Hotel 850 SVB is in West Hollywood, a city within a city – and celebrated gay district – in Los Angeles, and home to lively bars and restaurants along the Sunset Strip.
LAX airport is a major international hub, with direct flights to London, East Asia and South America. It’s 11 miles from the hotel, but allow an hour for the journey in traffic; the hotel arranges private transfers for $75, or you can take a cab. Burbank airport is closer (40 minutes’ drive from the hotel), and has flights from cities across the US. Call the Smith 24 team for help booking your travel.
Union Station is in Downtown LA, which is around 40 minutes by car from the hotel. Trains run up and down the California coast to Vancouver (39 hours) and San Diego (three hours); Amtrak’s ‘Southwest Chief’ line goes all the way to Chicago, via Las Vegas and Arizona (42 hours).
The car is king in LA, so hire one from the airport (or prepare to take taxis). The California coast is crying out for a road trip, too – stick to Route 1 and you’ll hit Santa Barbara, Big Sur and Monterey on your way to San Francisco (nine hours). Valet parking at the hotel is $48 per night.
Worth getting out of bed for
The scent of fresh pastries and rich coffee might reach you from the breakfast room – so go and help yourself then catch some rays on the rooftop. At sunset, there’ll be wine, cheese and mezze served, but you’ve plenty of time to explore the locale in the meantime. Downtown West Hollywood is a vibrant neighbourhood of shops, bars and restaurants – and it’s especially lively during Pride Week (early June). For straight-up retail therapy, make haste to The Grove, a big-ticket shopping complex with stores like Apple and Anthropologie alongside independent pop-ups.
For your culture fix, head to The Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive) and LACMA (5905 Wilshire Boulevard), which hosts exhibitions covering the full sweep of art history. The Original Farmers Market (6333 W 3rd Street) has been supplying the locals with field-fresh produce and the latest food fashions since 1934 – grab homemade ice cream from Bennett’s, apple pie from Du-Par’s, and LA’s very first pizza from Patsy D’Amore’s. The Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Boulevard) is a must for any self-respecting petrolhead, or anyone with even a passing interest in the supercars and cult motors of the past.
We’ve all seen the Hollywood sign on TV, but it’s still worth seeing in person. Combine this bucket-list sight with a hike in Runyon Canyon Park – you’ll get city panoramas and a good workout too.
If you want buttermilk pancakes in WeHo, you want The Griddle Cafe (7916 Sunset Boulevard), where they’re served the old-fashioned way, doused in syrup and icing sugar; it gets busy, so prepare to wait in line for the pleasure. Gracias Madre (8905 Melrose Avenue) is a master of organic vegan Mexican; sit at the tiled bar under the vaulted warehouse ceiling, or out on the terracotta patio. Connie and Ted’s (8171 Santa Monica Boulevard) does some of the best lobster rolls this side of New England, along with catch-of-the-day fish and a mix-and-match raw bar. You’ll never forget dinner at Barton G. (861 N La Cienega Boulevard), where meticulously crafted dishes include popcorn shrimp served in an actual popcorn maker, and Cuban ‘cigars’ sculpted from gianduja. Stroll over to West Hollywood, a 10-minute walk away, for dinner at Tom Tom Restaurant & Bar; order colourful plates of citrus and sesame shishitos or portobello fries to start, then move on to creamy bacon-laced mac & cheese or spicy TomTom tacos.
Signature cocktails come with views of the Hollywood Hills at rooftop bar L.P. (603 N La Cienega Boulevard); go for the Piña Horchata with ginger and cinnamon, or the Walk This Way for lychee, lime and coconut water laced with vodka. Join the silver-screen stars for jazz and cocktails at Jeff Klein’s other hotel, Sunset Tower (8358 Sunset Boulevard).