Last week I had a mini-break to LA in the middle of my holiday to San Francisco. When I say LA, what I really mean is Sunset Boulevard as I divided pretty much all of my time between The Standard, where I was staying, and Chateau Marmont.
If you want to stay in a basic, reasonably priced hotel, where the valet boys look like they’re straight out of 90210 and where there is a model sleeping in a giant fish tank behind reception, then The Standard is for you.
I can only really describe this hotel as a funky Travelodge. The design is hip, quirky and has more than a nod to the 1960s and 1970s. The restaurant is great and switches from a Californian beach-style diner by day to a dusky, atmospheric restaurant by night by the clever use of lighting. The food is very good and the cocktails even better. The rooms are basic and cheaply but cheerfully furnished and the beds are surprisingly cosy. The unrenovated corridors however are dark, fusty and inexplicably smell of hamster cages and the sound-proofing is atrocious. The hotel has an air of all the money having been spent on the visible bits but in some ways this adds to its quirkiness and authenticity. This is a party hotel and is full of bright young things so don’t stay there if you can’t sleep through a bit of noise outside your room.
If you want somewhere more sophisticated and elegant where you can relax in a beautiful cloistered garden and drink wine to the sound of crickets and watch celebrities flit about, then you’ll love Chateau Marmont. One of the most famous and notorious hotels in LA, it has a ridiculously star-studded 85 year history. Stars as diverse as Vivien Leigh and Lindsey Lohan have stayed there and countless other stars have got into trouble or had assignations within its walls. It is even the star of Sofia Ford Coppola’s 2010 film ‘Somewhere’.
Despite this, it is surprisingly unpretentious and doesn’t feel like the huge celebrity flypaper that it is and it’s very easy to imagine you actually are in a chateau in France. There are all the classic hallmarks of chateau chic here: flagstone floors, tapestry-upholstered turned wood chairs and a topiary-filled secluded courtyard garden. This place is so chic it even has chandeliers in the garage, which in true chateau style resembles a cool, dark wine cellar. I have only been here for drinks and lunch and so sadly can’t comment on the rooms or the famous bungalows but the courtyard garden is a lovely oasis in the midst of the relentless LA urban concrete sprawl and in the evening has a wonderfully romantic atmosphere. It is open to all, has no dress code, serves bar food that is not too-excessively priced and is of course great for celeb spotting.