Hotel Angeleno, Los Angeles
Where is it? The hotel towers over Los Angeles' notorious traffic at the crossroads of Bel-Air and Brentwood, where the 405 Freeway meets Sunset Boulevard. As a Holiday Inn in the 1970s, the circular structure was both icon and eyesore to the city's commuters. Brought into the 21st century by San Francisco's Joie de Vivre group, it had a thick steel and glass barrier added to keep the urban din from affecting the considerable poolside vibe.
Luxurious or basic? Any aura of low-brow budget has been thoroughly exorcised thanks to Italian 300-thread count sheets on plush pillow-top mattresses, hip fabrics, high ceilings and ergonomic chairs. The new interiors, by Jofusion, spell 'boutique residence'.
Who should visit? Anyone planning to spend time in the affluent neighbourhood of West LA will find the location ideal.
The surf's up in Santa Monica, 20 minutes westward, while Rodeo Drive, the country's most famous shopping strip, eagerly awaits your credit card 15 minutes further inland. There, you can make friends with Armani, Gucci, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Cartier and Tiffany. The hotel is also able to turn a business trip into a golden tanning opportunity thanks to comfortable couches lining a heated swimming pool.
What's on the menu? It doesn't revolve but the 17th-floor West Restaurant (above right) serves up an urban panorama as awesome as the fresh Californian organic vegetables found in the field salad and as arresting as the 'bone-in' New York strip steak, which is one of the city's finest. Downstairs, a panini bar grills farmers' market goodies.
What else is there to do? Nobody walks in LA, so pimped-up Cadillac Esplanades are on call to chauffeur guests gratis to the Richard Meier-designed J. Paul Getty Centre, where a world-class collection of European art and American photography is on display; to the Geffen Playhouse, with its performances of classic and contemporary works; or into Westwood, where university co-eds line up for grub at In-N-Out Burger, a local institution.
What's the bottom line? Rooms are US$170 a night and suites cost US$320.
Hotel Angeleno is at 170 N. Church Lane, Los Angeles, tel: 1 310 476 6411.
For more information, visit www.hotelangeleno.com.