathrooms.
  • Beautiful rooftop pool with panoramic views
  • Impeccable service with nightly turndowns and a renowned concierge desk
  • Quiet location just off the Sunset Strip
  • Michelin-star restaurants from chef Gordon Ramsay
  • Free town car to any destination within a two-mile radius

Cons

  • Expensive valet parking (though with full in-out privileges)
  • Small indoor gym lacks natural light (but there's a nice outdoor fitness area as well).
  • Labyrinth-like hallways can be confusing to navigate -- but add to the feeling of privacy.

Bottom Line

Just off the Sunset Strip, the London offers the highest levels of luxury and service at reasonable prices. With 200 beautifully appointed, 750-square-foot rooms, a rooftop pool and fitness area with panoramic views, and a restaurant from star chef Gordon Ramsay, the hotel attracts a sophisticated set who expect service as great as the value.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Beautiful rooms, impeccable service, panoramic views, and a suave but relaxed crowd

Style without stuffiness at the rooftop pool
Style without stuffiness at the rooftop pool

The London is a revelation in a city where style often means some pretense, service often means some stuffiness, and a rooftop pool with divine views often means wading through a crowd. Opened in 2008 and tucked away just steps from the boutiques and legendary music clubs along the Sunset Strip, the London is understated Hollywood glamour at its best. The hotel caters to as much of the showbiz set as its neighbors the Chateau Marmont and the Hollywood Roosevelt -- but lacks the fussiness and pomp. You could say the same about the Standard West Hollywood, but that hotel is more of a party spot. From design to service, food to amenities, the London delivers -- and without compromising value. Put another way: L.A. needed this hotel.

Interiors were designed by David Collins, a friend of Madonna's, who's best known for his work in some of London's most celebrated restaurants and bars, including Claridge's Hotel Bar and the National Dining Rooms at the National Gallery. The London's 200 rooms start at a massive 750 square feet -- larger than any other hotel in L.A. -- and have enormous, gleaming-white modern bathrooms, most with sunken tubs. (The Raffles L'Ermitage also has spacious rooms, but they start at 600 square feet and are curiously out of date tech-wise.) The hotel has a rooftop pool, terrace, and fitness center surrounded with glass walls that allow panoramic views of the Los Angeles valley. Downstairs there's a restaurant with a cumbersome name but a famous chef, Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood.

Service details are of special importance here: the chilled lavender washcloths by the pool, the remarkably resourceful concierge staff, the "welcome back" from the fedora-topped doorman every time a guest walks through the front door. Better yet, it's the kind of service that doesn't discriminate between regular Janes or industry folks who Need. Things. Done. Right. Now.

The London has been racking up the accolades fast -- and deservedly. It made Conde Nast Traveler's 2009 Hot List, and was also named the "best large city hotel" in the continental U.S. and Canada by Travel + Leisure in 2009. Okay, so the gym is small, but that's nitpicking. For the price, it just doesn't get much better. The London offers some of L.A.'s greatest luxury -- and value.

 Service

First class service without an attitude. Nightly turndowns, delicious poolside food, 24-hour room service, and knowledgeable concierges

Expect a courteous welcome at the door.
Expect a courteous welcome at the door.

With nightly turndowns, 24-hour room service, poolside dining provided by the hotel's Gordon Ramsay restaurant, and a remarkably resourceful concierge service, there's practically no request the knowledgeable and friendly staff can't fulfill -- and always while politely addressing you as Ms. or Mr. So-and-so.

The hotel is known for its concierge service. A request for daily rental rates of a Ferrari Spyder 430 versus a Bentley Continental GTC was fulfilled within 45 minutes. (For the record, the Bentley was cheaper). Oh, and could you tell me where I can find the Koji Korean BBQ truck? Again, an answer arrived within minutes -- someone tracked it down on Twitter. The concierge can also get difficult restaurant reservations, book helicopters and private tours, and secure tickets to otherwise sold-out venues.

  • Nightly turndown service
  • Acclaimed concierge services throughout the day. The London can book everything from helicopters to private museum tours, and secure difficult dinner reservations.
  • 24-hour room service provided by the restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood (delivery charge and an automatic 20 percent service charge apply).
  • Poolside drinks (full bar) and food service (also from Ramsay's restaurant). Waitstaff periodically walks around the deck with chilled lavender washcloths.

 Location

Just off the Sunset Strip in the heart of West Hollywood

Located in the heart of West Hollywood just steps from the Sunset Strip, one of the hippest stretches of L.A., the London West Hollywood is as central and convenient as it is quiet. The Strip has long been known for music clubs like the House of Blues, the Roxy, Viper Room, and Whisky A Go-Go, which is across the street, but it has gotten significantly more upscale than it was in its strip-club-and-head-shop days in the '70s and '80s. The A-list designer boutiques and restaurants are here to stay. One warning: The hotel's narrow entrance on North San Vicente Boulevard is easy to miss the first time -- it's marked only by a wrought-iron gate.

  • Steps from the famed Sunset Strip music clubs like the Roxy and Viper Room -- and Whiskey A Go-Go is across the street.
  • Sunset Plaza, a walkable half-mile stretch of upscale boutiques and restaurants like BLT Steak, Roberto Cavalli, and Catherine Malandrino, is less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
  • Valet parking costs an extra $32 a day (though with full in-out privileges)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a half-hour drive (but up to one and a half hours in traffic).
  • The Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre are about a five-minute drive.
  • Universal Studios is a 20-minute drive.
  • Santa Monica beach is at least a 30-minute drive, depending on traffic.
  • The luxury boutiques of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills are 10 to 15 minutes away.

 Rooms

Beautifully appointed 750-square-foot rooms with enormous bathrooms and sumptuous beds

No room is smaller than 750 square feet.
No room is smaller than 750 square feet.

These are undoubtedly some of the best rooms in L.A. (the hotel calls them suites); they're comfortable, quiet, very spacious without feeling empty, and impeccably furnished. Interior designer David Collins, who's best known for his restaurant work in London (The Blue Bar at the Berkeley Hotel, Claridge's Hotel Bar, the National Dining Rooms at the National Gallery) created the stylish but comfortable and accessible feel. The color scheme relies heavily on soothing colors like cool sage and beige, with inconspicuous accents like green marble-topped desks, and unexpected (but lovely) bright green lacquered closets. Collins' team clearly paid great attention to minutiae -- there are dimmers on the lights, extra outlets, couches upsholstered in velvet and triple-toned leather. No room is smaller than 750 square feet -- enormous by L.A. standards -- and all come with balconies, wet bars, king beds (there are a few rooms with two doubles), and huge marble and white-tile bathrooms designed by Waterworks, most with sunken tubs and double-headed showers big enough for two people.

  • None of the 200 rooms are smaller than 750 square feet, and all have open floor plans.
  • Ultra luxurious king beds (a few rooms have two doubles) have 350-thread-count Italian Fili D'oro linens, duck-feather-stuffed pillows and duvets, and a divine Argentinian alpaca throw
  • The enormous bathrooms were developed by bathroom designer Waterworks, and include hand-cut mosaic tiles and Carrera marble counters. Most include sunken tubs and a separate shower with two showerheads, one raindrop and another that's standard.
  • Egyptian cotton towels; the toiletries, from Clear by LXR, include unusual ingredients like Amazonian babassu, Mediterranean almond, and aloe leaf extract.
  • All rooms come with small, tiled balconies with wrought-iron railings and a lounge chair big enough for two.
  • Wet bars with marble counters are stocked with items such as Larabars (100 percent raw food), VerMints (all natural mints from Vermont), martini olives, and bottles of Patron tequila, Johnnie Walker Black, and Bombay Sapphire gin.
  • Tech amenities in all rooms include iHome iPod docking stations, electronic safes big enough for a laptop, and 32-inch LG flat-screen TVs with 50 channels, including the major networks, HBO, BBC America, and movies on-demand.
  • All light switches have dimmers, and some have energy-saving motion detectors that automatically turn off the lights when there's no movement in the room.
  • Unexpected details in every room include a lint roller and an audiovisual cord to connect computers with the TV.
  • Free calls to London
  • Most rooms have views of Los Angeles or the Hollywood Hills (though mine, on the 3rd floor, looked out on a walkway). Request the 5th floor or higher for the best views.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, as well as an Ethernet cord in every room
  • Labyrinth-like hallways can be confusing to navigate but make the rooms feel tucked away and private.

 Features

Fantastic rooftop pool and a small outdoor fitness area, but a cramped indoor gym

Panoramic views from the rooftop pool and fitness area
Panoramic views from the rooftop pool and fitness area

Guests flock to the 10th-floor glassed-in rooftop pool and bar -- and it can fill up -- but it doesn't manage to feel claustrophobic. (The Standard Hollywood also has a nice pool, but it has more of party scene.) Open from 8 a.m. to midnight, the pool area has outstanding panoramic city views, a firepit, a tiled waterfall, and soothing lounge music in the background (quiet, not distracting). The poolside food service is handled by chef Gordon Ramsay's restaurant downstairs. Also on the rooftop is an indoor gym, but it's small (roughly 250 square feet), almost windowless, and the cardio machines (three ellipticals, three treadmills, and a recumbent bike) are crammed together. If that doesn't work for you, there's a spacious outdoor terrace with a small fitness area and panoramic views that includes another treadmill and recumbent stationary bike placed beneath a shaded white tent.

  • Rooftop pool with panoramic views and plenty of umbrellas and lounge chairs on the deck
  • Four poolside cabanas each have couches, chairs and a flat-screen TV, and can be purchased for six hours (no shorter time period).
  • Water and fruit are always stocked by the pool (and they're free).
  • Outdoor rooftop fitness area with a treadmill, a recumbent bike, and two yoga mats, for an extra-nice view while you're working out.
  • Indoor gym is crammed into a small space and includes three new LifeFitness treadmills, three LifeFitness elliptical machines, a full set of weights, and an assortment of weight machines.
  • Gym has bottled Icelandic Glacial water on hand, towels, and stacks of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal. Lack of windows, though, can make the room feel claustrophobic.
  • Full-service Alex Roldan Salon on the lobby level, including hair, nails, and skincare. Paris Hilton occasionally gets her hair blow-dried here.
  • Free yoga sessions Saturday and Sunday mornings on the rooftop
  • Free town car to ferry you around within two miles of the hotel; first come, first served

 Family

Huge rooms, but devoid of a bring-the-kids vibe

The target market is definitely grown-ups.
The target market is definitely grown-ups.

No room is smaller than 750 square feet, which means there's a lot of room for families to spread out. That said, the hotel's well-polished decor and private, discreet vibe doesn't exactly scream "bring the kids." Management says they see a handful of families there in the summer (and typically only the summer). Rooms are large enough to easily fit a rollaway bed (for a fee) or a crib (free), and there are plenty of kid-friendly items (for adult-size prices) on the 24-hour room service menu -- a mini beef burger with fries, for instance.

  • Huge rooms translate to plenty of room for kids and gear, but not much of a kid-friendly vibe.
  • Cribs are free; rollaway beds are charged per night.
  • Kid-friendly items on the 24-hour room service menu range between (mac and cheese) and (burger with fries).

 Food

Gordon Ramsay brings the goods -- at every restaurant.

A high-end dining room for high-end food
A high-end dining room for high-end food

Fans of the reality-TV show Hell's Kitchen know Gordon Ramsay as a profanity-spewing, hard-driving boss. Diners know him for his 16 Michelin stars, 27 restaurants, and his laser-like focus on classic French culinary technique. The food here, at Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood (as well as several other, smaller Ramsay offshoots), is largely nouveau American, with lots of emphasis on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients -- and the prices reflect Ramsay's prestige. The restaurant itself is beautiful, with pale pink and white couches, heavy wooden tables, and gold accents. On the downside, all the tables feel crammed together.

  • Restaurant by star chef Gordon Ramsay -- a beautiful space with plush leather and velvet banquettes. In addition to delicious dishes like Maine lobster with mango and heirloom melons and seared prime ribeye, the cocktails, such as the signature London, which includes Plymouth gin and lillet (a French apertif), fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and champagne, are wonderful.
  • Boxwood Cafe, also by Ramsay, serves breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, and afternoon tea.
  • Rooftop by Ramsay serves al fresco lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch seasonally.
  • The London Bar offers small plates and cocktails by, yet again, Gordon Ramsay. The daily happy hour is particularly impressive for both its selection and prices.
  • 24-hour room service.
  • Poolside food service.

 Cleanliness

You'd be hard-pressed to find a speck of dirt.

A spotless hallway in the lobby
A spotless hallway in the lobby

You could probably safely eat off the floor in any corner of this hotel. Except for a wee bit of rust on a basket in the tub, the rooms are spotless. Public areas like the lobby and hallways are equally immaculate.

 Bottom Line

Just off the Sunset Strip, the London offers the highest levels of luxury and service at reasonable prices. With 200 beautifully appointed, 750-square-foot rooms, a rooftop pool and fitness area with panoramic views, and a restaurant from star chef Gordon Ramsay, the hotel attracts a sophisticated set who expect service as great as the value.

Things You Should Know About The London West Hollywood

Address

  • 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • London Hotel West Hollywood
  • London West Hollywood

Room Types

  • Crown Suite
  • One-Bedroom Suite
  • Suite
  • Sunset Suite
  • Veranda Suite
  • Vista Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 200
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
View All

Hotel Information

Location: West Hollywood, Los Angeles
Address: 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
(See Map)
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