- Fee-per-day valet parking (no self-parking)
- Small pool that's occasionally off-limits to guests due to private events
Meticulously refurbished to its golden age of Hollywood glamour, this 74-room Sunset Strip icon still draws stars, but treats the hoi polloi just as well.
Hotelier Jeff Klein, who also owns the swanky City Club in New York City, rescued the Sunset Tower in 2005, transforming the decrepit 15-story landmark back into the sparkling Art Deco hotel it once was. In the '30s and '40s, it was the temporary home of Howard Hughes, Billie Burke, Errol Flynn, 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.
Unlike the Hollywood Roosevelt, a historic hotel that focuses more on cutting-edge nightlife than quiet sophistication, the Tower still delivers bygone glamour that's rare in this neighborhood -- hustling valets, front desk clerks who address guests by name, and white-jacketed waiters in the buzzy Tower Bar who don't walk but glide from table to table, delivering cocktails while a live pianist sets the mood. No wonder the Tower's first screen appearance was "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), an adaptation of Raymond Chandler's noir classic "Farewell, My Lovely."
Rooms, while not nearly as large as those at the London, are tastefully decorated with an Art Deco-inspired color palette, and feature comfortable beds that are turned down nightly. Many of the rooms have stunning views of the greater Los Angeles area, and the panorama from the relatively small pool deck is also lovely. Hollywood royalty visits frequently, but the Tower has none of the hipper-than-thou pretense of the Chateau Marmont and delivers better service than the sleek Mondrian down the street.
In the beating heart of West Hollywood, right on the Sunset Strip
Located in the heart of West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower is on the same stretch as three other popular and notable hotels: the extravagantly designed Mondrian, the achingly hip Standard Hollywood, and the celebrity magnet Chateau Marmont.
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 and '80s -- though that doesn't mean all the grit is gone. A few (now legal) marijuana dispensaries dot West Hollywood, and panhandlers occasionally operate on Sunset Boulevard. Overall, though, the neighborhood is safe and clean.
The subtly Art Deco rooms have just a bit flash -- and great views
Guest rooms lack the edgy design you'll find at the Mondrian, but their Art Deco accents and color scheme of pale pink, cream, and brown are perfectly in sync with the hotel's nostalgic vibe. Floor-to-ceiling casement windows flood the rooms with natural light, but guests with children should note that the windows open wide, so could be unsafe for unsupervised kids. South-facing rooms feature sweeping views of Los Angeles.
Superior Queen and Deluxe King rooms are both in the neighborhood of 350 square feet, which is an average size for this neighborhood and price range. A price jump up to a Junior Suite offers at least 550 square feet, and, on the 12th floor, a 150-square-foot balcony.
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, and free Wi-Fi. Modern bathrooms feature brass fittings, Kiehl's bath toiletries, and bathrobes. Suite bathrooms have separate tubs and flat-screen TVs.
Like the hotel as a whole, rooms are refined, comfortable, and a good value.
A rooftop pool, two popular restaurants, and a destination spa considered to be one of L.A.'s best
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. Terrace and Tower Bar have very different personalities, but have highly polished service in common.
The hotel's top-notch spa, featuring a private hammam (Turkish-style steam bath), is a destination in its own right. Free to guests and open 24 hours, the modern and well-maintained fitness center has Precor cardio machines with private TV screens and free weights.
With front desk staff that greets guests by name, porters almost too happy to open doors and carry luggage, and accommodating waitstaff in both restaurants, service is top-notch throughout. In Hollywood, only the London takes better care of guests.
Thanks to a hushed, adult-only vibe and zero on-site activities for kids, the hotel isn't ideal for families. Rollaways won't fit in Superior Queen Rooms, but for fee per night the hotel can fit an extra bed in a Deluxe King or larger room, and sofas in suites are deep enough to be made up as beds for younger kids.
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, walks, and veterinarians. Dog beds are available by request and and dog-walking services can be arranged. A room service menu for pets includes a chopped sirloin cheeseburger and Flint River Ranch dog food. Hart Park, an off-leash dog park, is next door to the hotel.
The hotel also offers 24-hour room service, nightly turndown service, and free Wi-Fi throughout.
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