Iconic hotel has hosted the Oscars and served as a movie set for blockbuster films and music videos
Downtown Los Angeles location is walkable to The Broad and The Walt Disney Concert Hall
Classically decorated rooms and suites, some with walk-in closets and faux fireplaces
Four restaurants, a historic bar, and room service -- plus afternoon tea at Rendevouz Court
Beautiful indoor pool and sauna, mimics a luxury vintage cruise ship
Club-level rooms include a host of worthwhile amenities and a private lounge
Stunning ballroom and event spaces with chandeliers and gilded balconies for weddings and events
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Valet parking available (costs extra)
Some rooms look more dated than historical
Lobby and bar can be closed for filming (a pro for some to see Hollywood in action)
Dated fitness center equipment
Hefty valet parking fees (the norm in Los Angeles)
When the Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles first opened way back in 1923, it was the largest hotel west of Chicago. The hotel was built by the same architect who designed the iconic Waldorf Astoria in New York City, and the attention to intricate detail is magnificent, especially in the five ballrooms, lobby, and historic bar. The 683 rooms are mostly decorated in a classic style, though some have more contemporary interiors and extras like walk-in closets and club level lounge access. As for features, there's a charming indoor pool, four assorted restaurants, and a dated fitness center. One unexpected perk is a brush with Hollywood; everyone from John Legend to Jennifer Lopez to the cast of "Ghostbusters" has filmed in the hotel. For a downtown hotel that's more hip than historic, check rates at Freehand Los Angeles.
The undisputed grand old dame of downtown Los Angeles
When the Biltmore opened, in 1923, it was the largest hotel west of Chicago. It quickly became a Southern California institution, hosting eight Academy Awards ceremonies in the '30s and '40s. In fact, the whole idea for the Oscars was birthed at the hotel. Check out the photos in the Historic Corridor, off the lobby for sightings of everyone from Walt Disney to The Black Dahlia. The Biltmore remains an icon. In 1969, it was designated a Historic Cultural Landmark by the city (you can find the plaque near the side entrance: "Milestone in the Significant Architectural, Economic and Cultural Development of Los Angeles"). The lobby, Rendezvous Court, ballrooms, and Gallery Bar and Cognac Room are stunning places worth a visit just to marvel at the preserved art and architecture.
The hotel's press packet includes an exhaustive 11-page list of every movie (Wedding Crashers, Spider-Man, Ocean's Eleven), TV show (Mad Men, 24, The West Wing), miniseries, movie-of-the-week, reality show, commercial, music video, and photo shoot ever filmed on the premises. The Ghostbusters caught their first spook -- remember the slimer? -- in the Biltmore's ballroom. The bar and ballrooms are often closed down so Hollywood can film. Guests are a huge range of corporate travelers, tourists, families, and couples who want or need to be in downtown Los Angeles, and appreciate the old Hollywood glamour.
Located downtown, amid the city's skyscrapers, the Biltmore is great for travelers who want to check out the city's art scene or catch the Lakers or Kings (at the nearby Staples Center), the Dodgers, or a rock concert. There's also a burgeoning hip restaurant and bar scene.
Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are about eight blocks away.
Staples Center, where the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings play, is about 10 blocks away.
Dodgers Stadium is three miles north on the 110 freeway, a 15-minute drive.
Santa Monica and Venice Beach are about a 30-minute drive
The airport (LAX) is a 20- to 30-minute drive in low to moderate traffic.
Classic and contemporary rooms -- and some polished suites
The 683 rooms and suites are spread out over 11 floors. Though they're clean and comfortable, the design isn't as memorable or detailed as the historical public spaces. Deluxe Rooms average about 325 square feet and feature swirl-pattern carpet, gray walls, and white crown molding. Marble-topped wood furniture looks nice, but is slightly dated. All rooms feature 37-inch flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, alarm clocks with iPod connection, coffeemakers with free coffee and tea, and air-conditioning. Bathrooms are a mix of showers and shower/tub combos. Upgrading to a suite buys a much more polished presentation. For instance, the Presidential Suite features a spiral staircase leading to the second floor and some suites feature grand pianos, faux fireplaces, and walk-in closets. Club-Level Rooms provide access to the lounge, bottled water, morning newspapers, free breakfast, and turndown service. Views tend to overlook the city streets and buildings -- the higher the floor, the better the view.
Impressive ballrooms and meeting spaces, four restaurants, and a charming indoor pool
As a hotel that caters largely to corporate travelers, the Biltmore puts a big emphasis on its business-related amenities. Boasting 17 meeting and banquet rooms and 70,000 square feet of total space, the hotel hosts dozens of events per year, big and small. The ballrooms are seriously gorgeous -- it's no surprise they're popular spaces for filming music videos and hosting weddings. The Crystal Ballroom features Austrian chandeliers from 1923, gold balconies, and a gorgeous carpet that mimics the art on the ceiling.
The non-business highlight is the Roman-style indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. You may recognize it from the infamous swimming pool scene in "Cruel Intentions." There's an adjacent fitness center, but the equipment is slightly dated. For dining, the hotel has four restaurant options and 24-hour room service. Smeraldi's Restaurant provides Italian cuisine and hot buffet options. Bugis Street Brasserie specializes in Singaporean street cuisine, with private rooms for meetings. Rendezvous Court offers pastries and coffees to-go, and a wonderful afternoon tea service in a gorgeous space that was the hotel's original lobby. Gallery Bar and Cognac Room is the atmospheric bar that's reminiscent of the gilded age.
Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. Valet parking is the only option, and it's pricey -- though that's typical for Los Angeles.
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