So, do you want your pool on the roof with great views across Beverly Hills or in a cute little courtyard with the bar right there? (Oh, the rooftop option has a bar right there as well. Clever!). That is just one of the tricky decisions you’re going to have to make when choosing the perfect Kimpton hotel (they’re all perfect, don’t make us choose!) in Los Angeles.
The Kimpton Hotel Wilshire on Miracle Mile is just up the road from the relatively newly opened Oscars collection at the Academy Museum and the extraordinary-looking Petersen Automotive Museum, but then Kimpton La Peer is literally five minutes from gay bars like The Abbey, The Chapel and the whole Santa Monica scene. So, what’s it going to be? Well, in our case – yes, maybe we have problems making decisions – it’s going to be both.
First up, the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, a smaller hotel – boutique, if you like – right on Wilshire (yes, where the Pretty Woman hotel is) but with all the friendly, family feel you get from a hotel that isn’t massive. Walk into the lobby, for instance, and it feels like you’re in a lounge. Well, you kind of are in a lounge, a beautifully designed one with modern lighting, a wall unit packed with books for you to flick through as you munch on the popcorn you can help yourself to willy-nilly. And coffee. And, if you come between four and five, free wines and beers. Mind you, you get that at Kimpton La Peer (in fact any Kimpton worldwide!) for that matter. Just one reason for our lifetime global loyalty.
The lobby and lounge area at La Peer may be bigger and the art extraordinary (the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire has a row of rooms with great street art, mind) and it may have a full-scale restaurant and a buzzy bar, but it would take a lot to beat the atmos up on the roof at the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire round sunset when the Margaritas are flowing in the shadow of a huge lit-up billboard, which makes it seem super urban, while people are still splashing in the pool.
As for eating, there’s a pop-up on that roof at the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, so you don’t even need to interrupt your sunbathing as the lights come on in the Hills, while at Kimpton La Peer, at Issima, their ‘Euro beach holiday’-inspired restaurant, the tables come out around that courtyard pool strung with lights or you can eat inside – everything from shrimp ceviche through Greek salads to full-scale New York strip steaks – among the long marble surfaces, parquet floors, jazzy ceiling tiles and pot plants.
And it’s up on the roof by the bar at the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire that you’ll find the penthouse suite, with outside space so you can throw your own cocktail party or catered dinner before chucking those guests out so you can have a go in your personal steam room. Or let them stay. Never ones to judge.
One thing both hotels have in common – apart from perhaps the friendliest hotel staff – is style. It’s either a suite at the Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, with its super-contemporary brass fittings, pale pink colour schemes, superstar modern chandeliers and maybe a sprig of green on the marble table big enough for six or by the bed… Or a room at La Peer, with a slightly more masculine palette of greys with incredible modern lighting and parquet floors, made homely with quirky Jeff Koons-style doodats on the wall shelves. There’s really nothing between them. (Though, if you put a loaded cliché to our heads, the sheer, unadulterated, charm-laden friendliness at Kimpton Hotel Wilshire gets you right there. They should do webinars.)
So, maybe it comes down to location. At KHW (we’re now on acronym terms), you’re walking distance from Rodeo Drive and all those fancy shops, a couple of blocks from those museums and a five-minute Uber (or 20-minute walk) to The Grove, that funny outdoor retro shopping spot next to the Farmer’s Market, one of the best places for a weekend lunch. Oh and seeing as we mentioned it, KHW will throw in a free Uber to anywhere within a two-mile radius. So journeys to the above will cost you jack-diddly, which is our favourite of all the Jacks.
But at La Peer, you’re not only right on Melrose, famous for quirky – and spendy – shops, a weekend farmer’s market and plenty of restaurants but also that whole West Hollywood scene, from Lisa Vanderpump’s gay/gay-adjacent restaurants to gay/super-gay go-go joints.