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Don’t let the Garland’s proximity to L.A.’s most popular tourist attractions trick you into thinking it’s a faceless chain—the 1970s bungalow-inspired boutique hotel has plenty of character, including kitschy decor, a full-sized pool and an extensive complimentary guest services and amenities.
Balancing a retro aesthetic with thoroughly modern amenities, Studio City’s Garland Hotel is an urban oasis in the form of a freeway-adjacent respite from nearby tourist attractions like Universal Studios and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The overall vibe is cheeky and cheerful, from the building’s pinwheel painted facade to the delightfully chintzy mix-and- match lobby furniture. In the rooms themselves, you’ll find wallpapered closets and ‘70s-inspired floral textiles, as well as more grown-up accoutrements like free wifi, private balconies and sustainable amenities from Pasadena’s own LATHER soap company. Mingle by the pool, lounge in the grassy gardens, or take advantage of the hotel’s guest activities calendar, which features a rotation complementary events and classes like tai chi and wine tastings. The Front Yard, the Garland’s in-house restaurant, offers locally sourced takes on American favorites like diver scallops and filet mignon. If your stay falls on a weekend, hit up their brunch service—the house-made wild berry pop tarts are miles above anything out of a box. As for the neighborhood, Studio City leans towards the residential, offering sightseers a respite from the throngs of Hollywood and a peek into how Angelinos actually live. During your stay, don’t let LA’s notoriously complex freeway system intimidate you; take advantage of the nearby 101 and 134 to explore up-and- coming neighborhoods like Atwater Village and Highland Park.
Location: The Garland’s biggest nearby attraction is no doubt the Universal Studios theme park; the hotel even runs a complimentary trolley to and from the vast complex of rides, shops and restaurants. The North Hollywood and Studio City neighborhoods lean towards residential, but there are hidden gems aplenty, especially if you have a car.
Universal Studios Tour: While it seems obvious that you would book the Hilton to attend Universal’s theme park, take the time to go on the studio’s shuttle tour between more adventurous rides. Narrated by Jimmy Fallon, the tour shows off the famous backlot sets and divulges making-of secrets that will please any movie buff.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Universal’s J.K. Rowling-approved Potterworld is a delight for fans of all ages and interests; the closest readers will have the most to nerd out on, but there are plenty of rides and attractions for newbies, too.
Iliad Bookshop: With over 100,000 used titles, this Noho indie bookstore is a local favorite and the perfect place to pick up some poolside reading material.
Sushi Yuzu: This under-the- radar sushi spot in the quiet Toluca Lake neighborhood serves up some seriously fresh fish in a no-frills atmosphere. Consider it a welcome respite from the Universal Citywalk’s Hard Rock Cafe.
Good for: The Garland is great for tourists looking to supplement their Universal Studios visit with some citywide sightseeing. Couples and solo travelers can take advantage of the bar and the hotel’s proximity to hip hangs like Eagle Rock and Echo Park, but the Garland is just as, if not more, open to families—the hotel even offers partitioned-off “kids rooms” in their family suites, so that everybody has space to stretch out.
Amenities: Pool, hot tub, room service, free wifi, restaurant, bar, fitness center, laundry service, concierge
Time Out tip: Book your Universal Studios tickets through the Garland’s concierge, and you’ll get magical perks like early-hours access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.