Heads on Beds: Sofitel, Los Angeles

After a complete transformation, the Sofitel LA is a very cool place to stay
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The Independent Travel

Sofitel cool? Yes in the case of the Sofitel in LA, as its known locally, the first of selected existing Sofitel hotels to be rebranded and refurbished into stylish, lifestyle properties. The result is a triumph.

Dating from 1989, the rather dull original Sofitel underwent a complete transformation and redesign, with gorgeous new guest rooms by Cheryl Rowley and dramatic public spaces by Yabu Pushelberg.

Sofitel LA relaunched in various stages but was finally completed in 2007. The refresh included the addition of Simon LA, the signature restaurant by Kerry Simon and the Stone Rose lounge bar by Rande Gerber (hip hubby of Cindy Crawford), now one of Tinseltown’s hottest hangouts with queues of C-listers and wannabes snaking round the block, anxiously waiting to glide by the velvet rope, eager to sample the bar’s lethal bespoke cocktails.

Don’t worry though, if you don’t feel like you’d cut it past the door police, hotel guests have guaranteed admission through a separate entrance from the hotel lobby. So when you stay here on business and want a bit of cool cred, you can lig it here with the best of Hollywood’s highlife.

Sofitel LA reeks of contemporary film-star chic. Huge art installations are a feature of the cavernous lobby, the plush warm ambience of Stone Rose and the live DJ beats ensure “new best friends” are made within a matter of minutes. The later it gets, the louder the beats, but the pulsing base and outdoor chilling Zen garden where posers love to scream and smirt (smoking and flirting) are a long way from the peace and quiet of the bedrooms.

Track it down

Its location, on the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood means that the hotel has plus points and minuses. The plus points are that it is in the centre of sprawling LA, so not too far from the luxe of Beverly Hills and westwards to Santa Monica yet close to the more cutting-edge trend of Sunset in Hollywood and a stone’s throw from the design stores on West 3rd Street and The Grove mall. It is also a short taxi ride to the financial district if your business takes your there.

The downsides? Well, there is only one really and that is the Beverly Centre. The hotel is situated opposite the vast concrete mall’s back wall (think London’s Brent Cross with knobs on). Sit by the hotel’s (relatively small) outdoor pool to soak up some Californian rays, and you are directly facing it. But at least that’s shopping on tap: it houses high-street honeys such as H&M and Banana Republic to leading brands Dior, Louis Vuitton, Just Cavalli and Traffic, an interesting indie boutique with one-off pieces favoured by Justin Timberlake, Keith Urban and everyone on American Idol.

Check-in check

It’s a breeze, like everything in this make-believe town. A team of reception staff are on hand 24 hours to meet and greet, and there is never “a line” if you are looking for an express check out.

Room to manoeuvre

There are 295 rooms, including 28 junior suites, 118 deluxe kings and 149 superior rooms (doubles and kings). Standard superior rooms have large work desks, glass-wall tiled bathrooms stuffed with Roger & Gallet toiletries and powerful rainfall showers. On the upper floors, the sizeable suites with their huge terraces are to die for. Small wonder that they are favoured by “the industry” (the movie business), for celebrity TV interviews during the Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar ceremonies.

Get connected

All rooms have high-definition LCD flat panel 32-inch TVs, high-speed LAN internet and T-Mobile HotSpots, three two-line phones (a bonus when juggling work calls) and one cordless phone.

Fitness regime

So Fit is a vast 2,500sq ft, state-of-the-art gym one of the largest in the city. It is filled with natural light (a rarity in city fitness centres) and a team of personal trainers is on hand to devise individual fitness regimes for guests.

Raid the minibar

All the usual leading alcoholic labels along with sodas and mixers, a range of mineral waters, crisps (or chips as they call them Stateside), peanuts, pretzels and m&m chocolates.

Breakfast news

In-room breakfast with a choice of Simon Continental for $16 or Simon American with a choice of eggs for $19. Alternatively, get dressed and go down to SimonLA to see Hollywood’s finest conducting breakfast meetings with a full a la carte menu to fuel their feigning and fawning.

Rack rates

From $315 to $1,190

The address

Sofitel LA, 8555 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California (00 1 310 278 5444; sofitelLA.com).

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