7 Places to Stay in Los Angeles With Fascinating Histories
The LINE Los Angeles is in the city’s Koreatown | Courtesy of Adrian Gaut / The LINE LA
Los Angeles and the entertainment industry are inextricable from one another, and its glittery Hollywood-centric history permeates all parts of the city’s culture. Nowhere is this more apparent than behind the iconic facades of the city’s see-and-be-seen hotels, where A-list hangouts have become the backdrop to hushed stories and urban legends.
From the silver screens of Hollywood to today’s superhero blockbusters, Los Angeles is a land of stories. Its hotels have long been celebrity stomping grounds, backdrops for movies, and vaults to the secrets of the rich and famous. These seven hotels, all hand-picked by Culture Trip, are among the most fascinating in the city. Whether odes to LA’s Golden Age or more recent additions to the city, they all have equally intriguing stories to tell.
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The Sunset Marquis has an elegant Mediterranean aesthetic | Courtesy of Sunset Marquis, Los Angeles
Tucked away just below the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Marquis is a hidden oasis that is beloved by private-minded A-list stars. In business for more than 50 years, the hotel includes private villas, two pools, a lavish restaurant and spa, and all the privacy a celebrity could ever want (including an underground entrance so the paparazzi can’t see who you’re coming in with). One of the most interesting aspects of the hotel is its fully functioning recording studio. Since its inception in 1992, the studio has played host to everyone from Madonna and Drake to Rihanna and Kanye West.
While the Freehand hotel itself is practically new to downtown LA, the building it resides in has a much longer history. Formerly the Commercial Exchange Building, the 1924 Renaissance Revival-style structure stands 13-stories high and still boasts one of the tallest neon signs in LA sliding up the façade. Today, the hotel is completely retrofitted and includes a rooftop pool and the bumping cocktail-enthusiast’s Broken Shaker bar, retro mod design touches, and budget-friendly accommodations. The hotel is actually split between traditional rooms and a hostel that comes with shared bunks, a kitchen, and a laundry room for traveling guests on the go.
There are few hotels with as much history as The Hollywood Roosevelt. In fact, the Roosevelt is the oldest continuously operating hotel in all of Los Angeles. The hotel first opened its doors in 1927 and has been home to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Prince. The hotel remains a hotspot to this day and features a wild pool scene, multiple bars, and even its own bowling alley. For lovers of all things Hollywood, The Roosevelt’s location is also hard to beat: you’ll find the Hollywood Walk of Fame ten minutes away, and it’s within walking distance of the famed Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex.
Originally built in 1926, Hotel Figueroa was once a sanctuary for traveling women who, at the time, were often unable to check into hotels without a male chaperone. It was entirely financed, owned and operated by women, and today the hotel has stayed true to its feminist roots, embodying a progressive spirit in art, design and service. The Fig underwent a massive renovation in 2018 and has emerged as a Downtown hub for LA’s creatives with its original coffin-shaped pool, outdoor dining and drinking dens and a cavalcade of events that range from burlesque to live music to art exhibitions (don’t miss the hotel’s gallery which has been thoughtfully curated to display works by LA-based female artists). While the Colonial Spanish architecture remains the same, inside guests will find luxurious, modern amenities and will love being a stone’s throw away from the LA Live entertainment centre across the street.
Another brand-new Downtown LA hotel, the NoMad oozes sophistication and plays on Italian themes as the original 1923 building was once home to the Bank of Italy. Guests will find themselves gawking at the fully restored Italianate lobby ceiling, the pieces of original art and the main hotel bathroom that was carved out of the original bank vault. The rooftop bar and pool is the main hangout of the hotel (thanks to its live music and killer cocktail menu), but you’ll also discover an Italian coffee bar with impeccably flaky croissants, and room details like terrazzo floors, marble desks, glittering vintage-style crystalware and plenty of contemporary touches like smart TVs for all your streaming desires.
One of the more eclectic hotels in LA, the Petit Ermitage is an explorer’s paradise filled with an art collection that includes original works by greats like Rauschenberg, Miro and de Kooning. Owned by brothers Adrian and Stefan Ashkenazy, every art piece and design touch is inspired by the brothers’ love of travel and the hotel is filled with a weird and wonderful collection of travel trinkets that the duo have accumulated from their global adventures. The mainstay of the hotel is on the roof where a creative cocktail bar, adults-only pool and a butterfly and hummingbird garden welcome guests with open arms.
LA is home to the largest concentration of Koreans outside of Korea and the epicenter is Koreatown, right in the middle of the city. The history of The LINE hotel somewhat coincides with the influx of Korean immigrants as the mid-century building was erected in 1964 during the height of the Korean diaspora. Today, the hotel is the heart and soul of the neighborhood as it embraces the community with a packed calendar of events (their Koreatown Run Club is free to join) and showers its guests with a lively social scene. Highlights of the property include a robust happy hour, outdoor pool, retail boutique Poketo and Breakroom 86 bar where you can book out a karaoke booth and sip nostalgic cocktails like the Say Any-Sling or the Rum DMC.