- Fee for valet parking (no self-parking available)
- Fee for Wi-Fi
Rock stars have been flocking to this low-key hotel since 1963.
So many celebrities traipse through the Sunset Marquis, the staff doesn't get starstruck anymore. (When Oyster first covered the property, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, and Roger Daltrey of The Who were all spotted during our two-night stay.)
The Sunset Marquis cost $8 per night when it first opened in 1963 as a motel for musicians playing at the nearby House of Blues, Roxy, and Viper Room, all located within a few minutes' walk. It has since expanded to 152 rooms, 52 of which are villas, two pools, and a state-of-the-art recording studio designed by renowned acoustician George Augspurger and accessed via a hidden entrance in the underground garage (Lil Wayne and Green Day had both recorded there within a few days of Oyster's stay).
Despite its prominence as a hotel to A-list rock stars, it feels remarkably relaxed. The quiet feel may have something to do with the meandering stone and brick pathways, a koi pond under a footbridge, and hedges that protect the hotel and its guests from the riffraff of Sunset Boulevard half a block away. The hotel can get "raucous," according to a staff member, especially at night, but it doesn't seem to be a regular occurrence.
No matter what your last name, or how many stages you've played on or haven't, the service is great across the board. At 350 square feet, the Sunset's standard rooms aren't as spacious as the 750-square-foot ones at the London West Hollywood just down the road, but they underwent soft renovations at the beginning of 2010 that updated them with more modern furnishings and flat-screen TVs.
Yes, the newer London has better rooms, as well as a spectacular rooftop pool, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, and its own share of celebrities -- but the rock-star, cool factor is higher at the Sunset.
Turndown service, and poolside food and drinks
Nightly turndowns come with chocolates; there's 24-hour room service, and the concierges are excellent. When asked about tracking down the Kogi Korean BBQ truck, a mobile food truck famous for its fusion of Mexican and Korean food, the concierge immediately searched for it on Twitter.
Just off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood
The Sunset Marquis is tucked away on a quiet side street in the heart of West Hollywood steps from Sunset Strip, the mile-and-a-half stretch of Sunset Boulevard known for its cutting-edge rock clubs and night spots and its collection of premier boutiques and restaurants.
Clean and spacious, with up-to-date amenities
Rooms (the hotel calls them Suites) are clean and well-sized, with flat-screens, iHome iPod docks, refinished balconies, and contemporary furnishings. Individual design elements -- like oversize headboards; rectangular glass-top tables; short, silver armchairs with textured lime-green stripes; green glass vessel sinks; brown-and-bronze-colored ottoman coffee tables -- are modern, but the overall effect is a somewhat bizarre, mismatched look that falls just short of sleek. You can also go the rock-star route and splurge on one of the villas, which are way bigger, posher, and pricier -- and come with 24-hour butler service. For even more spacious rooms (with significantly larger bathrooms), check out the London West Hollywood, just a few minutes down the road.
Plenty of features, but guests still have to pony up for Wi-Fi
The hotel has got it all -- including an 1,800-square-foot spa and a wonderful restaurant. But both of the pools are a little small and underwhelming. Do as celebrities do and hang out by the back villa pool if you want more of a scene.
Great A-list bar without a ton of pretentiousness
Locals and A-listers alike congregate at Bar 1200, where things don't really get going until 11 p.m. It's a cozy, dark, relaxed scene: Bartenders are unpretentious, the music's great, and the cocktails are, for lack of a better term, awesome.
A collection of photographs by legendary rock photographers Ross Halfin and Robert Knight of celebrity guests over the decades line the walls.
State-of-the-art recording studio underneath the hotel
The Nightbird Sound Studios is the only facility of its caliber located within a hotel on the West Coast.
Huge rooms, but devoid of a bring-the-kids vibe
Standard rooms are 575 square feet, incredibly spacious for families. But the hotel's relaxed, sometimes-rockish vibe (foul language among celebrity clientele) doesn't exactly scream "bring the kids."
Excellent food from a well-regarded chef
Whether room service or a full dinner at Cavatina, the food -- an updated take on California cuisine -- is superb.
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