The Millennium Biltmore is a sanctuary of old-school pomp and circumstance—think carved friezes, car-sized chandeliers, and afternoon tea service—that fits with its history as one of the oldest hotels in Los Angeles.
In chronically laid-back L.A., the Millenium Biltmore might be the closest you’ll get to the fussy fanciness of New York’s Plaza or Waldorf Astoria. Opened in 1923 as a testament to the booming film industry, the Beaux-Arts hotel is a study in old-school Hollywood glamor. The building was home to the Academy Awards throughout the ‘30s, and makes cameos in Hollywood hits from Chinatown to Ghostbusters. The decor is just as lavish off-screen: in the dizzying Rendezvous Court (known in lesser hospitality circles as a lobby), you’ll find vaulted ceilings, meticulously trimmed topiaries, and a gilded double staircase inspired by a Spanish Cathedral. After High Tea in the Court, take time for a dip in the Biltmore’s Roman-style pool, or a sit in the dry or wet sauna. The rooms themselves sport the expected modern amenities—wifi, coffee stations, smart TVs—but if you really want to lean into grandeur, the Biltmore’s suites are pure opulence: Nine separate POS have called the two-floor, three-bedroom Presidential Suite their home away from home, and the Music Suite includes a baby grand piano and dinner service for up to ten guests.
Location: Downtown L.A.’s financial district is a blend of office buildings and artist lofts; plotted on Pershing Square and adjacent to Chinatown and the Arts District, the Biltmore is surrounded by hustle and bustle of any major metropolis, as well as museums, bars and galleries.
Water Grill: It’s only logical that the Biltmore would sit atop one of Downtown L.A.’s finest seafood restaurants. Stop in for cocktails and oysters—their ever-changing raw bar selection is impressive, no matter the season—or stick around for black cod miso, Ecuadorian shrimp and grits, or Chilean sea bass with butternut squash gnocchi.
The Broad: Contemplate work from contemporary art superstars like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons in L.A.’s newest museum. (Insider tip: get tickets ahead of time online, and pronounce it so that it rhymes with “road.”)
Grand Central Market: From Thai curry to tacos to donuts, there’s something for everyone in this low-key, reasonably priced European-style food hall on Broadway.
The Last Bookstore: This former bank building is offers a stunning array of discount used books and records, as well as an Instagram-worthy mezzanine with artfully sculpted book structures.
Philippe the Original: The best French Dip sandwich in Downtown L.A. is a hotly contested honor; tender meat, salty broth, and prices that honor the stand’s 1908 opening date place us firmly on Team Philippe.
Good for: Classy romantics will gush over the lavish accommodations, as will holiday Travelers—with lights, garlands, and several Christmas trees, the Biltmore is pure seasonal splendor come winter. And while “lavish decor” and “family vacation” may not always be synonymous, the Biltmore’s “Ask Alfred” children’s concierge provides the under-18 crowd with toys, treats and coloring book postcards that the front desk will mail off for you, free of charge.
Amenities: Pool, hot tub, sauna, room service, free wifi, restaurant, bar, gym, laundry service, concierge
Time Out tip: If your love of history runs on the macabre side, order a Black Dahlia martini in the wood-and- granite Gallery Bar; the Biltmore was the last place that Hollywood’s most famous murder mystery victim was seen alive.