You’re not there when your plane touches down on the tarmac. You’re not there when you drag your suitcase through LAX. You’re still not there when you drive through Los Angeles — but, cruising down the palm-tree lined roads, you can feel that you’re getting close.
Only when the tires of your Uber roll to a stop, you push open your door and soak in the first few rays of California sunshine have you fully arrived in West Hollywood. Immediately shedding stress, woes and responsibilities like you’d slip out of a pair of jeans after a long day, you’re gifted a new identity on your first breath of warm West Hollywood air. You’re not a tourist, hair frizzy from the five-hour flight and humidity — you’re a celebrity, shooing away paparazzi from behind gleaming aviator sunglasses, just like everyone else in this magical place.
West Hollywood, a petite five square kilometres, crams an incredible amount of luxury and spunk into walkable neighbourhoods. The streets themselves, seemingly sculpted by the sheer weight of the rock 'n’ roll and Hollywood history they’ve witnessed, slope and curve around the city, eventually leading up to West Hollywood’s crown jewel: the legendary Sunset Strip, a section of Sunset Boulevard that knows it’s the sun-glazed centre of the world. West Hollywood is famously frequented by Hollywood royalty, make sure you keep your head on a swivel — you’re bound to spot someone famous walking down the street.
Every inch of West Hollywood is packed with immaculately decorated restaurants that serve world-class food with flair, gaudy nightlife destinations with walls that whisper countless untold stories about Hollywood’s biggest names, and dazzlingly maximalist boutique hotels. Feast on sophisticated global cuisine at Wolfgang Puck’s Merois, soak in the spectacular Los Angeles skyline sunset between sips of a mezcal cocktail atop 1 Hotel West Hollywood, then add your laughter to roars emitted by boisterous crowds at the Comedy Store.
You’re not ready to go back to the hotel yet, are you? The night is young, the city is buzzing, there’s magic in the air — and there’s always another party. Forget your worries and prepare to slip away into a hazy California dream in West Hollywood.
West Hollywood: Where to eat and drink
A bright, airy vegan oasis, dining at Gracias Madre feels like a vacation in and of itself. The sun’s rays have a platinum tint as they bounce off the eggshell white ceilings and walls, and the forks of patrons eager to dig into the Mexican cuisine. The patio, though, is the real star — surrounded by greenery, you’ll feel as though West Hollywood has melted away, and you’re dining in a secretive, sun-bathed jungle restaurant. On the menu, we recommend the Taco Trio: You’ll experience the mushroom chicharon, jackfruit carnitas, and coliflor al pastor tacos all in one go.
Santa Monica Boulevard connects several world-class restaurants on its legendary route, and a standout is Norah, a contemporary American eatery lined with eclectic decor and punctuated by two lush open-air patios. Wood-fired pizzas, with the perfect amount of char, are the star of the show — you can still smell remnants of the flames on standouts like the prosciutto cotto, which comes topped with smoked ham and pickled chilis.
The Butcher, The Baker & The Cappuccino Maker
Looking to cure that groggy morning hangover with some bright and bubbly mimosas? Trot down Sunset Boulevard to the gleaming The Butcher, The Baker & The Cappuccino Maker, a restaurant that serves elevated brunch with European influences. Pull out your camera as you mix your own mimosa flavourings, and order one of their signature lattes for some of the most beautiful colourburst drink art we’ve ever laid our eyes on.
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Petit Ermitage, a whimsical boutique hotel packed with an eclectic collection of peculiar art, offers one of the best rooftops in the city. Imbibe creative craft cocktails in a lush butterfly garden, slip into the illuminated pool after a hearty meal, or grab a seat at the bar and keep an eye out for one of the seemingly belligerent paid actors, dressed in quirky attire, that circulate the hotel.
The West Hollywood EDITION
West Hollywood's luxurious hotels continue to impress our eyes and stomachs. Dine on Californian cuisine on The West Hollywood EDITION's lush terrace, Ardor, then zip up to the picturesque rooftop for a spectacular view of the sunset, sipping a concoction off their impressive tequila-and-mezcal-focused cocktail menu.
West Hollywood: Where to stay
A towering silver tree adorned with shimmering metal leaves greets you as you enter The Pendry West Hollywood, a hotel just off the Sunset Strip where decadence knows no bounds. Walking through the sleek and vibrant Martin Brudnizki interior feels like flicking through a carousel projector of immaculate modern design.
But The Pendry West Hollywood isn’t just razzle dazzle — it’s one of the best food destinations in a city full of food destinations. Renowned chef Wolfgang Puck owns two restaurants on the property: the Merois, a rooftop restaurant offering knockout international cuisine with a breathtaking vista of West Hollywood’s skyline, and Ospero, a more intimate trattoria tucked away from the vibrant chatter of The Pendry’s weekend crowds.
Take a relaxing dip in the rooftop pool, unwind with an endless list of treatments and massages at Spa Pendry, and top it all off with a handcrafted cocktail at the gold and gleaming lobby Bar Pendry. When you eventually make it back to your room, prepare for one of the best views in the world — enormous windows open up to a stunning view of West Hollywood, which will keep you transfixed until you eventually nod off, dreaming sweet California dreams.
West Hollywood: What to do
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but West Hollywood is the city where the party never stops. The Comedy Store, a legendary destination that has hosted the world’s biggest comedians, lures pedestrians off of Sunset Boulevard with its enchanting ruby-red entryway. Audiences belt out laughter from their seats as California’s funniest take the stage — and no phones are allowed, so make sure you soak in the experience while you can.
A bit further down Sunset Boulevard is The Viper Room, a nightclub and live music venue that crams an incredible amount of history (some of it tragic — it was the site of actor River Phoenix’s passing in 1993) into its pitch-black walls. You won’t find house beats here; it’s more a place to knock back beers handed hastily to you from behind the swarmed bar, rock out to whoever’s performing that night and let loose.
If you need a little rejuvenation after your glitzy night out, FaceGym — a health and beauty shop below 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard — offers face ‘workouts’ with high-energy kneading techniques and technology to tone your facial muscles. Frequented by big name celebrities, FaceGym is practically an essential part of the West Hollywood experience; You'll feel completely rejuvenated after a session.