advertisement

The Biltmore is one of those hotels that's worth a visit even if you're not staying here. Built in 1923 and encompassing almost an entire square block, this Italian-Spanish Renaissance landmark is the grande dame of L.A.'s hotels. Chances are you've seen it in many movies, including The Wedding Crashers, Chinatown, Ghostbusters, Bugsy, Beverly Hills Cop, and Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born. The hotel lobby—J.F.K.'s campaign headquarters during the 1960 Democratic National Convention— appeared upside-down in The Poseidon Adventure. The "wow" factor definitely ends when you enter the guest rooms, however, which are a little on the small side (common for older hotels) and aren't quite as eye-popping as the public spaces. Basically, you're paying for that historic lobby. Bathrooms are on the small side as well, but peach-toned marble adds a luxurious edge. A range of dining and cocktail outlets includes the stunning, old-fashioned Gallery Bar. Afternoon tea and cocktails are served in the palatial Rendezvous Court, which used to be the hotel's original lobby and resembles the interior of a Spanish cathedral, complete with a Moorish ceiling of carved beams and an altarlike baroque doorway. Spend the few bucks to appreciate the Art Deco health club, with its gorgeous Roman-style pool.