Ostensibly a private members’ club but with the warmth and welcome of a boutique hotel, the Aster is a world of gleaming wooden floors polished to a near-frictionless sheen, lemon-and-lime paneling and oversized lamps, where Hollywood and Vine’s illustrious past meets sophisticated urban LA modernism. Glamourpusses sun themselves by the leafy courtyard’s heated pool, lounge lizards sip Aster Spritz at the bar, and the Capitol Records building and Hollywood sign provide cinematic backdrops to movie nights: classic flicks shown under the stars on the rooftop’s big screen.
35 spacious open-plan suites, all over 700 square feet in size.
12 noon. Check-in is at 3pm, but both are flexible and earlier/later times will be accommodated whenever possible.
Double rooms from £260.06 ($330), including tax at 14.195 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $40.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast (available for $15 a person) and a $40 daily membership fee that gives access to all member-only spaces, including the gym and wellness suite.
Miming to become the next Meat Loaf or Mariah? Lay down your tracks in the hotel’s recording studio. You can even hand deliver your demo to Capitol Records afterwards – it’s just across the street.
At the hotel
Rooftop bar, restaurant and cinema; heated courtyard pool; members’ lounge; cabaret room with live entertainment; wellness area, salon and gym; library lounge; open-plan event and work spaces. In rooms: balcony or terrace with courtyard or city views, free WiFi, Nespresso coffee machine, large smart TV, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
Thick, elaborately patterned rugs lie draped across polished wooden floors inside the Aster’s suites. Mid-century sofas and easy chairs in racing greens, baby blues and smoldering flamingo pinks lend a hint of old-fashioned romance. Bathrooms big enough to get lost in feature exotic floral-print walls that seem to go on forever. Soft, white organic bedding makes sleep feel like sinking into marshmallow. Poolside Suites offer the additional convenience of being able to step straight across your terrace into the outdoor pool for a cooling dip.
Lemon trees in the inner courtyard hark back to Hollywood’s life pre-urbanization, when vast lemon groves flourished here. The courtyard’s heated outdoor pool is available to help you cool off in the LA sun daily from 8am–10pm.
Find inner peace in the meditation room or get ready for the red carpet at the salon. The first-floor wellness suite also boasts state-of-the-art fitness equipment in the gym, but keeps it old-school with vintage lockers and sports memorabilia including beat-up baseball gloves and hockey masks on the walls. Massage is available on request.
Delve into Tinseltown’s seedier underbelly with a well-thumbed James Ellroy: his LA Quartet, a series of hardboiled crime novels set in 1940s and 50s LA are essential reading. Start with brutal murder mystery The Black Dahlia and take it from there. If you have the stomach for it.
The members’ lounge counts a recording studio and Japanese tea room among its come-discover-me spaces. Sink into velvety reclining sofas in the screening room for movie previews and big-screen blockbusters.
Dine on the terrace for front-row seats as the blue, blue LA sky fades to a seductive dusky pink and night begins to fall on the dense urban jungle of beautiful century-old high rises that surround the hotel.
LA can be a disarmingly casual town, and exclusive addresses like the Aster are no exception. Gents: stay the right side of smart by pairing your plain tee with a blazer. Ladies: strappy sandals and bold-print maxi dresses for the win.
Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, the rooftop Lemon Grove restaurant takes the spirit of the pre-industrialized Hollywood landscape (lemon groves, natch) and runs with it. Citrusy simplicity is the driving philosophy here, even if some of the dishes (snapper crudo with lemon ponzu, anyone?) would beg to differ. Dine on the likes of pizza with salami and pesto and lentils with goat cheese and roasted vegetables, served alongside a dizzying array of zesty California wines. Brunch and lunch from 11am, dinner from 5.30pm, with al fresco seating for sunseekers.
Bold monochrome tiling and towering cacti encircle the vast rooftop bar, where a signature handcrafted Aster Spritz or Thousand Dollar Kiss cocktail is every bit as knockout as those awesome views, from the famous Hollywood sign in them there hills to the retro stacked-vinyl-records design of the Capitol Records building just across the street. Expect late-night DJs and great live music: 80s legends Duran Duran are among the acts to have performed in this intimate space.
The restaurant is open until 11am, with the party continuing at the rooftop bar until 2am.
A hotel and members’ club with a vast roof deck overlooking the Capitol Records building, the Aster is mere moments from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.
The hotel is 45 minutes from LAX and 20 from Burbank. A plethora of onward transportation methods present themselves to the intrepid traveler arriving at LAX, from bus and subway to chauffeur-driven town car, with prices ranging from $12 to $150 for the privilege.
LA’s Union Station is served by local and national routes, and is a 15-minute cab ride from the hotel.
Hire a ride at the airport to fulfill that lifelong dream of cruising Sunset Boulevard with the top down. The hotel’s valet service is available 24/7 with nightly parking fees of $45.
Worth getting out of bed for
Lean in and say hi to Gable, Garbo and, um, Alvin & The Chipmunks: the Hollywood stars of the Walk of Fame is right outside the Aster.
Sidestep the selfie-takers and instead take a car into the hills and recreate your favorite movie chase scenes on Mulholland Drive (driving safely, natch). Immortalized in the David Lynch movie of the same name, this 20-mile stretch of prime real estate stretches from the Hollywood Hills into the Santa Monica Mountains. Up here, the urge to ogle the homes of the (very) rich and famous is almost enough to distract you from those other views: the Hollywood sign, the bright lights of San Fernando Valley and rugged Los Angeles Basin.
The Aster puts you around 45 minutes from three of the planet’s best-known beaches. If your boat is floated by picture-postcard views and the chance to don a red swimsuit and run in Baywatch-style slo-mo across golden sands, make for Santa Monica and Malibu. Venice Beach is the place for colorful street art, cool brunch spots and some of the finest people-watching opportunities in town. And, if you’ve been inspired by those heavily inked bodybuilders working out on the boardwalk, the abundance of tattoo parlors in this free-spirited neighborhood will be more than happy to provide a truly indelible souvenir of your LA visit.
The possibilities for top-notch dining in LA are near inexhaustible. Fortunately, you don’t have to go very far to find some of the best. Katsuya, right round the corner on Hollywood Boulevard, is a Japanese joint on the Walk of Fame that serves up a sizeable smorgasbord of ocean-fresh sashimi, nigiri and sushi rolls. Dishes like lobster tempura, snapper in ginger chili sauce and seared Australian Wagyu beef should satisfy diners who like their critters a little more… cooked. Don’t miss the signature Burning Mandarin cocktail, a zesty punch of orange vodka, mandarin reduction, lemon juice and serrano tincture.
By the end of your meal at Gwen on Sunset Boulevard, you may well find yourself swinging from the dining room’s (massive) chandeliers in delight. Chock-full of art deco objets d’art, the European-style restaurant is a meat specialist with an adjoining butcher shop, no less. Expect bone marrow appetizers, belly-busting tomahawk steaks and those all-important duck fat roast potatoes.
A short stumble from the Aster on Argyle Avenue, Ever Bar is the Kimpton Everly’s suave cocktail lounge, where the lighting is lit just so and live music gets the floor shaking on weekends. Upstairs on the roof terrace, there’s an opportunity to admire the Capitol Records building from a different angle as you sample locally brewed beers from Craftsman and Boomtown.
In view of the neon sign at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, Lost Property promises an old-school speakeasy vibe. Cocktails include a classic Harvey Wallbanger plus newer kids on the block like their Misunderstood, a piquant mix of ginger whiskey, cinnamon, lemon and spiced chocolate bitters, and the citrusy Harriet Quimby, which may leave you flying higher than the pioneering lady it honors.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this exclusive address at the foot of the Hollywood Hills and poured a large, wistful glass of Napa Valley wine, a full account of their luxury boutique break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Aster in LA…
The Aster’s smart 21st-century interiors pay distinct homage to Hollywood and Vine’s illustrious past as the entertainment capital of the world. Upstairs in the vast members’ lounge, the (working) recording studio and chintzy, muffled comfort of the screening room are welcome throwbacks to a golden era of broadcasting.
There’s a library lounge that rocks a nostalgic British vibe, all mahogany cocktail cabinets and grandfather clocks. Elsewhere, an entire room is given over to the honorable art of cacti cultivation. You’ll find no such prickly customers in the adjacent cabaret room where old-school entertainments including singing pianists and tarot readers are the order of the day.
Guest suites complete the picture, toting on-trend mid-century furniture in fetching hues of pink, blue and green and large floral feature walls in bathrooms for which the word ‘spacious’ doesn’t go nearly far enough.