For decades after its 1929 debut, the Sunset Tower Hotel was one of the starriest, most glamorous addresses in this starry, most glamorous of cities. And now it’s back, as classically elegant and discreetly seductive as ever. If all you do is wake up in your curved-wall suite, lounge by the Hollywood Hills-view pool all day, and then wander down to your table at the famed Tower Bar for dinner, you’ll have a perfect Los Angeles day.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £316.04 ($420), including tax at 15.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $22.50 per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include Continental breakfast.
At the hotel
Gym, open 24 hours. In rooms: Egyptian linens, Kiehl’s bath products, minibars, in-room spa sessions, flatscreen TVs, iPod stations, on-command movies and music, free Wi-Fi, free Nespresso coffee.
Our favourite rooms
Our favourites are the Premier Suites, particularly room 1207 – the private terrace has views of Downtown and the Hollywood Hills, and the oversized tub might make you never want to venture beyond the curved walls of your suite.
Soak up the SoCal sunshine in the hotel’s outdoor pool. If you would prefer a small respite from the sun, make your way to a table and sip your cucumber mojito in the shade.
The Cure Salon and Spa offers a wide variety of treatments in a sumptuous, glamorous setting. Situated in an enclosed Mediterranean terrace, indulge in facials, massages and even LA-ready tans.
Oversized sunglasses, your wrap-party best, and something that says ‘I woke up like this’ for Sunday brunch.
The hotel’s thoroughly wheelchair accessible, with specially adapted guest rooms and a lift.
Pets are pampered guests at the Sunset Tower Hotel, where mini-Sunset Tower beds, bowls, treats, and a pet dining menu are all on offer. Adjoining the hotel is William S. Hart Park (bequeathed by the silent film actor), where dogs can run around off leash See more pet-friendly hotels in Los Angeles.
All welcome, but not catered to. This isn’t particularly a family stay.
Grab one of the more secluded nooks in the Tower Bar for a romantic tête-à-tête and some stealthy celeb spotting.
Angelenos invented dressy casual, so don’t be surprised to see the actress at the next table looking otherworldly in jeans and no make up. For the rest of us, a blow-out and matte red lip won’t be out of place.
Housed in infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel’s old apartment on the ground floor, the Tower Bar and Restaurant boasts a fireplace and discreet niche seating for privacy. The menu focuses on fresh local ingredients, while taking inspiration from northern Italy and the French bistro. Is lounging glamorously poolside working up your appetite? The Terrace serves up the entire restaurant menu, assorted small bites, and drinks – you won’t have to move a (perfectly tanned) muscle.
Sip your cocktails and soak up the old-school glamour: in the bar, jazz pianists provide the soundtrack and Hollywood views the backdrop. Choose from an ample wine list or some of the signature cocktails, including the Dimitri (named after the bar’s renowned maitre d’ Dimitri Dimitrov).
The Terrace serves dinner until 6pm, and the Tower Bar and Restaurant is open til 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 11.30pm Friday and Saturday.
The 24-hour room-service menu includes an array of appetisers, entrees and desserts.
You’ll find the Sunset Tower on the Sunset Strip, minutes from Beverly Hills and Hollywood.
Major airlines land at Los Angeles International Airport and local puddle-jumpers make their way to Bob Hope Airport in nearby Burbank. Either way, you’ll have no problem finding a flight.
If you’re arriving in town by rail, you’ll end up downtown, at Union Station. From there, though, you’ll have to proceed by car to West Hollywood.
Driving in Los Angeles – where the first things locals do after meeting friends anywhere is compare notes on which routes they took – can be intimidating. Cars are an almost entirely necessary evil, though (public transport in LA is deeply unromantic) so either set aside a healthy cab budget or steel yourself for some serious traffic. Valet parking at the hotel is $48 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
At the hotel, you can sneakily celeb-watch by the pool (if you've ever wanted to try swimwear with heels and a full face of make-up this glamourpuss stay might be the place to do it…), or take in the panoramic city views from Tower Bar's terrace. Runyon Canyon and its fabulous views of Los Angeles (and rampant people-watching opportunities) is just north of the hotel. Grab your trendiest ‘I’m so breezy, I do this all the time’ workout kit and a water bottle and hit the trail. Well worth it for the outdoorsy sense of accomplishment and that vantage point.
Stroll past the bombastic billboards and eclectic boutiques of the Sunset Strip, pausing at the Sunset Plaza to shop and to see what's going on (there are frequent pop-ups and events); then follow the boulevard all the way to ritzy Beverly Hills – bring a card with a serious credit limit for raiding the big-name boutiques. If you've got some stamina, head west to the the boutiques and shore-front attractions of Santa Monica: the hardbodies of Muscle Beach, the fairground rides of Santa Monica Pier, the gravity-defying moves of the Trapeze School New York students, and the long stretch of golden-sand coast, of course.
Start your weekend getaway with brunch at the Eveleigh, a leisurely eight-minute walk down Sunset Boulevard from the hotel. Feeling the alternative-eating-movement vibe? Head over to Gracias Madre and embrace California's vegan food culture at this Mexican eatery. Or perhaps you’re having more carnivorous cravings, in which case you should hit up Animal. In the evening try AOC Wine Bar and Restaurant. Share the small plates with your dinner companion and sample the extensive wine collection. Katana serves sushi, Japanese comfort food and robata grills with a Californian accent – wash down with sake or a pick from the Eastern-inflected cocktail menu (we like the yuzu margarita).
West Hollywood is the perfect location for rooftop cocktails. Slip into your date night best and head to Palihouse West Hollywood's Sunset Cocktail Lounge, an open air bar with summer cocktails, small bites, and 360 views of the Hollywood Hills. If you want something a bit more rock 'n' roll, legendarily hellraising hangouts Whisky a Go-Go and the Viper Room will oblige. Seventies-style speakeasy Sunset & Vinyl is a laidback spot with brilliant barkeeps, and the Know Where Bar throws things back to the Twenties, with deco touches and a retro-glam air.
On arrival at a hotel, there’s little more warmly welcoming than an upgrade, which is why I was thrilled when I checked in to art deco stay Sunset Tower, in Los Angeles, and my room was bumped up to a One-Bedroom Suite. It’s just one example of how staff at the coolly chilled-out front desk – and throughout – are gracious and friendly; the service at Sunset Tower cannot be faulted.
Sunset Tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood; it’s one in a strip of noted stays, which one can ricochet between if hotel bar-hopping is high on your to-do list. In the morning, kick things off with a stroll to Earth Bar for a health injection (quite literally) – sip a smoothie then get a nutrient-boosted IV treatment. Wander to Standard hotels’ Hollywood outpost for lunch at Alma restaurant, Sushi Park for dinner, the Chateau for drinks, then end your night watching a band at the Roxy. It’s a rarity to have everything within walking distance in Los Angeles. I miss walking, so it’s nice to have eateries and nightlife close by, and to avoid the crazy rush-hour traffic.
The hotel may not have sweeping grounds, but the building itself – a statuesque 1930s folly by famed architect Leland A Bryant – is grand with lots of character. Indoors there’s a beauty salon; I didn’t have time to try it out, but if you need a last-minute blow wave it’s a handy wander downstairs, especially since Los Angeles is so vast and often it’s hard to find somewhere close by. The gym, albeit tiny, is well equipped – with apples and water to rehydrate guests – and a necessity for me when on the road. I was the only one in there, so my workout was relaxing and speedy. The hammam is a great addition to the spa; it’s not free to use, but for unwinding pre- or post-flight, it’s worth every cent.
Sunset Tower’s rooms are outfitted in chocolate, taupe and cream hues, with a treasure trove of extras: Kiehl’s toiletries, bathrobes, windows that open to let in the LA sunshine and cookies! Every night, you return to find the best home-made chocolate-chip cookies, which are too good to resist. The decor in rooms could do with some refreshing, but the worn-in look is all part of the charm, in my opinion; it’s homey and lacking in pretension, and the repeat clientele are testament to this.
The doormen running the valet-parking service here work hard for their tips: when the hotel driveway gets a bit congested, they remain unflaggingly charming. If celebrity car chaos strikes, their pastel polo shirts – in soothing pistachio and lilac tones – are a calming sight. Once you’re in, the hotel’s pool is small, but much less mobbed than the entrance – a refreshing change to the more sceney poolsides in Los Angeles hotels. I think this serenity is what appeals to me most. Breakfast is served outside on the terrace, at tables overlooking the pool. The menu’s extensive and dishes are delicious, complemented by speedy service, an imperative if you have a long day of meetings ahead of you.
The hotel is moodily lit but feels cosy rather than sombre. Walls are adorned with photographs of old Hollywood scenes, and the personalities who’ve frequented the hotel; it’s all very inviting, and I’m charmed. If, like this busy bee, you have to fly out the door and don’t have time for breakfast, get a little caffeine pick-me-up at the self-service coffee and tea station set up near the front desk. If you find yourself with some free time, the concierge is very helpful and quick on the draw with recommendations: a day exploring Los Angeles’ art galleries, hikes in the hills, restaurants for romantic meals… Even DHL paperwork assistance, if required!
The hotel’s main draw is the buzzy Tower Bar. Its alluring, dark and intimate ambience epitomises old-Hollywood glamour, and there are usually a few celebs enjoying an undisturbed meal here. Barkeeps mix a mean martini, margarita, anything you desire… so there’s never a dull moment. The wine list is extraordinary, and I had the best tequila I’ve ever sipped here. It’s a good spot to meet and mingle with resident Los Angelenos too, especially if you’re travelling sans a fellow Smith. Book in advance, or show up early to secure a table, but if arriving fashionably late don’t fret – hotel guests usually get priority seating. The Tower Bar’s food is consistently delicious – lobster tacos are dangerously moreish – and I’d wholeheartedly recommend the restaurant to anyone who arrives hungry, even if they’re only staying for a few nights. Cool cocktails, a true sense of style and a laid-back attitude: the restaurant, and the hotel housing it, really capture the feel of the city.