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Virtually any lodging in L.A. County is gay-friendly for reasons both legal and economic. Listings here are rack rates for basic rooms -- many properties offer liberal seasonal discounts or corporate rates, and be sure to inquire about deluxe suites, family suites, or even private bungalows.
L.A. has only a few gay-specific hostelries, and of those, the only one we'd recommend is San Vicente Inn and Resort (845 N. San Vicente Blvd; 310-854-6915 or 800-577-6915, fax 310-289-5929; www.gayresort.com; $79+), in West Hollywood. It's a great value with tasteful, comfortable accommodations, one block from the heart of the action on Santa Monica Boulevard. It has 29 units, several with small kitchenettes and an attractive, lushly landscaped pool deck with some gym equipment. The clothing-optional environment ensures "sunbathers" at all hours.
BEST 4: WEST HOLLYWOOD
Once a private club for L.A.'s most glittery celebrities, the Sunset Tower Hotel (8358 Sunset Blvd; 323-654-7100 or 800-225-2637; $260+) retains its 1929 Art Deco design, luxurious rooms and private-club atmosphere. Guests enjoy stunning views, Kiehl's bath products, the services of a resident butler, and an intimate pool. The Tower Bar offers the oft-elusive L.A. trifecta of top service, food, and atmosphere. Don't be surprised to see some of your favorite celebrities here.
A monument to Hollywood's golden era, with secrets and stories hidden behind its ivy-covered faux-castle walls, the 1929 Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd; 323-656-1010 or 800-242-8328; $350+) dominates a hill over Sunset Boulevard. Gorgeously restored wood-rich apartments offer breathtaking views, while trees shade bungalows, the pool and the garden. If you're sensitive to noise, request a room facing away from the street.
In a lush landscape just south of the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas (1200 Alta Loma Rd; 310-657-1333; rooms: $340+) offers first-rate service and amenities, making it popular with celebs and music-industry types. Rooms are well-appointed and comfortable, and the restaurant and hip bar are also fun and very exclusive.
The Mondrian (8440 Sunset Blvd; 323-650-8999 or 800-252-0306; $295+), an Ian Schrager hotel, offers contemporary luxury in the vein of his other fashionable properties, with model-beautiful staff and design that's both over-the-top (giant flower pots, anyone?) and over the top (vistas across the L.A. Basin). The Sky Bar (323-848-6025) is a longstanding see-and-be-seen watering hole, and Asia de Cuba (323-848-6000) restaurant serves fusion cuisine.
BEST 4: BEVERLY HILLS
Nothing nouveau or trendy at the landmark Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd; 310-276-2251 or 800-283-8885; $450+). The legendary Pink Palace is an oasis of privacy and civility for those who don't need reinforcement to know they're special. The sprawling pool, lush grounds and handsome valets lend a resort feel, with old Hollywood nostalgia. At least stop for lunch in the plush Polo Lounge.
The renowned Beverly Wilshire (9500 Wilshire Blvd; 310-275-5200 or 800-545-4000; $450+) is slightly old-school with its crystal chandeliers and marble floors, but it's here that Richard Gere and Julia Roberts cleaned up prostitution in Pretty Woman. Gorgeous rooms and proximity to Rodeo Drive make it a cinch to imagine yourself in Julia's Ferragamos.
Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills (300 S. Doheny Drive; 310-273-2222 or 800-332-3442; $495+) maintains a reputation for top-notch service in this demanding town. Its spa, with DVD screens depicting soothing scenes and fragrances custom-created to reflect each season, lets you chill out, spruce up, and recharge after a day of deal-making, shopping or cruising. Step out for a lap in the outdoor swimming pool or a few reps in the semi-outdoor gym.
On a tree-lined boulevard, Raffles L'Ermitage (9291 Burton Way; 310-278-3344 or 800-800-2113; $575+) provides a sumptuous yet serene environment with gee-whiz technology and impeccable, understated service. Every comfort is provided, including repeat guests' room lighting preferences and ferociously guarded privacy.
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