BEST FOR OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS
Millennium Biltmore (506 S. Grand Ave, Downtown; 213-624-1011 or 800-245-8673; $160+) is Downtown's establishment address, fully restored to its Roaring '20s grandeur. The Biltmore Health Club features a Roman-style indoor pool, sauna and steam room; other amenities include a complete business center and three restaurants.
In Santa Monica, beach-view luxury hotels line Ocean Avenue like pearls on a necklace. Among them, Shutters on the Beach (1 Pico Blvd; 310-458-0030 or 800-334-9000; $405+) has an intimate feeling and New England-y grey and white color scheme, while sister property Hotel Casa Del Mar (1910 Ocean Way; 310-581-5533 or 800-898-6999; www.hotelcasadelmar.com; $405+) has an Old World, European opulence. Each is fabulous in its own way; we'd suggest staying at one and dining at the other.
The Hotel Bel-Air (701 Stone Canyon Rd, Bel Air; 310-472-1211 or 800-648-4097; $395+) exudes true class at every turn. Nestled in the woods amid swan ponds and fig trees, rooms have private entrances and furnishings like in a French country estate. You owe it to yourself to have at least breakfast here, which might include ingredients from the on-site garden.
The 16-story W Los Angeles (930 Hilgard Ave, Westwood; 310-208-8765 or 888-625-5144; $299+) is in Westwood, near UCLA and close to the 405 Freeway. Its modern, funky atmosphere and decor, professional and friendly service, lap pool, swimming pool, sprawling deck and cool room design make it a fave of business and leisure visitors alike.
BEST FOR STYLE
Ogle near-naked models in the (dry) aquarium behind reception at the Standard (8300 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood; 323-650-9090; $199+), on your way to the poolside bar, a scene on weekends with hipsters gay, straight and whatever and views as far as the eye can see. In rooms: bright colors, clean lines and a bit of pluck. The restaurant, with upscale comfort food, is way better than it needs to be given these surroundings.
Fun and hip, with a splash of Hollywood's yester-glam, the 108-unit Grafton on Sunset (8462 W. Sunset Blvd; 323-654-4600 or 800-821-3660; rooms: $165+) offers bright and cozy rooms, loaded with amenities (plush robes, cordless phone, iPod docks, organic bath products), an outdoor garden and pool with jaw-dropping views, and the tony Balboa Lounge and Restaurant.
On a quiet residential block in the heart of gay WeHo, the stylish and sassy, contempo-cool Chamberlain West Hollywood (1000 Westmount Dr; 800-201-9652 or 310-657-7400; $260+) offers capacious rooms and suites, topnotch service, secure parking, and a rooftop-lounge pool area with 360-degree views.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three
Los Angeles: Introduction
Los Angeles: Where to Eat
Los Angeles: Where to Play/Meet
Los Angeles: What to See and Do
Los Angeles: Resources