Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Sofitel Beverly Hills

21 May 2008 by Tom Otley

WHAT'S IT LIKE? A modern five-star hotel, which opened in 1989 and was renovated in 2006 at a cost of US$40 million, most of which is immediately obvious to the eye. It is a stylish place, more European than many LA hotels at this level because of the Accor management of the Sofitel brand, and with a confidence in its offering that is reassuring from the moment you check in.

WHERE IS IT? Opposite the Beverly Centre, near West Hollywood on the junction of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 295 (including 28 suites) in a range of categories from SoFab Superior (35 sqm) to SoSuite Fab (79 sqm).

ROOM FACILITIES The entry-level Superior room has a good-sized Sofitel signature My Bed, tea and coffee-making facilities, a large flatscreen TV, iron and ironing board, as well as high-speed wifi for US$9.95. Rooms look out onto the surrounding streets, and sound-proofing is good, particularly important since Beverly Boulevard is a busy road (at the front) and at the back there’s a school. I found the lighting controls difficult, particularly getting the room bright enough for unpacking and completely dark last thing at night. The mirror in the bathroom also acts as a window from the bedroom, although this can be turned off with a switch, which seems a baffling innovation. There’s a hand-held shower and a rain shower, which wasn’t particularly powerful.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The Stone Rose Lounge, a stylish and dimly lit bar designed by Yabu Pushelberg, has an indoor lounge with VIP room and outdoor seating areas. The restaurant is Simon LA, named after head chef Kerry Simon, and showcases modern American comfort food (something of a fashion at the moment – perhaps when things turn bad economically we need apple pie reassurance). It has both indoor dining with two private-dining areas, and outdoor dining with "lush foliage, water elements and fire pit".

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Located on the second floor, these include the ballroom, which accommodates 300 banquet-style, and two boardrooms.

LEISURE FACILITIES There is a 232-sqm So Fit gym on the ground floor, accessed rather strangely by exiting the elevators on the second floor and walking the length of the mezzanine floor, then down some stairs. On the way back it’s easier to exit the gym onto the street and come in through the front door of the hotel. There’s a small outdoor swimming pool and sun deck, although this looks up onto the concrete edifice that is the Beverly Centre.

VERDICT An excellent hotel. The design is mostly notable without being overbearing and the staff have a real warmth which you wouldn’t expect from such a stylish place.

PRICE From US$315 to US$1,190.

CONTACT 8555 Beverly Blvd; tel +1 310 278 5444, sofitella.com.

Report by Tom Otley

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