One of Los Angeles’ best qualities is the way it evokes the past: the ornate architecture, the creative history, its legacy as an oasis of entertainment culture. When you visit Los Angeles, you’ll want to recapture that magic by booking a stay in a hotel that hearkens back in time.
Fortunately, the past is very much present in this sprawling urban playground. We’ve rounded up some of LA’s best historic hotels where you will soak up the city’s storied past as the world center of cinema while also enjoying the modern city it is today. Needless to say, these are also some of the gayest places to stay anywhere.
Built in downtown in 1923, the Millennium’s most lovely feature is the Italian-Spanish Renaissance and Beaux Arts architecture. After hosting the Oscars in the ’30s and ’40s, it was designated a historic-cultural monument in the late ’60s. It’s a towering structure, covering half a city block and loaded with massive chandeliers, frescos, and tapestries. According to rumor, this is the place where the Oscar statue was first sketched on the back of a napkin.
2. Figueroa Hotel
It’s worth it to shell out a little extra for the deluxe rooms like the Casablanca Suite. Big beds, giant baths, and cozy Persian decor make it feel like a palace. The Figueroa started as a YMCA, but switched to a hotel after the Great Depression. It’s close to downtown attractions like LA Live, where you can see the best movies every made.
Built in the 1960s, the Andaz went through a couple of name changes over the years yet retains its distinct post-mid-century character. It was home to historic rockers like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, some of whom are rumored to have ridden their motorcycles through the halls. It had a little cameo in the movie Almost Famous — playing itself, redecorated back to its 1970s glory.
4. Hotel Normandie
Head over to Koreatown to see the results of a $5 million renovation. It retains the 1920s Art Deco charm, but added modern amenities like high speed wireless. There’s plenty to see within walking distance, and you can find parking within a few blocks. Check out the huge fireplace in the lobby, hardwood floors, and pianos. The staff is known for being extra-friendly.
5. Roosevelt Hotel
Stay in the heart of Hollywood and you’ll never be far from some action. This LA classic was named for President Theodore Roosevelt, built in the late ’20s by longtime collaborators Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis B. Mayer. It was home to the first Academy Awards, as well as, for a time, Marilyn Monroe. It’s said to be haunted by a little girl in a blue dress. Reserve one of the cabanas by the pool, where the beautiful people hang.
6. Sunset Tower Hotel
A short walk from the heart of West Hollywood, Sunset Tower is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture in the city. The 15-story Hollywood landmark features bar and pool with a dazzling view of LA as well as first-rate dining. The Tower counts among its former celebrity residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and Bugsy Siegel.
7. Beverly Wilshire
Hey big spenders. Looking to do a little luxury shopping? You’ll be surrounded by top-shelf stores if you stay at this 1928 landmark. Decked out in Tuscan marble, the Beverly Wilshire features a classy ballroom, giant swimming pool, and tennis courts. Elvis, Warren Beatty and John Lennon all called it home, and it was the backdrop of the show Entourage and the movie Pretty Woman.
8. The Georgian
There’s a colorful past to the Georgian: it was one of LA’s first speakeasies during Prohibition, a tribute to its libertine origins. These days, operations are more above-board but no less entertaining. Every room boasts ocean views, and there’s a ton of stuff within walking distance: the beach, shopping, and bike rides. If it was good enough for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, it’s good enough for us.
9. Casa Del Mar
Built in 1926, this hotel underwent a big renovation in the late ’90s. You can get a charming brunch in the restaurant, splash around in the pool, or hang out in the lounge. It was a rec center for GIs during World War II, and was also home base for the Pritkin Longevity Center from the ’70s to the ’90s. From the front, you might mistake it for a brick palace, with its fancy arches and columns. Of course, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
10. Chateau Marmont
There’s so much history here, it’s hard to know where to begin. Modeled after a French retreat, it was built in the ’20s after a rich lawyer returned inspired from a trip to Europe. It began life as an exclusive residence for Hollywood’s most well-heeled elite, and retains that reputation to this day. On any given day you’ll see Keanu or Leo striding through the tiled lobby. It’s tucked far enough away from the road to feel secluded, but close enough to the Sunset Strip that you can easily wander out of your room and into a nearby Pink Taco restaurant.