One of Hollywood's top spas: Joanna Vargas Salon & Spa
24-hour room service
Large indoor/outdoor fitness center
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Valet parking (for a fee)
Pets welcome (for a fee)
Valet parking costs extra (typical in Los Angeles)
Small pool that's occasionally off-limits to guests due to private events
Some awkward room layouts
The upscale Art Deco Sunset Tower has drawn A-list celebrities since it was a luxury apartment building for stars like Marilyn Monroe. In 2005, the hotel opened as it is today (though it was renovated again in 2018), a Sunset Strip landmark with a glamorous and buzzing bar, gorgeous pool with city views, and a full spa. The 81 rooms and suites feature more of the Old School Hollywood style found in the public areas, plus they have floor-to-ceiling windows and Nespresso machines. The hotel's location on Sunset Boulevard is conducive to clubs, restaurants, and shops. Since this is a historic property, some of the room layouts are awkward and the pool is on the small side. For something more modern, The Jeremy West Hollywood opened down the street in 2018.
Glamorous and historic Old School Hollywood hotel -- still a hotspot with A-listers
Hotelier Jeff Klein rescued the Sunset Tower in 2005, transforming the decrepit 15-story landmark back into the sparkling Art Deco hotel it once was. It originated as luxury apartments for A-list celebs like Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, and John Wayne. (In a later era, Iggy Pop is said to have leapt from his window into the pool, an unlikely if not impossible feat.) While Hollywood luminaries still spend the night, the scene today is decidedly more tranquil, with guests more likely to relax in poolside lounge chairs than to attempt rock-star stunts. The Tower still delivers bygone glamour that's rare in this neighborhood. Expect a crackling fire, wood-paneled walls, and expensive floral arrangements. Most guests are hip tourists, and lots of locals book rooms for a staycation and to use the pool.
Located in the heart of West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower has a solid location. The Sunset Strip, which has long been known for its famed music clubs like the House of Blues, the Roxy, Viper Room, and Whisky a Go Go, has gotten significantly more upscale than its strip-club and head-shop days in the '70s. The hotel is directly across the street from the world famous Saddle Ranch and just down the street from The Comedy Store. It's a 10-minute walk to Sunset Plaza for shops and restaurants. Expect a 10-minute drive to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and 20 minutes to reach Universal Studios in Hollywood. Santa Monica and Venice Beach are about 30 minutes away. It can take up to an hour to reach LAX during peak traffic times.
Art Deco accents and glamorous bathrooms -- plus floor-to-ceiling windows
Guest rooms and suites are done with Art Deco accents and a lovely color scheme of pale pink, cream, and brown -- perfectly in sync with the hotel's nostalgic vibe. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the rooms with natural light, but guests with children should note that the windows open wide, so could be unsafe. Superior Queen and Deluxe King rooms are both around 350 square feet. A price jump up to a Junior Suite offers at least 550 square feet. The Penthouse Suite has a gorgeous, furnished wraparound terrace.
Beds feature pillow-top mattresses, custom sheets, and four down pillows (hypoallergenic pillows are available by request). Other amenities include flat-screen TVs, iHome iPod docks, laptop-sized safes, minibars, Nespresso machines, and free Wi-Fi. Modern bathrooms have a fun Hollywood Regency style, robes, brass fittings, chc bath toiletries, and hairdryers. Suite bathrooms have separate tubs and flat-screen TVs.
Evening turndown service and a welcome chocolate treat are luxe touches.
Outdoor pool, Terrace restaurant, Tower Bar, and luxe spa
As a smaller hotel, the Sunset Tower's features are intimate and designed to provide excellent service. The 40-by-20-foot pool has a peaceful and elegantly designed deck with clear views of downtown L.A., plus food and drink service from the poolside Terrace restaurant. The hotel's other restaurant, the dimly lit, wood-paneled Tower Bar is off the lobby, and draws locals as well as guests with its live pianist, continental menu, candlelit tables, and clubby vibe. Room service is available 24 hours.
The hotel's top-notch spa, Joanna Vargas Salon & Spa, features a private hammam (Turkish-style steam bath) and is a destination in its own right. Downstairs, the modern and well-maintained indoor/outdoor fitness center has Precor cardio machines with individual TV screens and free weights. Note that it's open to the public and usually pretty busy with locals and their personal trainers.
In exchange for a nonrefundable cleaning fee, pets are pampered almost as much as human guests. Welcome amenities include dog treats, a toy, and a directory of local pet stores, walking suggestions, and veterinarians. Dog beds are available by request and and dog-walking services can be arranged.
Wi-Fi is free throughout. Valet parking is available for a spendy fee, which is unavoidable in Los Angeles.
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