Sometimes the best part of a hotel isn’t the sheets with impressive thread counts, the tricked out suites, or the warm cookies before bedtime (OK, that is nice). Sometimes the best part of a hotel is just hanging out in the lobby. Here are some fine places around L.A. to do just that.
Take a seat on one of the comfy, artfully worn couches in the faux-castle above Sunset Boulevard and you can usually spot an actor/musician/artist/wannabe in pretty quick order. The gothic splendor is soothing, and you can press a vintage call button (they’re on nearly every surface) if you’d like a beverage. Even if you are alone, there’s enough Hollywood history here to keep you company (James Dean hung out here, John Belushi never left). Go during a weekday and you may even avoid the big gents at the end of the polished brick drive who appear out of nowhere to ask you if you have a reservation.
This grand hotel’s lobby has ridiculously high ceilings and big windows facing the boardwalk and Pacific beyond. There is usually a smattering of people lounging on dark rattan furniture (which is covered in chic tropical prints) during the day. It is so large it’s basically multiple rooms—the library is to the left and the sunny, atrium-like middle is divided by a large fireplace. It is a fantastic place to grab a few magazines and hang when your air conditioning isn’t all that. The lounge bar is hopping at night.
Walk out of Casa Del Mar and a few steps up the sand you’ll find Shutters. The tranquil, Cape Cod-esque hotel also has views of the ocean just outside its white-framed windows. Where Casa Del Mar’s lobby is grand, Shutters’ is cozy with low ceilings. The best part? The piano in the lobby and bar area where someone usually sits down to play around sevenish. If you are lucky, you’ll pop in on a night when a hotel guest like Lang Lang is in town to play Disney Hall and sits down to practice.
The are tons of places to hang out at Sydell Group/Roy Choi’s hotel in Koreatown, but we’ll stick with the lobby of this mid-century mod building with it’s polished concrete walls, swooping ceiling art made out of old t-shirts, and awesome bar (sometimes it gets four deep). There are plenty of banquettes to people watch and it’s packed on weekend nights; hit an off-night if you want tranquility. The Poketo shop is just off the elevators and is worth a wander through.
Don’t like sports but like hanging around people who do? Then take a seat in the 24/7 party in the lobby of this hotel next to the Staples Center—it gets super packed after any game or concert. If the Lakers, Clippers, or Kings win, it’s even more fun. It is bustling, international, and nobody cares if you just take a load off in the middle of it all. Maybe it’s the reverb from all the voices off the high ceilings, but the place always feels electric.