Discreetly set on a tree-lined block, but still close to all the West Hollywood hotspots, the Chamberlain hotel is mod-inspired escape that knows how to swing. Groovy from start to finish, this all-suites retreat has an exclusive guests-only bistro, rooftop pool and top-notch service at every turn.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £183.13 ($230), including tax at 15.695 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $30.08 per room per night on check-out.
Rates are room only. There's an extra amenity charge of $26 a person, each night (plus taxes).
Check with the front desk about yoga classes, pampering sessions and other special events held for guests on the rooftop.
At the hotel
Rooftop pool, gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, free WiFi, minibar, coffee and tea service and Gilchrist and Soames bath products.
Our favourite rooms
With private balconies and sleek gas fireplaces in every room, any of the three suite levels will make you feel you right at home. However, if you're planning an extended stay, book a spacious one-bedroom suite with a kitchenette.
The heated pool is surrounded by loungers and a private cabana, and is perched on the rooftop with panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills and downtown Los Angeles.
Designer swimwear and stylish cover-ups – you’ll want to look the fashionable part as you lounge poolside.
The hotel is completely non-smoking. Disabled access rooms are available.
On a warm evening, the private, candlelit patio is the ultimate urban oasis, so settle into a table beneath the canopy of trees.
Dress the retro part with a mod mini-dress and oversized sunglasses for her, and Rat Pack-inspired togs for him.
Slide into one of the chic chevron-adorned chairs or fawn banquettes or take a seat on the tree-shaded patio at Fits, a stylish café that’s exclusively for guests. Feast on Mediterranean-inspired California cuisine – albondigas, perhaps, or grilled octopus with butternut squash. For more casual fare, head up to the roofdeck, lay claim to a sunlouger or reserve the private cabana and order from the room service menu.
Snag one of the handful of stools at Fits' bar and ask for a signature Fashionista cocktail – a pleasing blend of tequila, pink guava and orange liquor.
Fits’ breakfast menu is available from 6:30am to 10pm. Lunch is served from 11am to 5pm and dinner starts at 5pm to 11pm. Rooftop dining is available from noon to 8:30pm.
Dial the room service from 6:30am to 10:30pm for your morning coffee or crisp salads, burgers and pastas throughout the day.
Set on a leafy residential block in West Hollywood, The Chamberlain is within an easy drive of most of Los Angeles' sights and hotspots.
LAX (Los Angeles International Airport, www.lawa.org) services most international and domestic flights, and is 11 miles away. Although close, travel times to and from the airport varies greatly due to traffic and time of day.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) operates out of Union Station, 20 minutes from the hotel by car.
Los Angeles is a definitely a driving town, so you’ll want to hire a car (preferably a convertible). Valet parking is available at the hotel for US$45 a night (includes in and out access).
Worth getting out of bed for
It will be challenging to leave the guest-only rooftop sanctuary at the Chamberlain, but the sweeping views of the playground just beyond the hotel are tempting, too. Stroll a few blocks from your home base and you’ll be in the thick of the infamous rock clubs, drink dens and funky shops of the Sunset Strip. Stroll 15 minutes towards Santa Monica Boulevard and the trendy West Hollywood design district of shops, restaurants and cutting-edge galleries. Pick something up to wear to a local opening at Tenoversix (+1 323 330 9355) on Melrose, a hip showcase of who-to-wear-now.
Indulge in your Pretty Woman fantasies along Rodeo Drive, by splashing some serious cash in its designer boutiques. The Grove shopping complex is a little more budget- (and family-) friendly, and you may catch an alfresco fashion show or concert. It's easily navigated, but it's fun to ride the old-school trolley that runs past the shops. If you're looking for something a little more highbrow, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the architecturally alluring Getty Center are both close to the hotel, too. Guests of the Chamberlain get a discount at Bikes & Hikes LA, so you'll have all the gear you need for exploring the great outdoors.
Connie and Ted’s on Santa Monica Boulevard offers an authentic taste of a New England fish shack (well, an upscale version of it). Feast on East Coast favourites – Portuguese fish stew, clam chowder and lobster rolls – along with fresh West Coast catches of the day, too. For thick chops, traditional chicken parm, house-made pastas and a side of celebrity sightings book a table at Craig’s on Melrose Avenue. It has all the charm of a beloved old-school red-sauce spot, and happens to be one of the hottest tables in Hollywood. Chef Pascal Lorange’s West Hollywood outpost of his popular Fig & Olive on Melrose Place is ideal for locally-sourced, Mediterranean-inspired lunch, dinner or a glass of wine and savory snack at the bar's communal tasting table.
Less dive-y than they used to be, infamous venues Whisky a Go-Go and the Viper Room have seen their fair share of hell-raising. You're unlikely to run into Mötley Crüe or Leonardo DiCaprio these days, but there's scuzzy fun still to be had. On the higher end of things – quite literally – the celeb-luring Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel requires better behaviour (and a put-together ensemble), and rewards you with a neon-flecked city panorama from the terrace.
It was midnight when the taxi driver pulled up outside the understated modern apartment block revived with a lick of fashionable steel-grey paint, in an equally low-key residential street in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of West Hollywood. It seemed like just the sort of hideout Hollywood A-listers could make a home-from-home beyond the gaze of prying paparazzi.
As for me, I was just happy to have arrived at all. After two weeks of Caribbean and Mexican adventures, I was looking forward to a couple of days in LA for the mandatory guilt-fuelled trip to Barney’s and American Rag, swellegant dinners with friends, a pop-in to Michael Kohn’s exemplary contemporary new art gallery in Hollywood and, with a bit of luck, luxurious digs by way of the Chamberlain West Hollywood.
It should be mentioned that I’d started the day in Havana, spent six hours in the airport at Mexico City waiting for my connecting flight and was suffering from heatstroke and mojito overload. Oh, and somehow my hands had tested positive for explosives (apparently caused by moisturiser) – what the hell are they putting in our wrinkle-creams?
Such are the travails of modern travel, so by the time I was standing in the lobby of the Chamberlain, I would have been happy with a sleeping bag on the gleaming zig-zag marble floor.
A solitary receptionist welcomes me with a big smile, and I realise it’s the first time in my life I have really needed 24-hour room service. Unfortunately, the kitchen closed at 10.30, but she kindly offers to order me take out from a reliable local. I’m too tired to wait and resolve to demolish the mini-bar instead.
The moment my tricky key card (a plea to hotel owners everywhere: please bring back real keys) unlocks, I am transported out of airport hell and into hotel heaven: a large and elegantly decorated sitting room in smart monochromatic tones with metallic accents and modern art-deco flourishes, complete with cosy faux-fire, lots of lamps, a snug sofa, chic coffee table and a huge desk.
Adjoining this area is a slightly elevated open bedroom with a king-sized bed festooned in sumptuous all white linens and a huge wall mounted television. The en suite is a gleaming marble sanctuary, though lacking a tub, it’s replete with generous sized lotions and potions.
A box of tasty pistachios is devoured, a shower taken and then I slip between the sheets and float into sleep, atop a cloud of luxurious downy bedding.
The next morning, I descend the stairs from the lobby into a small, smart dining room with tufted leather banquette seats and a long bar. It’s the kind of room that easily adapts from sunny breakfast café to lamp-lit bistro and spills onto a small courtyard with outdoor tables.
Breakfast is well-cooked standard fare – the coffee is good, the toast hot and the berries and yoghurt fresh and plentiful. The breakfast service delivered by a solitary male is a trifle perfunctory but adequate.
Making my way up to the rooftop, I take a peek inside the newly-equipped gym, but am too distracted by the small, pleasant dipping pool surrounded by loungers and custom built-in divans. Despite it being the height of summer, the poolside bar is closed, but drinks and snacks are delivered via the downstairs kitchen and bar. What the pool lacks in water volume, it makes up for in fabulous city views, especially at sunset, which wrap around to the Hollywood hills.
Although the Chamberlain is on a quiet street (ensuring a good night’s sleep), it’s only minutes walk from my favourite bookstore, Book Soup, and the other manifest temptations of Sunset Boulevard from Balenciaga to the Viper Room. A ten minute cab ride to Rodeo drive and close to Robertson Boulevard and the upscale stores of Melrose Avenue, the Chamberlain is located as close as it comes to an epicentre in the sprawling topography of LA.
Opting to eat in one evening, I head to the hotel’s one dining room for blackened salmon atop a simple salad that was generous and perfectly cooked. In a city full of glam culinary attractions, this is not a destination restaurant so much as good bolthole for the tuckered traveller who prefers to dine in than paint the town red.
The Chamberlain fulfilled a brief I’m increasingly favouring: style without attitude, modern chic without noise or self-conscious fashion slavishness. If the owners could rustle up a good 24-hour room service and an in-room kettle and tea cups, I’d prefer it to any number of LA stays. The best aspects being the top-notch beds and the sweet natured (and efficient) staff whose uniformly un-snooty demeanours soften the hip interiors. Oh, and by the way – Paris Hilton, if you’re renovating, take note – you can bring your Chihuahua.
My only regret, perhaps, was my own timing – the in-room fireplace made me wish I was holed up here in winter. In fact, I’m fantasising about a longer stay where I can pretend my room is my chic writing bed-sit where I can complete a novel that will (of course) be optioned immediately. Now that’s my idea of a (West) Hollywood ending…
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