In addition to sleeping at and photographing the best hotels throughout Los Angeles, we also tested their service by probing their concierges, detailing our arrival process, timing our room service deliveries, making plenty of special requests, and interviewing other guests to find out their experiences. We did this in order to seek out the hotels with the best service — the few hotels that really go above and beyond to ensure every guest has a perfect, hassle-free stay.
Above and beyond isn't an exaggeration here. From a managerial escort to your guest room to a handwritten welcome note on said room's desk to delivering room service ice cream after dinner to prevent melting, the Peninsula is ritzier than the Ritz. On check-in, the question isn't if you'd like turndown service but when. And the hotel's town car, available to guests for free, is a Rolls Royce.
Standards are high across the board in L.A., but L'ermitage makes our list with utterly exceptional service. Of particular note: The hotel's flexible arrival and departure policy that allows guests to check in or out at any time within a 24-hour period. After you settle in, a free Mercedes Benz shuttles guests to Rodeo Drive. And, shopping complete, guests can order room service with abandon, as there are no extra charges tacked onto bills.
Some of the best concierges in L.A. work at The London, who might, were they not so gracious, scoff at a request so simple as a restaurant recommendation: Our reporter requested daily rental rates of a Ferrari Spyder 430 versus a Bentley Continental GTC, and within 45 minutes someone had researched exotic car services and called her cell phone with the answer. (For the record, the Bentley was cheaper.) Staff always addresses guests with a Mr. or Ms. and nightly turndown service is the norm. The two Michelin-star Gordon Ramsey restaurant offers 24-hour room service and also serves guests at the pool where attendants hand out chilled lavender-scented washcloths to sunbathers.
The professional, unpretentious staff here makes every guest feel at home -- and that's not something you can say for every Beverly Hills hotel. Among the top-notch services? Parking valets stock car cup holders with fresh bottles of water every time they retrieve a ride, guests request turndown service on check-in so there's no need to call down in the evening, and quick-stepping pool attendants serve up free bottled water.
The gracious staff at this Art Deco boutique elevates stays from comfortable to memorable. With front desk staff that greets guests by name, porters almost too happy to open doors and carry luggage, and accommodating waitstaff, only The London -- also on our list -- takes better care of visitors to West Hollywood. Oh, and should you be an A-list celebrity, this is your place: Owner Jeff Klein is known for having his staff sign ironclad non-disclosure agreements to make sure no stories end up in the gossip rags about who's ordered another bottle of Champagne from the 24-hour room service.
One might expect frosty service at this thoroughly hip West Hollywood hotel but this is not the case. Expect smiles, even from the doormen at the exclusive Skybar and the porters, who know the hotel and its many design details. As befits a hotel with a reputation for all-night parties, room service and the concierge are naturally on-call 24 hours a day.
Service at Shutters is as extensive as it comes in Santa Monica, and the staff executes efficiently. We particularly liked that the two doormen at the entrance greeted our reporter with a towel and bottle of water when he returned from a beachfront run. And staffers volunteer their own names to guests, asking that they call if there's anything that can be done to improve a stay; personal accountability, in our experience, always makes for quality service.
Much like the Sunset Tower, above, the Sunset Marquis gets so many celebrity guests, its staff no longer treats the glitterati well at the expense of the rest of us; service here is superb whether you're playing a show at Whisky a Go Go or just attending one. Our reporter tested the concierge with a tricky request to track down the ever-mobile Kogi Korean BBQ truck. The day's schedule hadn't been posted when she asked in person, but an hour later a printout of the schedule arrived in an envelope beneath her door. Nightly turndown service includes a dark piece of chocolate on the pillow, drawn curtains, and personal toiletries perfectly arranged -- a nice touch for rockers that always tend to get home a bit too late.
If you can stand the marketing gimmicks -- hotel staffers are called "talent," doormen are known as "welcome ambassadors" -- service here really does shine. The standard higher-end offerings, of course, are 24-hour room service, in-room spa services, and a free house car. But the W excels in the details, knocking on doors if wake-up calls aren't answered, offering umbrellas at the door if foul weather is threatening, and offering to pack take-it-on-the-plane lunches for departing guests. Whatever, whenever indeed.