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Five of the Best Hotel Lobbies in California

First impressions are everything. And when it comes to hotels, lobbies are your first real encounter with the property. The best examples immediately grab your attention, creating a foundation for the experience to come. 

From historical elements taking centre stage to newer, contemporary introductions, co-working spaces to tea lounges and architectural masterpieces.

We’re heading to California and checking in to one of these ultra-stylish lobbies that will leave you lusting for weeks after you return. 

Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara

An unexpected mix of California Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and stylish Moorish-themed interior designs created by celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard brings high style and excitement to Hotel Californian, which was one of the most anticipated openings of last year. Bullard’s Moorish-inspired décor includes bespoke furnishings and unique details gilded snake sconces and custom cocktail bars. Named one of the world’s top 100 interior designers by Architectural Digest, Bullard’s impressive portfolio includes work for Tommy Hilfiger to Kylie Jenner and Edward Norton. Hotel Website

The Lodge at Edgewood, South Lake Tahoe

The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, a modern chalet situated on prime lakefront property has been a bit of a game changer for the destination. It is home to 154 luxury rooms and suites— many with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. Walk into a bright and airy lobby with 38-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, where a limestone wall hand-carved with tree trunks meets a grand staircase and geometric chandeliers hang from the vaulted ceiling. Snuggle up in first-class accommodation including an in-room gas fireplace, relax on their terrace or enjoy the year-round lakefront heated pool and hot tub. The Lodge is designed to embrace the feeling of the Grand Lodges of the American West with a complete feeling of luxury. To help guests travel around the vicinity easily, the hotel offers an on-demand shuttle service using Mercedes-Benz vans. Hotel Website

Millennium Biltmore, Los Angeles

This is the home of Hollywood glamour, and the ongoing choice of celebrities, presidents, and dignitaries, as well as the backdrop for many movies and TV shows. A historic-cultural landmark in itself. Since it opening it has very much been a statement and an icon. The original lobby, now called the Rendezvous Court, reminds you of a Spanish cathedral. It’s three stories high with travertine walls and arches that intersect with a vaulted ceiling. Two bronze light fixtures imported from Italy hang from the ceiling, adorned with elaborate carvings everywhere you look, finished with paint that’s accented in 24-karat gold. It’s hard not to think of all the people who walked through this grand room and swept up its double staircase to reach the rest of the hotel. This kind of welcome makes you understand why the Biltmore was known as the “Host of the Coast.” Hotel Website 

Hotel Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica

Coastal Italy meets SoCal at Casa del Mar. Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Hotel Casa del Mar was once been a private beachside club since its opening in 1926. It has now opened up to the public, and designer Michael S. Smith decorated its new eatery, Terrazza Lounge, and rejuvenated its lobby with four striped cabana-style sitting areas. The lobby lounge is the most sought after place to unwind after a day in the California sunshine, buzzing with live musical entertainment seven nights a week, from Pop and Jazz to Bossa Nova and Soul. With the most picturesque setting in LA and enchanting amenities, Casa del Mar will remind you just what it’s like to live well again. Hotel Website

SLS Beverly Hills

In a collaboration between designer Philippe Starck, retailer Murray Moss, fashion designer Pascal Humbert and chef José Andrés, the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills was born. The Bazaar at SLS at Beverly Hills features a “shop without walls” retail concept with Moss, a renowned New York City-based design trailblazer. You’ll find products reminiscent of items found in the grand hotels of Europe from the 18th and 19th century displayed in a series of free-standing glass vitrines. And a signature of SLS is José Andrés’ The Bazaar restaurant, a fête extraordinaire,  serving cocktails that bellow with smoke to inventive tapas. Hotel Website

Fancy some poolside in LA? Check out our guide to the best pools in Los Angeles

Know a few other hotel lobbies you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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