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How did it strike you on arrival?
This Art Deco concoction rises above the palm trees of central Hollywood with a rooftop pool and sweeping city views. The 15-floor Art Deco tower first opened as an apartment building in 1929, and former residents include Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. In 2004, New York-based hotelier and restaurateur Jeff Klein bought and transformed what had become a run-down hotel, putting it back on the map. Chances are good you’ll spot a celeb or two, as well as deal-making movie studio execs eating avocado toast at the poolside restaurant, The Terrace.
What’s the crowd like?
Expect to see a mix of business and leisure travelers, mostly in the creative fields, from film to fashion, as well as local junior agents in Tod’s taking morning calls and meetings in the public spaces.
The good stuff: Tell us about the rooms.
Among the 81 rooms and suites, there are 12 different types (from moderate queen up to the penthouse), but each has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the city. An elegant palette of neutrals, rosewood, and brass give the rooms an Old World feel. Warm, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies at turndown are reason enough to hole up come evening.
Please tell us the bathroom won’t let us down.
You’ll want to linger in the limestone bathrooms, which have floor-to-ceiling windows and either deep soaking tubs or stand-alone showers.
Maybe the most important topic of all: Wi-Fi. What’s the word?
Wi-Fi is free, and there are on-demand movies and iPhone stations in each room as well.
What do we have for food and drink?
If you’re staying at the hotel, you’ll want to tuck in at night to a burger or New York strip steak at the ground-floor, wood-paneled Tower Bar and Restaurant, housed inside Bugsy Siegel’s old apartment. During the day there is no more quintessentially Hollywood place to dine than the outdoor poolside terrace, where huevos rancheros are a must. Worth noting: there’s a strict no photo policy should you happen to spot a celebrity.
Staff: If you could award one a trophy, who gets it, and why?
The maitre d’ service has the rare ability to make celebs feel anonymous and the anonymous plebs like us feel like celebrities. (Until late 2018, the position was held by the legendary Dimitri Dimitrov; Gabé Doppelt now fills the role.)
Anything stand out about other services and features? Whether it’s childcare, gyms, spas, even parking—whatever stuck with you.
The lounger-lined pool is an intimate escape, and the hotel is as pet-friendly as they come. Four-legged friends get mini Sunset Tower beds, and the hotel is next to a dog park.
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