As I get older, I prefer a more unique hotel stay, one that feels like it might be my own home or villa. Now with AirBnb and Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., enjoying a luxurious uncommon property is totally possible. Recently, I learned of Leading Hotels of the World (LHW.com), a category of independent, boutique hotels many family owned that can create tailored, special experiences for their guests with a local touch. Offering various styles of architecture and design and immersive cultural adventures, there are more than 375 member properties in more than 75 countries. In our favorite City of Dreams, Los Angeles boasts four hotels which carry this badge of high quality and distinction.
Malibu Beach Inn
The 47 guest rooms at Malibu Beach Inn offer expansive Pacific Ocean views. Located on the sands of Carbon Beach known as “Billionaire Beach,” each room makes you feel like you are living on a boat with the Malibu Pier off to the right. Serenity takes over as ocean waves lull you to sleep and tea can be sipped on your private balcony. Enjoy dinner under the stars at Carbon Beach Club, their indoor outdoor restaurant where Chef Cody Dickey uses fresh locally sourced ingredients from nearby One Gun Ranch and resident farmers’ markets.
Noteworthy: Soft Italian linens not only keep you warm at night, but fireplaces in most rooms turn on with a switch, perfect for chilly California nights. A private art collection decorates the entire hotel and a mini pamphlet in the foyer describes each significant piece.
New: Toto toilets keep your bottom warm and offer a myriad of sprays and positions for your bathroom pleasure. The advanced ALICE communication system allows guests to text the Malibu Beach Inn team at their leisure. A recent remodel includes a clean, sleek, minimalist Scandinavian bleached wood design thanks to designer Waldo Fernandez.
Don’t miss: Complimentary morning yoga on the beach and a day lounging on the privately owned shore with exclusive beach service for anything your heart desires. We recommend the fish tacos and a cocktail from their award winning barman.
Shutters on the Beach
The hotel directly on the beach in Santa Monica has a very east coast feel with its white shutters and New England home-y rooms with hardwood floors, cashmere throws, built-in entertainment centers and shelves stocked with books. The laid-back California elegance is enhanced with art from Hockney, Lichtenstein, and Motherwell. Our petite balcony on a side street welcomed beach breezes, a sunset glow, and was the ideal place for a quiet breakfast.
Noteworthy: The beach and strand are steps from the hotel. Take yoga on the beach, try surf lessons, or rent bicycles to cruise next to the sand. For those interested in pure relaxation, lounge by the pool or under an umbrella in view of the broad beach, or book a spa appointment at Shutter’s ONE spa with treatments using Kerstin Florian products.
New: Recently, the hotel launched ‘Beyond the Beach Adventures’ to enhance the hotel guest experience. Activities include exploring street art in Venice, cruising in a classic luxury car, touring the LA contemporary scene with an an expert advisor, flying along the coast, and being mesmerized by a world renowned magician.
Don’t miss: The two stunning beachfront restaurants and lobby lounge with dreamy ocean views, comfy couches, fireplaces, and live entertainment that always seem to be buzzing with tourists and locals.
Casa Del Mar
Just a short hop from Shutters and also situated on the sand but tucked away from the boardwalk, Casa Del Mar offers old world elegance inspired by the grand villas of the Mediterranean. Once an exclusive beach club in the 1920’s, the exquisite restored hotel offers 113 guestrooms and 16 newly renovated suites. Spend time de-stressing at the fifth floor pool deck oceanside sipping cocktails til golden hour.
Noteworthy: Seven nights a week enjoy live music in the stunning high vaulted lobby lounge, from Flamenco and Jazz to Bossa Nova to Soul.
New: Savor a sunset with sushi or tapas. Sushi Happy Hour at Catch occurs daily at sunset from 5:00 – 7:00 pm with a special menu of sushi, sashimi, and rolls like Crispy King Crab and Lobster Mango paired with sake, Japanese whiskey, or draft beers. Every Wednesday night Chef Gemma Gray turns scenic Terrazza into a true tapas bar experience like you would find in Spain.
Don’t miss: Savor a glass of champagne as you watch the sunset dip into the ocean from their grand foyer with panoramic ocean views. The Terrazza Lounge and Catch Restaurant with dramatic windows and a soaring ceiling feature farmer’s market ingredients and hand crafted cocktails.
Mr. C Beverly Hills
A recent member of Leading Hotels of the World, find the proud member sign as you enter Mr. C’s on the building as well as displayed on your room key. In a prime Beverly Hills location close to Rodeo Drive, the hotel offers comfortability and elegant old world glam. Rooms come with private balconies, many with panoramic views of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. The ultimate afternoon here include drinks and lunch poolside. Savor the new mandarin-based Mr. C cocktail and order authentic Italian cuisine by fourth generation Cipriani.
Noteworthy: The 12th floor Starlight Ballroom event space has panoramic views from the Hollywood Hills to the lights of Downtown to the beaches of Santa Monica. Four story residences can now be purchased starting at four million.
New: A Monthly Rooftop Cigar Lounge Series will debut this winter at the pool deck and their popular fall Poolside Cinema Series will continue complete with blankets, popcorn, and bites.
Don’t miss: The welcome Bellini, invented by Mr. C himself. If you choose to leave the property, a house car is available for a three-mile radius of the hotel. Live music is offered in the lounge and is a pleasurable way to start or end the evening, especially after dining at the restaurant at Mr. C’s on classic Cipriani Italian dishes dating back to 1931.
A fifth hotel will join this impressive group in LA this fall, Hotel Figueroa.