Get the best of CF straight to your inbox.

Subscribe, sit back, and let your mind travel.

Where To Next?

West Hollywood: California's Slick, Storied Playground

Beneath LA’s fabled hills and bordering Beverly Hills, the sleek yet storied city of West Hollywood ­– 40 years old this year – has a unique creative allure and dazzle all its own.

Long associated with LGBTQ culture, it’s also well known for its old-Hollywood history, palm-lined Sunset Strip, hedonistic nightspots and gleaming views. Sprinkle it with a few new high-end hotels and restaurants, throw in a progressive spa scene and cutting-edge design district, and We-Ho becomes one of the most enticing hoods within the LA city limits. Easily walkable, too, and close to all the big-hitting sites, it also doubles as the perfect base for your time in the City of Angels.


1 Hotel West Hollywood

Image Credit: 1 Hotel West Hollywood

Descending the 1 Hotel West Hollywood’s wide polished concrete stairs, lined with lanterns and potted plants, into the cavernous, lair-like lobby, feels a world away from the Sunset Strip on which it perches. It’s an eco-friendly haven draped in foliage and scattered with cream sofas, that doubles as Juniper Lounge. Coolers of iced lemon water on tap and bowls of fresh oranges, pears, and dates, keep guests refreshed. Spacious rooms with the same eco-aesthetic occupy two towers – East and West – that flank a calming central patio hung with string lights and decked out with wicker and wood furniture on patterned rugs. Come the afternoon, a small rooftop pool is a suntrap. For quick local trips, the electric house car is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The in-house Bamford spa is next level.


The Sunset Tower

This old Hollywood institution started life in 1929 as a well-heeled apartment building, home to legends like Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and Frank Sinatra. Since 2004, it’s been a place where film industry execs make deals and celebrities take refuge. Sightings are guaranteed in the Tower Bar, a lighthouse for those who seek to soak up that old Hollywood feel. Each of the 81 rooms and suites, there are 12 different types (from moderate queen up to the penthouse), has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the city. An elegant palette of neutrals, rosewood, and brass give the rooms an Old World feel. A little bag of fresh-baked chocolate chip biscuits is left on your nightstand at turndown. The Terrace restaurant has poolside tables, a nice spot for breakfast, or aperitif.


Just outside the border of West Hollywood, this playfully cool boutique hotel has a prime location on cool West Third Street, lined with independent cafes, shops, bars and restaurants. The Original Farmers’ Market with its food outlets is a stroll away, as well as two shopping centres – the famous outdoor fountain-filled Grove in one direction and the indoor Beverly Centre in another. The most spacious rooms are studios with kitchens. A few rooms with balconies, too. There’s a tiny outdoor pool complete with loungers, and a library, a gym, a restaurant with a bar and a pretty front terrace.



One of the newest restaurants to pop up on Santa Monica Boulevard, is simple, sleek and spacious Uchi, an inventive sushi bar that originated in Texas. Here, James Beard award-winning chef, Tyson Cole, sources seasonal ingredients from local farmers markets and Tokyo to create a changing menu of around 30 dishes. An extensive sushi list (think: nigiri, sashimi and rolls), features alongside options like agemono (fried dishes like tempura), and yakimono (hot dishes like yakitori and gyoza). The adventurous – and indecisive – should go for the omakase menu: a meal of dishes selected by the chef. Unlike so many sushi restaurants, the vegetarian options here are wide and exciting. Recommendations from the friendly uniformed staff are always on point. Drinks-wise, a good choice of sake is available too as well as cocktails like the Subarashi, a Japanese twist on a margarita with lots of hibiscus-lime agave.

Casa Madera

Hiding in the stark Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip is Casa Madera. It’s a new haunt that ushers in immersive dining with Tulum vibes to West Hollywood’s restaurant scene. The earthed-toned space is drenched in natural light from the glass roof and huge arched windows. Mediterranean dishes with a Mayan twist fill a seasonal and changing menu. Think: burrata, with fresh black truffle and honeycomb, ceviche blanco and prime rib cap, with red wine jus and triple inferno salt. Order a Playa Paraiso cocktail – infused with ‘eucalyptus air’ – a chill mix of dry ice and eucalyptus oil. Come 7pm, the lights dim, and the energy increases when musicians in white drift through the airy space strumming electric lutes and violins. The best seats in the house overlook the dazzling LA view.


©Jakob Layman

©Jakob Layman

Taking pride of place on sleek Beverly Boulevard in the heart of the West Hollywood Design District (see below) is the hot new restaurant Stella. It’s been luring the crowds since it opened in April, including A-list guests like Jennifer Aniston. Nostalgic Italy is the theme, with a playlist to match that takes a Studio 54-style disco turn as the night goes on. Simple home-cooked Italian dishes are filling, made for sharing and full on flavour. Salads come heaped and drenched in herby dressings, and pizzas are rectangular and served on boards with scissors. The funky space is divided in two, and each side has a different vibe. One is bright, lively and home to a cocktail bar and booth tables; the other is low-lit, more peaceful and decadent.

Where To Shop

Bottega Louie

This bright, high-ceilinged French cafe bar on Santa Monica Boulevard is a stylish place for a pitstop, but also stocks a tempting selection of foodie gifts. The sight of kaleidoscopic neat rows of macarons, in all colours from red to pink to green to blue, filling a giant glass case will lure you in. Not to mention stacks of beignets (donuts), croissants in all shapes including cubes – and flavours – strawberry and chocolate. Elsewhere, pretty tubs of speckled chocolate eggs in peach, pink, and yellow, and bags of dainty mini meringues, fill shelves next to a display of artful patisserie, like perfectly round limoncello tarts and glossy chocolate-covered eclairs.

The West Hollywood Design District

Pacific Design Center

Pacific Design Center

South of Santa Monica Boulevard, bordered by Doheny Drive, Beverly Boulevard, and La Cienega Boulevard, is the well-groomed We-Ho Design District. It’s the city’s hub of art, fashion and style, anchored by the Pacific Design Centre on Melrose Avenue, an unmissable red modernist building. It’s a luxe collection of 200 art galleries, antique shops, fashion boutiques and interior design shops. Many showrooms are only open by appointment, while the 40-plus restaurants in the area will keep you refreshed while you browse.

What To Do

Hit The Streets

At just 1.9 square miles, West Hollywood is easy to discover on foot. For an edgy evening stroll, join fast-walking local, John Damico, on one of his legendary Rock ‘n Walk Tours around the Sunset Strip’s storied haunts, like the Whisky A Gogo, the Viper Room, and the Sunset Marquis. Architecture fans will love these self-guided walking tours. They take in spots with an old Hollywood feel, like the French chateau-style buildings in the Harper Avenue area. The most famous in this style is the five-star celebrity-favourite, Chateau Marmont, just outside the We-Ho boundary.

Dip Into The Spa Scene

Bamford Spa, 1 Hotel West Hollywood. Image Credit: 1 Hotel West Hollywood

Bamford Spa, 1 Hotel West Hollywood. Image Credit: 1 Hotel West Hollywood

Alongside storied haunts and high-end design, West Hollywood is the setting for celebrity favourite spas, many of them located in the city’s five-star hotels. One of the latest is the Bamford Wellness Spa at 1 Hotel, founded by Brit, Carole Bamford. It uses natural sustainable products throughout all its red-carpet-ready range of spa treatments like the B Silent Ritual designed to send you into a deep sleep, featuring a foot-bathing ritual followed by a Japanese Shiatsu rocking technique, back massage and a temple balm and Indian head massage. Other hotels with high-end spas include the West Hollywood Edition, the Sunset Marquis and The Pendry.

Head For The Hills

You can’t come to West Hollywood, without venturing into the nearby hills for a peek at the world-famous Hollywood sign, which celebrated its 150th birthday in 2023. Originally the Hollywoodland sign, it was put up in 1923 as a temporary advert for housing development but was left up and shortened in 1949. One of the most popular spots for taking it in is the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, free to visit, and a 10-minute taxi ride from West Hollywood. For a closer look, the Bikes and Hikes guided Hollywood sign tour takes visitors in front and behind the sign. The sunset tour is especially atmospheric.

Lead image credit: 1 Hotel West Hollywood

We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site.

What to Pack

You May Also Like

Any Questions or Tips to add?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What to Pack?