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The best hotels in West L.A. and the Westside

Make the most of your visit to Los Angeles with a stay at one of these hotels in West L.A. and the Westside

Photograph: Courtesy L.A. Sky Boutique Hotel

Here's a quicker primer on Los Angeles geography: We typically refer to the Pacific-facing side of the city as the Westside, with West L.A. as a small, ordinary neighborhood within the region. So while you'll only find a couple of hotels in West L.A. itself, there are quite a few—and plenty of luxury hotels—in the surrounding Westside. If you're looking for a home base to explore Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, here are the best hotels in West L.A. and the Westside.

The 10 best hotels in West L.A. and the Westside

Hotel Shangri-La

This Art Deco beauty reopened in the late aughts after a $30-million makeover, and the results are stunning. The streamline moderne exterior has been preserved, while inside, the rooms have been upgraded with hardwood floors, windows that open (yes, it's a rarity) and modern tech amenities. All offer ocean views and many have balconies and kitchenettes. A restaurant and pool have also been added, and, on the rooftop, guests can enjoy a drink at the Suite 700 lounge or a spa treatment. If you want to bury your toes in the sand, cross the street and the PCH pedestrian bridge and you'll find yourself on the beach.

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Santa Monica

Hotel Bel-Air

This elite and quietly decadent Mission-style '20s hotel, a deamy getaway on 12 fairytale acres of lush landscaping, reopened in 2011 after a major two-year overhaul. The additions—which include new lofts and hillside suites, a La Prairie spa and fitness center, plus upgraded room features—are impressive, but thankfully the overall vibe hasn't changed much: Guests still enjoy spending long afternoons by the pool, meandering through the gardens or subtly trying to spot which Hollywood player is sitting at the next table in the Wolfgang Puck restaurant.

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Bel Air
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Shutters on the Beach

Formerly a cool retreat for hot Hollywood stars and now a sister to Casa del Mar, Shutters has a relaxed but decidedly upscale style. Filled with comfortable sofas, club chairs and prints by modern masters such as David Hockney, the lobby mirrors the beach-cottage ambience of the rooms and suites, which in turn feature lovely, dark hardwood floors and the hotel's signature white shutters. Guests who prefer gentle pampering to the myriad outdoor beach activities can spend a day at the spa or sit poolside sipping wine and taking in the ocean views. The luxury is low-key, but it's luxury all the same.

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Santa Monica

Hotel Erwin

Live like a local at Venice Beach's only beachfront hotel, just steps from the famed boardwalk and the Pacific. Rest your head in one of the oceanview rooms or stay up at your own beach house party in the two-person tub and turntable–decked Dogtown Suite. Locals and tourists alike can visit the rooftop bar for sunset cocktails.

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Venice
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Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows

The famous pink stucco façade, the manicured grounds and the sumptuous rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel look as fresh and fanciful as they did on opening day 100 years ago. It oozes exclusivity: every screen legend from Valentino to Arnie has slept in this fabled hideaway or held court in its still-popular Polo Lounge. The biggest draw are the bungalows, where Liz Taylor spent six of her honeymoons: No.5 has its own pool; No.7 is decorated to Marilyn's taste. These now almost pale compared to the two new Presidential Bungalows—the epitome of lavishness, and yours for a cool $9,000 (minimum).

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Beverly Hills

Peninsula Beverly Hills

Designed to look and feel like a private estate, the Peninsula exudes opulence. There are 193 rooms and suites—all recently renovated in 2011—and 16 detached private villas situated on the lushly landscaped grounds. There's also a fitness center, a world-class spa, a rooftop garden and a lap pool. Just off the lobby, the gorgeous Club Bar offers entertainment on most nights. The Belvedere, which serves classic American cuisine such as macaroni and cheese with a gourmet twist, is considered one of L.A.'s favorite restaurants. White-glove service throughout only adds to the high-end appeal.

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Beverly Hills
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Venice Beach House

This craftsman-style inn was built in 1911 by Warren Wilson, the owner of the now-defunct Los Angeles Daily Journal. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it's been faithfully restored and furnished with exceptional antique pieces; many of the rooms are named after characters with ties to the area (Venice founder Abbot Kinney, sometime local Charlie Chaplin). Each of the nine rooms has its own character and amenities, though four share a common bath. The more extravagant suites offer an ocean view, a fireplace, a patio or a private entrance.

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Venice

Culver Hotel

This historic hotel was once the part-time residence to Old Hollywood, from Clark Gable and Joan Crawford to Greta Garbo and Buster Keaton. Charlie Chaplin supposedly sold the hotel to John Wayne for a buck, while tales of apparitions surround the Neo-Renaissance–designed hotel. Locals and tourists alike can drop in for a nightcap at the hotel's lobby bar, while overnight guests can lay their heads at one of the 46 newly renovated rooms. The location is simply unbeatable as far as Culver City hotels; it's the only lodging in the middle of the city's growing downtown. Wi-Fi is free, but self-parking is only available in a structure a block away.

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Culver City
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InterContinental Los Angeles Century City

This stepped hotel tower sits on the edge of Century City, quite literally on top of the Fox Studios lot. Accommodations are luxurious, though still simple and not decadent. Service is top-notch as is its central location on the Westside; you're a couple of blocks from the Westfield Century City shopping mall and a short ride from UCLA and Rodeo Drive.

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Century City

L.A. Sky Boutique Hotel

A roadside motel with the stylistic touches of a boutique hotel, this gussied up spot is one of the few lodging choices within the actual neighborhood of West L.A. It's a bit pricy for what it is, but free Wi-Fi and breakfast as well as its close proximity to the Westside Pavilion shopping center are a plus.

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Westwood
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Looking for top-notch accommodations?

The best hotels in Los Angeles

There's nothing wrong with staying at a solid cheap hotel, but sometimes you want the very best. What exactly gives a resort the distinction of being one of the best hotels in Los Angeles? Is it being by one of L.A.'s best beaches? Or proximity, whether by foot, train or car, to the top Los Angeles attractions? Is it a room so decadently comfortable that you never want to leave? Or a top-notch hotel brunch? These accommodations manage to check those marks and more to earn a spot in our list of the very best hotels in Los Angeles.

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By: Michael Juliano

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