This piece originally appeared as part of our Be A Tourist in Your Own Town guide, in the December 2017 issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Want to sip a kumquat old-fashioned in rarefied air? Or maybe take in views of the Pacific from your bed? There’s a hotel for that (and that). Whether you’re looking for high-altitude cocktails, a retro pool scene, a room with a billion-dollar view, or a quick hit of L.A. history, avoid a traumatic trip to LAX and check into one of these staycation-ready spots instead.
Your ears will probably pop on the way up to Spire 73, the InterContinental hotel’s rooftop bar, which sits 791 feet above street level. (Why, yes, that does make it the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere.) The decor could have been inspired by the four elements: Nosh on honey-glazed pork belly while sitting on faux-grass couches, mix and mingle alongside mod fire-pits, sip your mint julep in front of a massive water feature, and, well, the whole fresh air thing is pretty obvious.
You won’t find crowds at Beverly Hills’ boutique Avalon Hotel. Called the Beverly Carlton when it opened in 1949, the place got a posh facelift from L.A. designer Kelly Wearstler last year, complete with throwback decor (low slung ’70s-style sofas) and a Jordan almond palette (creamy white stone-veneer tables). Outside, cabanas hand-painted with trompe l’oeil patterns surround a funky pool. The vibe is Marilyn-esque—fitting, considering the starlet briefly lived at the hotel in the ’50s.
Sleep like a Rockefeller for a night or two at Nobu Ryokan. The pristine Japanese-style inn, cofounded by Oracle software mogul Larry Ellison and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is nestled behind a discreet wall along Pacific Coast Highway. Private decks, fireplaces, and teak soaking tubs come standard in each of the 16 rooms, but the second-floor Ocean King, with its retractable bedroom wall overlooking the Pacific, is the one to book (start saving now—prices range from $1,100 to $2,000 per night). Speaking of reservations, don’t expect to make one over the phone; the hideaway only accepts e-mail inquiries.
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin’s former studio and movie palace has enjoyed a successful second act as the Ace Hotel, but touches from days of yore are everywhere: The neon-drenched marquee was installed in the late ’20s, and that iconic JESUS SAVES sign dates to 1989. Inside, the ornate Spanish Gothic 1,600-seat theater has been restored to its Pickford-era glory; the programming is impressively eclectic, from Comedy Bang! Bang!’s live podcast bonanza, aka Pee Cast Blast ’17 (December 10), to a CAP UCLA-organized performance by the Blind Boys of Alabama (December 17).
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