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Southern CaliforniaNovember 21, 2008 By: Mark Rogers Travel Agent
From family-friendly vacations to hip and chic getaways, L.A. offers hotels for all tastes
Los Angeles’ quick-changing hotel scene welcomes a pair of new hotels and the return of an iconic Santa Monica property.
The exterior of the Shangri-La Hotel
The Shangri-La Hotel is reopening after a $30 million refurbishment— the first renovation in more than 20 years. Built in 1939, the hotel is one of a handful in L.A. to achieve real iconic status. The new look will embody key elements of the original Streamline Moderne design of the era, while bringing it into the 21st century with a contemporary twist. The full-service hotel will include 71 rooms and suites (an increase of 17 rooms), a courtyard with an elevated pool and cabanas, restaurant and rooftop bar. All rooms and suites have expansive ocean views. For something extra special, book the Two Bedroom Ocean View Luxury Suite (Suite 400). Here, guests have panoramic views from Malibu to Catalina. This suite has an oversized soaking tub in the middle of the bedroom with an ocean view, a full modern stainless-steel kitchen with dining area for six, two full bathrooms with soaking tubs and stall showers and Carrara marble.
Rooms at the Shangri-La Hotel incorporate Streamline Moderne details, such as long horizontal lines and curving forms
The One Bedroom Ocean View Rooms are a good value; these have full kitchens and sunset views through the palm trees. Ultimate digs are the Penthouse, which includes a 700-square-foot terrace with expansive views of the famous Hollywood sign, as well as Catalina and Malibu.
Three of the Verandah Suites on the sixth floor interconnect, allowing guests 2,200 square feet. This— and the fact that they have full kitchens— makes them a good recommendation for families vacationing together.
The hotel’s restaurant, Vista, will serve California cuisine with an emphasis on local fresh ingredients. Vista will have full ocean views and a bar with both indoor and outdoor seating. There will also be a private rooftop dining room for intimate dinners for up to 12 people. A 60-seat outdoor sidewalk café rounds out the dining picture.
The hotel doesn’t have a spa, but negotiations are underway to contract a spa provider for in-room treatments.
The hotel is located in the heart of Santa Monica, and is within walking distance to the Santa Monica Pier, premium shopping and world-class restaurants.
The hotel’s general manager is Troy Pade ([email protected], 323-868-1057), who has more than 12 years of sales experience working with high-end leisure and corporate agents worldwide and is always open for VIP inquiries from agents.
The Hotel Palomar, a Kimpton boutique property, opened in May on the Wilshire Corridor, blocks from Westwood Village. The 264 rooms and suites integrate eco-friendly initiatives into the hotel, including in-room recycling bins, energy-efficient lighting, water-efficient fixtures and toiletries from earth-friendly manufacturer L’Occitane.
The sophisticated decor of a King Suite at the Hotel Palomar
The 19-story property has been designed with Hollywood flair by Beverly Hills interior designer Cheryl Rowley. The guest rooms and suites have white Frette linens, topped with velvet damask shams with a zebra print, while ice-blue, velvet bolster pillows and faux snakeskin cover the panels on the TV chest.
The hotel’s 22 Spa Suites on the corners of the hotel have separate living rooms, bedrooms and large bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs.
Rooms on floors 15 through 19 have a southern view of the L.A. basin and a peek of ocean on a clear day. The rooms on the lower floors have less of a view and price out accordingly.
While the hotel doesn’t have a spa, in-room treatments are available. The hotel’s Mind.Body.Spa service offers complimentary 24-hour in-room yoga and Pilates TV programming, and for an additional charge, in-room spa treatments. Treatments can be booked in advance of arrival by contacting the hotel’s concierge desk at 310-475-8711.
Guests staying at the Hotel Palomar can dine at BLVD 16, the restaurant adjacent to the hotel. Executive Chef Simon Dolinky’s contemporary American menu is seasonal, so the signature dishes are always changing. Currently, the menu features such dishes as roasted Carlsbad mussels with tomato, fennel, saffron and spicy rouille, and Brandt’s Farms Ribeye Cap with merlot-soaked California cherries, celery root dumplings and Point Reyes blue cheese. Tasting menus are available by request. There is a curtained room on one side of the main dining room that affords semi-private dining. Those looking to see and be seen should choose tables in the front of the dining room, which is exposed to the bar.
Additional amenities at the Hotel Palomar include a concierge-directed hybrid car service, and pet services include pet massages and acupuncture, day care, pet walking and personal pet attendants.
Thompson Beverly Hills, open less than a year, is the Thompson Hotel group’s second property in Southern California, the first being the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The hotel has 107 rooms: 92 Deluxe Rooms, 13 One Bedroom Suites, a signature Thompson Suite and an eighth-floor Penthouse Suite. All one-bedroom suites can be converted into two-bedroom suites. Hallways are paneled in black steel, affording a sleek and sexy approach to the rooms. Once inside, the dark notes in the design continue, with the wall behind the bed covered with black leather and a smoked-glass mirror. Vertical-shaped strips of mirrors hang on the ceiling over the bed. Drapes can be drawn to create pitch-black conditions in the room. Not everything in the room is dark; the walls are primarily white, contrasting nicely with the ebonized white oak hardwood floors. Each room has a small balcony that overlooks the city.
The ninth-floor bi-level rooftop area has terrific views of the Hollywood Hills, exclusive lounge areas and private cabanas with flat-screen TVs, minibars and sofa beds. The largest of these cabanas can accommodate up to 16 people. ABH (Above Beverly Hills) is a rooftop lounge, replete with firepits, that serves drinks, appetizers and meals from the hotel’s restaurant, BondSt. Rounding out the rooftop is a heated pool and a 1,500-square-foot gym encased in glass. The hotel provides a limited number of club memberships, although hotel guests have preference over members.
The hotel’s “Spa on Demand” comprises four spa treatment rooms. Here, guests can arrange all the expected treatments, from facials to manicures to massages. Spa treatments are also available in the guests’ rooms.
The West Coast’s first BondSt sushi restaurant, from restaurateur Jonathan Morr, has taken up residence on the first floor of the hotel. The 130-seat restaurant has outdoor dining, a sushi bar and an exclusive second-floor BondSt lounge with private library alcove. A breakfast favorite is the Japanese omelet, which is prepared with three types of mushrooms—shiitake, maitake and honshemeji. Best tables to book are the three circular tables that can seat eight (numbers 4, 5 and 6). For reservations at BondSt, call 310-601-2255.
Concierge requests can be handled through the front desk (310-273-1400). The general manager is Paul Birchall, although travel agents with special requests can reach out to Stacey Sidles, the hotel’s sales director, at [email protected].
The Thompson Beverly Hills is proving to be a hit with northeasterners flying into Los Angeles, including hip, urban-chic families traveling with small children.