Pretend you’re in Paris – with added Cali cool – at Palihouse West Hollywood, where the phrase ‘make yourself at home’ rings true: suites have high-spec kitchenettes and residences are designed for longer stays. Pali’s modern-mid-century mash-up will weaken design-fans’ knees; Francophiles will go ga-ga for Mardi, the bistro-style courtyard restaurant, styled à la France. Thanks to Palihouse’s peaceful WeHo location, you can enjoy all of LA’s best bits – the Sunset Strip, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice and so on – without any of the accompanying mayhem.
11am (flexible, subject to availability). Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £261.63 ($341), including tax at 15.695 per cent.
Rates include WiFi but exclude à la carte breakfast (around $10–$30, depending on what you plump for).
There’s no spa, but the hotel has a fleet of on-call therapists. Download the hotel’s phone app: 'Palifornia – A Guide to Los Angeles and Beyond' will unlock the city and its environs.
At the hotel
Rooftop terrace garden, courtyard, private dining area, lobby lounge, free WiFi throughout, on-loan bicycles (for a $25 hire charge each), laundry, valet parking. In rooms: fitted kitchenette (residences have kitchens) with washer dryer, dishwasher, microwave and fridge; flatscreen TV; DVD/CD player; stereo; bathrobes.
Our favourite rooms
All the Suites and Residences have fitted kitchenettes (or kitchens) and spacious white-and-grey Carrara marble bathrooms with rain shower heads; most have a private terrace or balcony as well. Pretend you’re at home in the Corner King Suites, which have large windows that you can fling open, a kitted-out kitchenette and a washer and dryer. (You might have to be grabbed kicking and screaming, come check-out.) If you don’t want to hear any noise from the courtyard restaurant, request a higher-floor room.
If you have an addiction to a particular coffee brand or condiment, you can indulge yourself in your own kitchen. You can sunbathe on the rooftop or private terrace, and you’re not far from Santa Monica, so bring swimwear.
The lobby is wheelchair-accessible, as are some bedrooms (on request). The obliging front desk can provide free water bottles, toothpaste, toothbrushes and detergent for the washing machine and dishwasher. Local calls are free.
Oh yes – you couldn’t ask for better family-friendly accommodation in LA. Cribs are free; extra beds (US$40) can added to the residences for little or large Smiths. Babysitting can be arranged (on request).
Nab a table by a heater in winter. (There are no duds in this bunch.)
Take your cue from the Europe-yearning restaurant and add a dash of Parisian glamour: stripes, Vetements threads or your most alluring French cologne, perhaps.
Mardi dishes up Californian comfort food starring fresh, healthy ingredients in a winsome setting: an open-air courtyard fringed with foliage and graced with a black-and-white chequered floor and Parisian-style wicker chairs with blankets. Don’t miss the moreish maitake mushroom or the delicately flavoured halibut ceviche.
The lobby-set Palihouse Bar continues the hotel’s artful muddle of modern and mid-century touches (with the added perk of whiskey-and-port-packed punches featuring vanilla and citrus syrup and herbal liqueurs). The space is decorated with Persian rugs, pretty tiled flooring, mismatched sofas and chairs and an array of cushions and lamps. Toast the oversized American flag on one wall, or the globes, maps, antiques, foosball table and mini library. Wines come courtesy of the booze boffins at Wally’s Wine & Spirits; music comes courtesy of local DJs by night (lounge tracks play during the day).
Breakfast is served until 11.30am, lunch til 3pm and dinner til 10pm.
Order items from Mardi’s menu to your room between 7am and 11pm.
Palihouse West Hollywood has an enviable location, close to Sunset Strip but just enough removed that it feels peaceful and truly local. From here, it’s easy to hop to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica/Venice (basically all the best bits).
Get to LAX with British Airways (www.ba.com) or American Airlines (www.americanairlines.com); the airport is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. The hotel can arrange one-way transfers for $60–$100, depending on the number of passengers.
Union Station is 20 minutes away by car (hotel transfers can be arranged); from here, you'll be able to reach the rest of the country via Amtrak (www.amtrak.com).
The hotel is easily accessible from the Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard. Parking is US$40 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Fitness fiends might want to take advantage of the hotel’s partnership with the local Equinox gym – guests get discounted day passes. Pretend you’re Ryan G and Emma S at the Griffith Observatory; pretend you’re Pretty Woman/Man by shopping (window or otherwise) along Rodeo Drive. For a less wallet-destroying day, set off for a hike in Runyon Canyon, whose trails can take one or two hours, depending on the route. People hike here with their dogs; bring yours if it’s with you. Hollywood & Highland is a fun shopping centre right on the Walk of Fame (Hollywood Boulevard); it’s also where Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is. The Hollywood Bowl is an iconic outdoor venue with great acoustics – book tickets to see the LA Philharmonic there.
Norah at 8279 California Route 2 has one of those menus that makes gluttony look good – you’ll want to order one of everything, from the cast-iron cornbread with rosemary-honey butter to the Gulf shrimp aguachile to the yellowtail crudo with leche de tigre – and that’s just the starters. Head to the Smith-approved Chateau Marmont for celebrity-spotting over truffled fries. Right down the block at 8447 Santa Monica Boulevard is local favourite Barney’s Beanery. It’s a family-friendly hangout by day and a biker’s heaven by night, with lots of beers and lively patrons. For brunch, you can’t beat Hugo’s. This West Hollywood hotspot at 8401 Santa Monica Boulevard has a legendary tea menu and an admirable sustainability policy. The breakfast pastas are outstanding (if a bit confusing) and there’s plenty of choice for health-conscious veggies and vegans.
Another great brunch spot, Basix Café at 8333 Santa Monica Boulevard excels at Mediterranean dishes, mimosas and pumpkin pancakes. Check out hip music venue the Hotel Café at 1623 North Cahuenga Boulevard– great live acts and you can eat there, too.
Pretend you’re starring in an early Hollywood blockbuster – or resting afterwards – at Tower Bar, whose charms include Paul Fortune styling (rose-gold lighting and walnut-panelled walls), accomplished maitre d' Dimitri Dimitrov and a prime setting: mobster Bugsy Siegel's old apartment on the ground floor. There’s also an outside terrace with cabanas, if you can tear yourselves away from the crackling fireplace and tinkling jazz pianists...
Pali WeHo, the locals call it. For now, though, we’re sticking with Palihouse West Hollywood, and very classy it is, too…
The little sister to the original blocks-from-the-beach Pali House in Santa Monica, this gorgeous boutique hotel – in the coolest of neighbourhoods – has 37 rooms including huge penthouse lofts with full size ping-pong tables to introduce an edge of competitiveness while you’re soaking up the sun.
Our classic signature room is smaller but no less perfectly formed – welcoming, spacious and beautifully designed, with a huge sofa, dining table, and adorned with great artwork and tons of books (always appreciated by bookworms like me). The bathroom is small but well stocked with paraben- and silicone-free beauty products and fetching robes.
We have the added bonus of an open-plan kitchen, complete with coffee machine and a blender, so we take the five minute stroll to Trader Joe’s and stock up on granola, snacks, fresh fruit and some organic Californian wine.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, each room also sports a tempting drinks tray with an elegant selection of miniature bottles and recipe cards so you can mix up some classic cocktails.
The Palihouse staff are cheerful and welcoming to a T (shout-outs to Aiden and Emily especially) and they help us make lots of day plans and talk us through the week’s in-house events. We miss out on the free morning yoga classes on the rooftop, but we do remember to head up in the evening for a sundowner…
At breakfast we take a table at Mardi, the alfresco courtyard garden restaurant (where hotel guests get a friendly discount) and settle in for buckwheat pancakes with pear butter and cinnamon-dusted hazelnuts. Come dinnertime, it’s known for its ceviche and steak tartare with parmesan and anchovy sauce. Hint for cheese fans, though: be sure to try the buff blue from the Bleating Heart Dairy and you’ll see why Californians are so proud of their local producers.
Barney’s Beanery, a legendary hangout since the 1920s, is only a stone’s throw away so we pop in and soak up the atmosphere of the place where Quentin Tarantino allegedly wrote most of Pulp Fiction and the likes of Clark Gable and Jimi Hendrix have stopped by for a drink.
The low-key Italian Jon & Vinny’s, across the street, is just as loveable. So much so that we go twice (get the meatballs) and find out that Jon and Vinny, the eponymous owners, are also responsible for the infamous restaurant, Animal, and it’s notable nose-to-tail sharing plates.
Another local highlight is LA hotspot-cum-health-food store, Erewhon: a cool, sceney spot brilliant for people watching. It’s stocked full of incredible brands and suppliers who are making food the right way – we get our green juice fix at the drinks bar and browse the selection of flavoured bone broths and kombucha on tap.
For some further fitness points, there’s a Barry’s Bootcamp next door and the hotel happily sorts guests with day passes to the nearby Equinox gym.
The iconic shopping streets of Melrose Avenue, Beverly Hills and Sunset Boulevard aren’t far, though, so we fuel up with matcha latte and head in search of retail therapy. My LA indulgence? Sunglasses. The bigger and louder, the better. With a pair of ostentatious shades on, I can just about get away with referring to our blissful base as Pali WeHo…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Palihouse West Hollywood’s Guestbook below.
The well appointed rooms, the in-house restaurant and the friendly staff.