I’d never visited Los Angeles before this week. After 17 hours in the air, a turbulent Auckland-Los Angeles leg and with the jetlag still in that quiet moment before your body realises everything is wrong, I was ready for a moment of quiet. Thankfully, quiet is exactly what the Hotel Palomar in Beverly Hills gave me.
The subject of a recent, large-scale renovation, the Palomar Beverly Hills (owned by boutique hotel company Kimpton, themselves a subsidiary of Intercontinental Hotels) exudes the kind of effortless cool associated with its prestigious zip code.
The story the Palomar is trying to tell with its interior design is one of film history. Being a Los Angeles hotel, perhaps this will come across as a little on the nose for locals but for an out-of-towner like me, it played into the city’s mystique, still fully engaged in my mind. There are little details that recall the golden age of Hollywood all throughout the building from the art on the walls to the colour pallette to the very decor itself.
My room was a Premier Spa Suite toward the upper floors and looked out over Wilshire Bvd. A spacious, three-room affair, this suite is kind of room you want to secure for an extended stay. The living area is quite comfortable with a large sofa and even larger TV, and there’s a small dining area right next to it with a loaded snack bar and mini fridge. The bedroom features another gargantuan television by the door as you enter, a massive king size bed and a comfortable reclining lounge. Connected to the bedroom is the expansive bathroom, replete with giant bathtub for two, shower and dual-basin vanity. A small closet is attached to one wall of the bathroom, filled with conveniences like irons and ironing boards. It is extremely plush, the sort of room that makes you very, almost reflexively, aware of your own middle class upbringing.
About an hour after my arrival, I had a brief meeting and tour of the hotel and facilities with property manager Ed Virtue, a name that seems tailor made for a city like Los Angeles. Ed’s a practised communicator, befriending me immediately and making my rapidly deteriorating self feel like I’ve come home rather than to an entirely new city on the other side of the planet. He explains the thinking behind almost every design decision made in the hotel and insists that I come down for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and bar, Double Take. A recent arrival in Los Angeles himself, Ed offers numerous tips for survival in the city as well as clarifying a few terms that I’ll need to know for later (honestly, Los Angeles, marine layer? That’s smog and you all know it, c’mon).
The hotel’s facilities are as upmarket as my room. A sprawling gym, a gorgeous pool area (empty at the time — despite being the beginning of the American summer, the weather on the day I arrived was 19 degrees C and overcast, a yearly occurrence Ed tells me the locals refer to as June Gloom), and meeting areas built with media junkets in mind, a must for any Los Angeles hotel looking to court the Hollywood marketing machine.
Double Take, the Palomar’s aforementioned restaurant, is a gorgeous social space built to resemble a Hollywood backlot. There are tables for dining, lounges for relaxing, large screens, stages and dancefloors and they’ve got skeeball and a shuffleboard table. The menu and cocktails all look delicious but I wasn’t actually able to try anything and here’s why.
Right after my tour with Ed, about 4pm, I went back up to my room to start working on a few preliminaries for this very review. Tired as I was and entering what must have been my thirty second hour of consciousness, I lay down on the bed for a moment. I woke up at 12am. The jet lag had found me. Naturally, I place the blame for this abrupt blackout entirely on the room’s very comfortable king size bed. A better place to rest my head after a long flight it’s hard to imagine. If only my body clock had been co-operating.
The author was provided with a complimentary one-night stay at Hotel Palomar Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. For room rates and booking, click here.