Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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 (The Raffles L'Ermitage also has spacious rooms, but they start at 600 square feet and are curiously out of date tech-wise.)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.
First class service without an attitude. Nightly turndowns, delicious poolside food, 24-hour room service, and knowledgeable concierges
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.
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.
Beautifully appointed 750-square-foot rooms with enormous bathrooms and sumptuous beds
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.
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.
Huge rooms, but devoid of a bring-the-kids vibe
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.
Gordon Ramsay brings the goods -- at every restaurant.
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.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a speck of dirt.
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.
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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