A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 59 top hotels in and around Los Angeles, including Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. We slept in the beds, lounged by the pools, ate in the restaurants, and even sampled the nightlife, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of our favorite boutique hotels.

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Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica

Santa Monica, California, United States

For a stylish and luxurious oceanside getaway, the Shangri-La is mighty close to perfection. The exterior of this recently renovated boutique overlooking the Pacific evokes an elegant ocean liner, and the dazzling pool and lounge area pick up on the maritime theme. The rooms are interesting and pristine, with an Art Deco touches and luxury features like 42-inch flat-screens, iPod docks, and marble-topped soaking tubs. The service, meanwhile, is superb.

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Santa Monica, California, United States

This small, intimate Santa Monica hotel has a relaxed, low-key feel unmatched by its luxury rivals Fairmont Miramar, Shutters on the Beach, and Casa del Mar. The rooms are as beautifully decorated, but larger -- an enormous 550 square feet. Up-to-date electronics and thoughtful design touches hit just the right luxury beach-cottage vibe. The staff provides highly personalized service, remembers guests' names, and offers directions and tips with a friendly smile.


Maison 140 Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills/Bel Air, Beverly Hills, California, United States

This tiny, 43-room boutique makes up in style what it lacks in size and amenities. It has no pool, business center, or restaurant -- but the unique Chinoiserie and Parisian-inspired rooms, cozy lobby bar (with nightly absinthe happy hours), and central Beverly Hills location lure in a loyal crowd.


SIXTY Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills/Bel Air, Beverly Hills, California, United States

This design-heavy, 110-room Beverly Hills boutique just three blocks from Rodeo Drive offers richly furnished rooms with Sferra linens, a Dean-and-Deluca-stocked minibar, and CO Bigelow toiletries -- plus a guest-only rooftop pool and bar with 360-degree city views.


Viceroy Santa Monica

Santa Monica, California, United States

It's best known for its sexy bar and pool scenes, but the Viceroy boasts substance as well: friendly service, an environmental conscience, and clean, comfortable rooms, many with ocean views. There's even a library.


Mosaic Hotel Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills/Bel Air, Beverly Hills, California, United States

Housed in a charming, yellow four-story building just off Wilshire in Beverly Hills, this cozy 49-room boutique offers a lot in a little space, including a small heated pool, restaurant, bar, and free fitness room. Even though standard rooms can feel cramped, they come luxuriously outfitted with Frette robes and towels, Bulgari toiletries, 37-inch flat-screens, and Bose stereos.


Petit Ermitage

West Hollywood, California, United States

It's a matter of taste. The hotel's bohemianism -- think hipsters and distressed fixtures -- will appeal to some but not others. Oyster's take? We dig it, man. For half the price of some of its competitors, you get a completely modern, truly unique boutique with large suites (many with kitchens) and a lovely rooftop pool.


Sunset Tower Hotel

West Hollywood, California, United States

After being restored to its former glory, this 74-room Sunset Strip landmark channels the glamour of old Hollywood. The service is impeccable: Front desk clerks address guests by name, white-jacketed waiters glide from table to table at the classy Tower Bar, and the bell staff treats everyone like stars (A-list celebs and hoi polloi alike). Rooms come with Art Deco touches, updated technology, and floor-to-ceiling casement windows (with great city views on the south side of the building). The full-service Argyle Salon & Spa is a destination in its own right.