Hotel review: The London West Hollywood

The London West Hollywood - rooftop pool, feature image
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We visit The London West Hollywood (WeHo) situated in the heart of Los Angeles’ West Hollywood neighbourhood to try out this 5-star hotel offering nearly 2 years later than planned. We paid for three night’s accommodation to explore what the The London West Hollywood offers a discerning LGBT traveller and to find out what’s changed in a post-Covid world.

The London West Hollywood

The London West Hollywood is one of a handful of elite group of top hotels in the West Hollywood area of greater Los Angeles, located just off Sunset Boulevard. The London offers all-suite accommodations, and one of the best rooftop pools in West Hollywood (accessible exclusively to hotel guests) with incredible views across the hills, West Hollywood and downtown LA. The hotel originally launched with two bulldogs in residence, Winston and Churchill, who brought to life the ‘London’ theme. Unfortunately (due to Covid) no longer residents at the hotel.

Accommodation

Arrival and check-in were very smooth, being seen immediately and offered a bottle of chilled water. As we’d booked via Virtuoso (the high-end travel agent network), we had the added benefit of hotel $100 credit, which was acknowledged, and a space-available upgrade, which unfortunately wasn’t provided on this occasion. Getting from lobby to the room is straight forward – whilst guests do need to navigate numerous corridors, the rooms are very well sign-posted.

We booked a Crown Suite (room 410), which is south-facing overlooking LA skyline. Given the view available from this room category, this is what we recommend to our readers for the sunrise and sunset views alone. The suite itself is an open floor plan featuring a king-sized bed set within a feature wood frame in the middle of the room, with a separate large marble desk, lounge area with sofas finished in bleached oak, chrome and embossed white leather, and dressing area with mirrored closets and vanity (behind the bed). There is also a kitchenette nook and of course a balcony for the views across LA. In short a well-considered design with a luxury feel. Our only issue was with the location of power sockets – there are plenty throughout the room, just none by the bed, which has become an expectation at hotels at every star level.

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The big surprise is the oversized bathroom with separate huge bath tub and double shower, room for up to 4 guys in there at once. The finish of the bathroom shouts Hollywood elegance, but there was minor maintenance that could have been easily fixed – grouting that needed replacing around some of the shower and taps. There is no natural light in the bathrooms, but The London has carefully designed lighting to offset that entirely. Toiletries were provided in refill large bottles (reduced plastic usage than from throw-away small sizes) of American brand C.O. Bigelot, the sweet and sublime lime and coriander scents – in short, shower time was an absolute pleasure.

Food and drink

The main restaurant in The London West Hollywood is Boxwood, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and acts as the evening bar and restaurant. Split across three main rooms, the first (bar area) is styled on an orangery, with gorgeous marble tiling on the floor and curious Turkish-inspired lanterns. All in all, the Boxwood replicates design touches that guests would find at top bars and hotel breakfast rooms across the UK.

During our visit, federal and state laws required proof of vaccine to enter the bar and restaurant on every visit. The staff however did remember us, meaning that from day 2 onwards of our visit entry was a little quicker.

A complimentary breakfast is provided at the Boxwood restaurant for all hotel guests. This consists of generous portions to make one’s own smoked salmon bagel, fresh fruit, pastries and some pots of yoghurt and granola. For those wanting anything else (e.g. French toast, omelettes) these items are all available from an a-la-carte menu at additional cost. During our visit, we found breakfast to be very relaxed, not too busy and without too much fuss from staff, so very much like a weekend feel to the start of every day.

We dined at Boxwood one evening, but found the menu and service good but lacklustre. Staff service was casual at best, and a world away from the 5-star, professional, timely service we expected. The dishes we did order we were well presented, colourful, and flavourful; however ‘London’ or even ‘British’ inspired menu-choices seemed an after-thought on the menu design, so not aligning with the rest of the hotel brand. The fact that one item was called ‘English Toffee Pudding’ set off a red-flag and gave us no confidence that this would actually resemble a ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’ which is the UK dish we assume this was meant to be recreating. Cocktails from the bar on the other hand were creative, well presented and deliciously well-balanced in flavour.

The rooftop pool (see below) also offers food and drinks throughout the day and most evenings.

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Amenities

The London West Hollywood has all the amenities one would expect and need from a 5-star hotel in West Hollywood. Chief among these is the rooftop pool (included in our rooftop pool round-up article in early 2020), which is one of the best in West Hollywood, with views stretching out across the greater Los Angeles area and ideal to view sunset with a cocktail to hand. The rooftop pool is just long enough to do laps but really is better to dip into to cool down before returning to your lounger or cabana. Poolside service was relaxed and friendly, and the hotel do a great job of keeping the area regularly cleaned particularly during Covid-19. With the backdrop artwork of the bulldogs, this is a great pool for selfies and an afternoon hang-out before an evening at the very-close-by gay bars of Santa Monica Boulevard.

The hotel gym is spacious and has plenty of cardio machines, strength machine and attachments and a good range of free weights to get in a pumped workout. Our only point of note is that there is no squat rack (for a powerful leg/booty session) though Equinox is just round the corner for those needing a full service gym. Additionally the hotel can provide access to yoga classes.

There is additionally an on-site boutique store and hairdresser, nail and make-up service available for guests to help prepare for any night out.

The London West Hollywood also boasts a 110-seat screening room. We were disappointed to find out this is only available for private events and press screenings. We feel that having a complimentary weekly movie night free for guests to attend, would be an easy way for this 5-star hotel to go beyond just providing all the expected amenities to surprise and delight guests.

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Service

As previously mentioned reception staff provided a smooth check-in (and check-out) experience, helping breaking out receipts for our expenses without any fuss. Housekeeping was efficient and clearly organised in the background to be provided when staff noted we were out of rooms, rather than just at a randomly allocated time of day.

The concierge service was able to secure us short-notice next-day tickets to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), so clearly have a number of connections across the metropolitan area to be able to assist guests with whatever bookings they need. Additionally the valet team have a town-car (available daily from 3pm onwards), which provides a complimentary, first-come-first-served drop off service to any address within 2 miles. We found this particularly handy for dinner at nearby Olivetta restaurant.

Overall thoughts

The London West Hollywood remains a destination for the discerning LGBT traveler looking for an elevated level of hotel luxury within West Hollywood, providing a safe, relaxing oasis that also has many Instagramable spaces. The hotel is conveniently located a couple of minutes’ (walk or drive) from Micky’s and the other popular gay bars of Santa Monica Boulevard and shopping on Melrose Avenue.

The hotel ticks all the boxes for amenities for a five-star hotel and we would definitely stay again on our next visit to West Hollywood. However, since the departure of bulldogs Winston and Churchill, post-Covid The London West Hollywood has not yet found alternative means to surprise and delight guests, which could be for example through complementary regular film screenings, or a complimentary afternoon tea buffet in the Boxwood (following the ‘London’ theme).

Room rates start from $459 for an entry-level London Suite, though we recommend the Crown Suite (from $509 per night) for a couple wanting the panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline.

Address: 1020 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Website: thelondonwesthollywood.com

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.