Hotels with history might not be what you readily associate with glitzy Los Angeles. But the world’s celebrity capital is home to dozens of establishments that have been open for the best part of a century, offering guests a fascinating insight into the city’s racy past. Read on for our pick of the the best historic hotels in Los Angeles, from a Beverly Hills landmark known as the Pink Palace to a world-famous haven for visiting celebrities.
Hotel Normandie’s rooftop neon sign has been a feature of the Koreatown skyline ever since it opened in 1926. It was designed by Albert Walker and Percy Eisen, celebrated architects who also completed the city’s ornate Fine Arts Building a year later. Modern renovations have fused Normandie’s Hollywood Golden Age classicism with LA chic, but plenty of original features remain at this historic hotel, including grand mahogany doors, a reconstruction of the mansard roofing and Cassell’s, an on-site diner that opened in 1948 – the cheeseburger and fried chicken sando are must-tries.
Spanish Colonial-style Figueroa opened as a safe haven for female travelers in 1926, making it one of Downtown LA’s oldest and most historic hotels. Original touches – such as exposed-brick showers and stone fireplaces – abound, but the 268-room Fig’s 21st-century credentials are impeccable: guests can relax around Downtown’s only ground-floor pool, take private yoga classes at the 24/7 fitness center, or sample the creations of celebrated chef Adrian Garcia at in-house restaurants Breva and Veranda. Head to one of the hotel’s two classy bars, Figueroa and Alta, for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.
Sunset Boulevard’s iconic Chateau Marmont has been a temporary base for dozens of legendary artists throughout the decades, from F Scott Fitzgerald to Courtney Love. Commissioned in 1927 by a leading LA lawyer, it was inspired by the Château d’Amboise – a royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, where Catherine de’ Medici and Henry II raised their children in the 16th century. Now, this historic hotel in Los Angeles offers 63 rooms, suites, cottages and bungalows, laid-back staff with stories to tell, its own line of memorabilia and ample opportunities for celebrity-spotting.
As well as being an Art Deco masterpiece, the Sunset Tower Hotel is almost as much of a Hollywood icon as the hilltop sign itself. Opened in 1931, it was for many decades (and arguably still is) the coolest hangout in West Hollywood, attracting stars such as Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. Hotelier Jeff Klein purchased the property in 2004, adding what has become one of LA’s sleekest after-dark hangouts, the Tower Bar (another great place for celebrity-spotting). There’s also a pool with city views, a spa and gym, and luxury pet facilities (of course).
The beachfront Palihouse Santa Monica was opened by Paligroup owner and designer Avi Brosh in 2013, but this historic LA hotel’s backstory stretches back far beyond. Its elegant Mediterranean Revival buildings have served as accommodations since they were built in 1927 (formerly as the Embassy Hotel Apartments) and were named a Santa Monica Historic Landmark 70 years later. Brosh now offers beach-chic accommodations for short and medium-term stays, kitted out with his own custom furnishings and characterized by what he’s described as a “bohemian, European, urban vibe.”
LA’s branch of the renowned Japanese franchise is found in Little Tokyo, just a few minutes’ walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Japanese American National Museum. Accommodations consist of 173 smart, sober-hued bedrooms, ranging in size from Standards to Double-Double Executives, some of which feature Japanese-style baths, Before heading out to explore Little Tokyo, try the hotel’s Ohjah Bar for a cocktail (or for karaoke when you get back), or grab a bite at on-site restaurant Tamon, one of the neighborhood’s finest sushi joints.
For more options, check out our guide to the best luxury hotels in Los Angeles – and book your stay on Culture Trip.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.