Nestled among seven lush garden estate acres in the heart of Los Angeles is the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard, Bel Air - an urban retreat where I savored my most recent respite.
Upon arrival, plush and cozy furnishings in the open, airy, fresh orchid-scented hotel lobby beckoned me sit back and settle in to "vacation mode." This I did as a team of service-focused staffers checked me in while I freshened up with a provided moist towelette and sipped a complimentary glass of Shiraz wine - the welcome amenity I opted for over a cappuccino. This wonderful arrival experience was foreshadowing of the hospitality to follow.
The hotel's copious indoor and outdoor public spaces and its large guest rooms, all renovated in 2006 with the help of famed interior designer Mary McDonald, feel less like a hotel and more like a visit to a sprawling luxury residence. In line with the aesthetic throughout the rest of the hotel, my room's elegantly neutral color palette of taupe, cream, and chocolate brown was offset by comfortable and contemporary custom furniture, seaside-inspired artwork and décor, soft linens and window treatments, down feather comforter and an assortment of posh pillows. Just walking the calming space made me decompress and check any latent travel stress at the door.
Each room at this boutique-style hotel has special touches like pre-moistened Cooling Cucumber Eye Pads to soothe tired eyes and other creature comforts like designer toiletries and a cozy signature cotton bathrobe and slippers. Other notable features of each room include flat-screen televisions, dual-line telephones, voicemail, complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, in-room safe, on-demand movies and games, iPod docking station, hair dryer, coffee maker, refrigerator, and iron and ironing board.
Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard offers 160 guest rooms and suites in all. The superior room spans 552 square feet and offers a king or two queens, whilst a deluxe room increases the size to 585 square feet and adds a wet bar.
The suites get even sweeter. There are four 615-square-foot Vista suites, which are tucked away on the spa level of the hotel for extra privacy. This suite has a king bed, huge bathroom with marble Jacuzzi tub, glass shower, and separate living area. I stayed in the hotel's Executive Junior suite, which is 672 square feet and comes with either a king bed or double beds, sitting area, desk, and an oversized bathroom with a Roman tub and separate shower enclosure.
But for the penultimate experience reserve the one-bedroom Luxe suite. This ample abode is 800 square feet and offers a king bed, separate living room, a refreshment area and wet bar, and huge bathroom with soaking tub, glass shower, and two sinks.
No matter your room choice, guests at large enjoy a bevy of other hotel amenities like a full-service concierge, in-room dining, business services, cell phone and vehicle rental, valet service, dry cleaning, twice daily maid service, 24-hour room service, safety deposit box, on-call doctor, personal drivers with Lincoln Town Cars and Limousines, and shuttle service to the world-famous Getty Center, which is mere minutes away.
If you can bear to leave your relaxing room, head over for some cocktails and chow at the on-site Luxe Lounge and OnSunset Restaurant. The Luxe Lounge is a chic indoor/outdoor spot perfect for enjoying a vacation libation, whether a specialty concoction like the blood-orange and pomegranate martini or one of the many boutique wines and beers served. Small plates and appetizers perfectly complement the drinks, with such tasty morsels as signature pizzas, Truffle Pomme Frites, Kobe Beef Mini-Burgers, Mini-Ahi Tuna Burgers, and Artisan-Made Fresh Bread. Stop by on Thursday evenings to eat, drink and make merry amid live Jazz.
Executive Chef Olivier Rousselle commands the hotel's OnSunset Restaurant, which delivers sumptuous California-French cuisine for lunch and dinner daily, as well as an elegant Jazz Brunch on Sunday I was sure not to miss. The eatery's ingredients are fresh and locally sourced and serve as the basis for its transitional seasonal menu. Healthy lunch fare abounds, with a wide range of entrée salads like Grilled Tiger Prawns, Natural Scottish Salmon, Grilled Ahi Tuna, Grilled Rib-Eye and Moroccan Seared Halibut. Sandwiches and elegant eats like Kobe Beef Tacos and Pan-Fried Sand Dabs round out the menu.
Dinner at OnSunset Restaurant also offers an array of seafood and salads to start, followed by menu highlights like Lobster Open Ravioli with asparagus tips, shitake mushrooms and Thermidor sauce; Veal Stufato with Porcini served with mashed potatoes and baby vegetables; Braised Short Ribs Risotto; and Nori-Wrapped Ahi Tuna with ginger-carrot puree, sesame spinach, and sake jus.
For those guests who prefer to dine alfresco amid a tranquil garden setting, the hotel's Patio also offers fresh California cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or, feel free to imbibe and ingest poolside.
If your notion of R&R means getting out and about, Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard duly delivers. Hotel architecture is an open-air design throughout, which duly draws guests outdoors at every turn. In addition to the eateries, on-site amenities include an outdoor heated pool and tennis court with option for private or group lessons with a former touring professional.
For those who like to work out, Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi classes are available along with a room full of cardiovascular and weight-training equipment. Guests can also enjoy golf at nearby facilities or watch a spirited game of polo with picnic lunch at Will Rogers State Park.
The Luxe Spa is a 1,000 square foot, full-service retreat unto itself that provides guests with numerous ways to be pampered. Amid a Zen den ambiance, spa staff transports guests into a world of tranquility with an array of revitalizing facial, beauty, and body treatments. Hot Oil Head and Neck massages, Green Peel facials, and Lymphatic Massages are among the specialty offerings. Even four-legged guests can receive a doggie massage! Dogs that are less than fifty pounds are, in fact, welcomed hotel guests.
If you prefer, soak in the SoCal air by having your spa treatment poolside. An outdoor spa patio is another relaxing locale for lounging. Spa parties and corporate wellness services can also be arranged for specific events.
Events and meetings arrangements are offered at the Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard for 20 to 350 people, with various spaces available like a ballroom, boardrooms, conference rooms, banquet rooms and an outdoor terrace. An expert banquet and catering staff is on hand to plan the perfect event, whether a wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, birthday, or corporate retreat.
In all, Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard proved itself to be a worthy destination offering distinctive style with an intimate and personalized experience punctuated with impeccable customer service. Learn more at LuxeSunset.com.
Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.