Mountains. Beaches. Canyons. Automobiles. Icons of this city collide at your feet as you take in the view from your room at the Hotel Angeleno, a cylindrical ivory tower of sorts, rising above the storied canyons of the Westside, its 360 degree views reminding you just how vast and impossible to understand this city really is.
As much as you enjoy Downtown L.A. and Hollywood, for you the real L.A. is the old L.A. that exists west of the 405 freeway from Bel-Air to the beach. Places that belong to Dennis Hopper, the Ferus gallery, Jim Morrison writing lyrics on Venice Beach, Less Than Zero trust fund babies, Faye Dunaway lounging by the pool post-Oscars, the Malibu Colony and Joan Didion’s lonely characters nibbling hardboiled eggs as they circle the 405 freeway, too rich to ever be happy. To you, that’s the essence of L.A., the strange paradise city where angels’ fortunes rise and fall daily, casual as the sun.
The 1970s brutalist design appeals to your fondness for iconic architecture, and you’re pleased that the property’s 2006 renovation by the Joie de Vivre group retained all the structure’s retro charm while bringing the interiors completely up to date. You enjoy details like circular room keys, which nod to the hotel’s charming motto “We Are NOT Square." The free wifi, free valet parking, and “skip the tip” no gratuity policy make things easier on your wallet, too.
The Getty Center is just minutes away. L.A.’s answer to Mount Olympus, its white pristine travertine structures, designed by architect Richard Meier, house one of the finest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities and classic paintings in America. You could wander its gardens forever - and you do - as you contemplate the unusual legacy of J. Paul Getty, stories so strange that Ridley Scott is directing a movie about one of them, All The Money in the World.
A trip to the beach is in order, so you stroll the quiet walkways of the Venice Canals, soaking up the only-in-California sights—kids on skateboards, tech entrepreneurs carrying surfboards, ingenue actresses rehearsing their lines while sitting by the water.
Back in your car, you wind along the Pacific Coast Highway, past the Santa Monica bluffs toward the Palisades, where you hop onto Sunset Boulevard, passing the spires and windmill of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, the gorgeous lake garden founded by followers of guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
As the sun starts to dip behind the palm trees, you race back to the Angeleno, where the breathtaking view from the 17th floor restaurant, WEST casts its timeless warmth on your skin. Beneath you, a silent procession of red tails lights stretches along the freeway toward the ocean, and Jim Morrison’s words—the west is the best…the west is the best—echo in your mind.
170 N Church Ln, Los Angeles 90049