Where to Stay in Los Angeles: Best Areas & Hotels
Sunny Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is a constellation of many different neighborhoods, each with its own personality and style. If you're wondering where to stay in Los Angeles, ideally you should choose a hotel as close as possible to your points of interest, as the city fans out over a large area, and traffic can be heavy at any time of day.
First-time visitors usually stay in hip and happening Hollywood, near attractions like the Walk of Fame and Universal Studios, or posh Beverly Hills, home to the designer shops of Rodeo Drive. Young couples and travelers love West Hollywood (WeHo) for its funky bohemian style and eclectic shops. Families flock to Anaheim for Disneyland fun, and if you're wondering where to stay near the beach, stylish Santa Monica or Venice Beach offer sun, sand, and sea, as well as fabulous shopping.
More and more tourists are choosing hotels near downtown Los Angeles as a sightseeing base, and the city now seems to be finding its soul. Hip new galleries, museums, and restaurants beckon between the high-rises, and huge entertainment venues, such as LA Live and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, lure waves of excited sports fans and concert-goers. Wherever you choose to stay in LA, it's easy to find a hotel to match your itinerary, budget, and style.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing
If this is your first trip to Los Angeles, and you want to soak up the sights without paying the big bucks of Beverly Hills, Hollywood is one of the best places to stay in LA — especially if you're traveling without a car and planning to use public transport. It's also only about seven miles from Griffith Park, California's largest state park, with popular tourist attractions like the Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Observatory, the planetarium, and hiking trails.
A block north of Hollywood Boulevard, the great-value Kimpton Everly Hotel is a fresh contemporary choice with easy access to the top attractions. Sunlight floods into the large open-plan lobby, where hipsters perch with laptops on the stylish sofas. Perks include a sparkling rooftop pool, evening social hour, pet amenities, loaner bikes, and complimentary morning tea and coffee. Guest rooms here continue the hotel's sleek style and come with soothing pale-gray color schemes, Frette linens, Chromecast devices, and yoga mats. Some have views of the famous Hollywood sign.
If you prefer a little more nostalgia, try The Hollywood Roosevelt. A few of the elegant rooms and suites are named after famous former guests, like Marilyn Monroe. You're in the heart of Hollywood here, right on the Walk of Fame and across the road from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and when you're not hitting the sightseeing highlights, you can sunbathe by the pool in the palm-studded courtyard or hang out at the hotel's vintage bowling alley.
Beverly Hills is central to both Hollywood and the beach, making it a great base for multiple outings. It's also a little quieter at night if you're traveling with kids. A top mid-range choice here is the swanky modern SIXTY Beverly Hills, with glittering views of the city at night from its rooftop deck. Guest rooms feature custom-made furnishings, hardwood floors, and marble bathrooms.
If you want to soak up Santa Monica's seaside sights and open-air shopping malls, the eco-friendly Shore Hotel is steps away from the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. Ocean views beckon from beachy rooms, with bespoke teak furniture, sustainable decor, and aqua accents. Other highlights include a solar-heated pool and high-tech gym.
For culture vultures who want easy access to restaurants, galleries, shops, museums, and the big entertainment venues, downtown LA is one of the best locations to stay in Los Angeles. The mid-range Sheraton Grand Los Angeles in the Bloc shopping and entertainment plaza is close to all the action. The Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, the Convention Center, and Fashion District are all nearby, and the hotel features a farm-to-table restaurant and sleek guest rooms with comfy signature Sheraton beds.
Where to Stay for Luxury
For the best hotels in Los Angeles, you can't beat Beverly Hills. In a lush residential area about five minutes by car from the designer stores of Rodeo Drive, the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills exudes elegance and sophistication. You can enjoy pampering packages at the hotel's luxe spa or in a poolside cabana, and dining is equally extravagant. Feast on modern Italian cuisine in the hotel's restaurant or enjoy breakfast amid lemon trees and hummingbirds on a sun-dappled patio. If you want to see the sights, the hotel's Rolls Royce shuttle will whisk you at will anywhere within a two-mile radius.
Surrounded by lush gardens, The Peninsula Beverly Hills is one of the top hotels in Los Angeles. Here, you can live out your fantasies. Choose from a range of unique experiences such as Red Carpet Glamour: A Hollywood-Style Photo Shoot and Red Carpet Kids. Other perks include an elegant afternoon tea, rooftop garden, and luxury spa, and The Belvedere, is the only AAA-Five Diamond-rated restaurant in Los Angeles. Sumptuous guest rooms and villas come with features like chandeliers, oriental rugs, garden-view balconies or patios, fireplaces, and fresh flowers.
Sports fans and concert groupies love the convenience of The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, part of the L.A. LIVE entertainment complex and across the street from the Staples Center. You can relax at the rooftop pool; dine at Wolfgang Puck's WP24 restaurant; and indulge at downtown LA's largest luxury day spa, with treatments crafted with ingredients from the hotel's rooftop garden. The serene rooms feature feather beds and deep soaking tubs, and rooms on the Ritz-Carlton Club level come with a dedicated concierge, as well as complimentary food and drinks.
Where to Stay: Mid-Range
Despite the city's reputation as a star magnet and style hub, you can still find nice hotels in Los Angeles with down-to-earth prices. A short hop from the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater, Hollywood Orchid Suites is an older property right in the heart of the Hollywood action, yet it manages to retain a quiet and peaceful air. The immaculately clean suites come with fully-equipped kitchens.
For easy beach access in Santa Monica without beachfront prices, The Georgian Hotel is an Art Deco boutique property a short stroll from great restaurants and the Santa Monica Pier. Beyond the hotel's colorful facade, the guest rooms are calm and soothing, with amenities like Keurig coffee makers and plush robes; some rooms are dog-friendly.
For families headed to Disneyland, the Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground offers excellent value with a water park on-site. It's only a six-minute walk to the park gates, and kids love the water slides, splash pools, and fountains. If you're traveling with toddlers, they'll love the special wading pool. The colorful rooms are bright and comfortable, and parking here is free.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Cheap hotels in LA are hard to find, but if you're traveling with a car, you can stay just outside the prime sightseeing areas and drive to the top sites. A 10-minute drive to downtown attractions like the Staples Center and LA Live, Friendship Motor Inn offers comfortable, colorful rooms for travelers on a budget. The spacious guest rooms come with flat-screen TVs, fridges, and microwaves, and you can park right outside your door for free. Breakfast is also included in the rates.
About a 10-minute drive from Venice Beach, Super 8 by Wyndham-Los Angeles-Culver City Area offers easy access to the freeways, including the Pacific Coast Highway and I 405, so you can zip to other LA hot spots. The sparkling clean rooms come with comfy beds, microwaves, fridges, and safes, and other perks here include an outdoor swimming pool, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and parking, and 24-hour reception.
Where to Stay for Families
Many families visiting Los Angeles are on a mission to see Disneyland and the adjacent Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim. If this is your focus, it's better to stay as close to the theme parks as possible to maximize your time there and get the best value for money.
Guests of the three Disneyland Resort hotels score the added bonus of the Extra Magic Hour, which allows early admission to the parks on certain days, before they open to other visitors, but these hotels tend to have higher rates than properties not owned by Disney. The most upscale of the three Disney hotels is Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, with a private entrance to the California Adventure Park. From the Disneyland Hotel, right by the Downtown Disney district, you can catch a monorail directly into the park or walk to both park entrances, while the nearby Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel Anaheim sports a California seaside theme, with plenty of palm trees and beachy motifs.
To save some money, you can stay a little farther away from the park and hop aboard a shuttle. The family suites with fully-equipped kitchens at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort - Convention Center give parents and kids plenty of space, and breakfast is included in the rates.
Families of up to six can fit in the large rooms with twin bunks at the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance, and kids love the Surfside Waterpark. The bathrooms have two separate showers (and a tub), and it's only a five-minute walk to the gates of Disneyland.
More affordable and minutes away from all the top Hollywood attractions and Universal Studios, the great-value Magic Castle Hotel offers one- and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens that are perfect for families. Rates include breakfast, snacks, movies, games, and laundry, and as a special touch, white-gloved waiters deliver free popsicles by the heated pool.
Where to Stay near the Beach
If your main focus is to soak up some sun, sand, and sea, Santa Monica makes the best base. It's safe and easy to stroll around, and you can ride the solar-powered ferris wheel at Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier, bike or jog along The Strand, or shop 'til you drop at the open-air malls.
For beachside luxury, Shutters on the Beach sits smack dab on the sand in Santa Monica and pulls off casual elegance with ease. Staying here feels like vacationing in a stylish family beach house, and the rooms come with features like marble bathrooms and white plantation shutters that open up onto balconies fanned by sea breezes. Suites come with fireplaces, and ONE Spa offers specially curated organic treatments.
Directly across the street from the beach, the boutique and eco-conscious Shore Hotel is a more affordable option with a pool, fitness center, and beautiful beach views. It's also a short stroll from Santa Monica Pier and the shops and boutiques of Third Street Promenade.
Venice Beach is another popular LA seaside location, with its famous Ocean Front Walk and Muscle Beach, where street performers strut their stuff. A short stroll from these top tourist attractions, the mid-range boutique Hotel Erwin overlooks the iconic boardwalk. Fresh-baked cookies await in the lobby, and the rooftop lounge is a great place to see the sunset. Best of all, the hotel supports community projects, so you can feel good while you stay here.
Where to Stay for Shopping
Santa Monica offers one of the best all-round shopping experiences in LA. Here, you'll find Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only open-air mall, and the adjoining Santa Monica Place, with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and more than 80 specialty stores. The super-stylish boutique Huntley Santa Monica Beach is a short stroll from all this shopping action. After a busy day of pounding the pavement, you can soak in a deep tub in your spa-like bathroom, dine on California contemporary cuisine at the rooftop restaurant, and curl up in an ultra comfy bed.
Hip West Hollywood ("WeHo") is also a popular place to shop, with everything from vintage clothing and boutique designer stores to eco-chic home decor. At Petit Ermitage here, you are only minutes by car or taxi from the eclectic shops of Melrose Avenue and upscale stores of Beverly Hills. After browsing the hip shops, you can swan around the rooftop saltwater pool, dine in the hummingbird and butterfly sanctuary, snuggle up fireside for a movie, and slip between silky 600-plus-thread count sheets. Morning yoga is another perk.
For fashionistas with fat wallets, one of the best places to stay in Los Angeles is Rodeo Drive, Baby! This famous strip in Beverly Hills is home to big-bucks designer stores like Versace, Cartier, and Dior. Hotels handy to this upscale area include the Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel), where Julia Roberts stayed in the movie Pretty Woman and went on her famous shopping trip. For the ultimate shopping experience, sign up for the Catwalk to Closet academy program at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, which includes a personal consultation with a top Hollywood stylist and a tour of LA's poshest shops.
Where to Stay for Couples
North of Beverly Hills, set amid 12 acres of peaceful, palm-studded gardens and swan-dappled lakes, the Hotel Bel Air feels a world away from the busy streets of LA, even though it's only minutes from many of the city's top attractions. Couples can relax at the spa, lounge by the pool, and feast on Wolfgang Puck's California cuisine. For Old Hollywood glamour the legendary The Beverly Hills Hotel (also known as the "Pink Palace") offers private bungalows huddled amid the lush 12-acre gardens; some come with fireplaces, private gardens, plunge pools, and outdoor showers.
If you're pining for a romantic stay by the sea, Santa Monica's Casa del Mar, is a grand old 1920s hotel with lovely sea views. Chandeliers and a sweeping double staircase in the lobby make a striking first impression, and the beach-view Colonnade Ballroom is a popular spot for weddings. Sunbathe by the oceanside pool, relax in Sea Spa with an eco-friendly treatment, and snuggle up in a four-poster bed in your super-stylish sea-view room. For the ultimate in privacy, you can hide away in a two-story penthouse on a private floor.