A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 59 top hotels in and around Los Angeles. We slept in the beds, lounged by the pools, ate in the restaurants, and sampled the nightlife, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s a list of the top party hotels in Los Angeles.
The A-list party scene here centers around a massive pool area, where the Tropicana bar serves drinks until 2 a.m. The scene often includes internationally known DJs and a who's who of Hollywood starlets (Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Lauren Conrad). Guests can rub shoulders with the stars at the pool, but to get past the door at the exclusive Teddy's nightclub downstairs (where partygoers have included Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Jay-Z, and Penelope Cruz), you'll have to dress your absolute best and pray for a little bit of luck.
Hot spots come and go, but Skybar, which opened in 1996, remains a fixture of L.A. nightlife. The popular rooftop lounge with views of L.A. has a notoriously tight door policy, but hotel guests are automatically on the list — a huge perk of staying here. The space looks like the world's poshest surfside drink shack — one that serves cocktails for double-digit prices. Lobby bar ADCB is a hot spot as well, with orange crushed-velour couches and drinks inspired by the adjoining restaurant Asia de Cuba (think flavored mojitos, lychee margaritas, and so on).
The Sunset Marquis has been a home away from home for rock stars since 1963. The House of Blues, Roxy, and Viper Room are all nearby, and the hotel even has its own recording studio, the Night Bird Sound Studio. Things heat up at night at Bar 1200 (formerly The Whiskey Bar), but usually not until about 11 p.m. It's a dark and intimate scene, with an outdoor patio, velour couches, and autographed photos on the wall. Much of the action eventually moves from the bar to the hotel rooms -- 52 of which are private villas. If only those walls could talk....
DJs spin in the lobby and at the Purple Lounge, and spontaneous pool parties erupt nightly behind this retro-future hotel (hanging bubble chairs in the lobby, bean bags in the rooms) from Andre Balazs. Poolside wait service runs until midnight, turning the blue-Astroturf-covered deck into a popular hangout for guests and young Hollywood scenesters. The diner-style restaurant stays open 24 hours, perfect for soaking up the alcohol with some mac and cheese or fries.
The wood-paneled Bar Marmont is an old-world elegant gastro-pub, but it becomes quite the party scene late at night, fueled by creative $12 cocktails like the Mediterra (vodka, honey, fig puree) and the Diablo (tequila, cassis, lime juice, ginger beer). Stay late and keep your eyes peeled for celebs -- anyone who's anyone in Hollywood has stayed at the Chateau, and even the biggest stars often emerge from the exclusive guest bungalows after midnight and join the bar scene.
Billowy white curtains, white sofas, and a rectangular fireplace adorn The Penthouse, a pulsating restaurant and lounge that on weekends morphs into a crowded pickup scene for industry insiders and celebrity wannabes -- as well as the occasional actual celebrity (Sarah Jessica Parker, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Murray, and Mel Gibson among them). The mirrored, circular bar serves expertly made, pricey cocktails, including a Blackberry Pineapple Sidecar (pressed blackberries, Hennessy, Cointreau, lemon juice, and pineapple juice, $15).
Thompson's sexy rooftop pool and bar offers 360-degree views of the city and feels like the set of a fashion shoot -- a feeling that's only emphasized by the crowd of beautiful people. Come nightfall the cool, pink-lit poolside lounge, ABH (short for Above Beverly Hills), is the center of an exclusive scene, with only hotel guests allowed in. Downstairs, the upscale sushi restaurant BondSt has a vibrant scene, too, and often caters posh private parties thrown at ABH.
Newly opened in the fall of 2009, Suite 700, the rooftop bar at the Art Deco Shangri-La in Santa Monica, has views of the Santa Monica pier, sunsets, and downtown L.A.. The space is open to the public but reservations are required; hotel guests get first crack at them. Downstairs at the pool, DJs spin Thursdays through Sundays until midnight while fashionable guests drink around the oblong firepit or hobnob in private cabanas.