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The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel


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When the places you stay at are pivotal to your travel experience–be it by virtue of a uniquely artistic design, a special location, in-house events or unusual services that offer extra insight into the city or town you’re visiting

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles

Photo Courtesy of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Contemporary Glamour Meets Hollywood’s Golden Age

By Jacqueline Fitzgerald

Just steps away from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Zorro and Johnny Depp impersonators, tour bus operators and camera-wielding out-of-towners, the Roosevelt Hotel’s lobby provides breezy respite from the hubbub of Hollywood Boulevard. Since 1927, guests have appreciated its Moorish-influenced design (monumental walls, airy arcades, muraled ceilings) and atmosphere of glamorous tranquility.

A favorite of powerbrokers and stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, the hotel was built to cater to East Coast movie-makers working in Los Angeles. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Louis B. Mayer were among its backers.

The first Oscars ceremony took place in the Blossom Room on May 16, 1929. Additionally, the Roosevelt has been a location for many films including Charlie’s Angels II (2003), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Internal Affairs (1990) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987).

In 2005, the 300-room hotel became part of the Thompson Hotels Group and underwent renovation by designer Dodd Mitchell. The results managed to preserve the property’s Spanish Colonial Revival character while enticing the Hollywood in crowd and other offshoots of the Beautiful People tribe, whether for overnight stays or an evening’s entertainment.

This isn’t to say that everyone you see is strategically evading the paparazzi. There’s much potential for people-watching of all sorts and plenty of places to explore.

Teddy’s nightclub, for example, bills itself as a celebrity haunt hideaway. At the 1920s-inspired Spare Room, a gaming parlor and drinks lounge, you can bowl, play games or just relax. The Library Bar offers handcrafted cocktails. Public Kitchen & Bar is a casual dining room, and 25 Degrees puts a creative twist on burgers, fries and milkshakes. Outside, at the Tropicana bar, you can cool off with a beverage or a dip in the water and see David Hockney’s work on the bottom of the pool.

Cabana Rooms at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles

Photo Courtesy of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

On a recent visit, I stayed in one of the cabana rooms, which were refurbished in 2011. Clean lines, neutral colors (white, beige, grey) and a blend of textures (brick, blonde wood, glass and leather) catch the eye and create a mellow mood. The room wasn’t huge, but this is almost always the case in older hotels. If poolside lounging followed by a peaceful night is a priority, a cabana is the ideal place to stay.

All rooms and suites feature temperature-control units, two phone lines with speaker and conference capabilities, and in-room pantries. I enjoyed the oversized terry-cloth robe provided as well as the magnifying mirror and blowdryer in the bathroom. Bath products by C.O. Bigelow included conditioner, which is always a nice touch.

Checking in was easy. The pot of Lamill coffee I ordered in the morning arrived promptly and, when the room phone wasn’t working, a technician came quickly to fix it.

Rates vary but you can expect to pay about $290 in the main building and about $350 for a cabana room. My only quibble is that wi-fi/ internet access is an extra $15/day.

Otherwise, my stay allowed me to enjoy the high energy of Hollywood, knowing I could later escape to quiet comfort.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa in Solvang, California


Hotel Experience:
When the places you stay at are pivotal to your travel experience–be it by virtue of a uniquely artistic design, a special location, in-house events or unusual services that offer extra insight into the city or town you’re visiting

Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa in Solvang California

In ‘Sideways’ Wine Country Even City Slickers Relax at the Alisal Guest Ranch

By Shana Ting Lipton

[Originally Published on York Times Company]

As a city slicker sleeping at a working cattle ranch for the first time, I must admit to an adjustment period on my first night at Alisal. A symphony of croaking frogs–that I had only previously known from my Sharper Image sleep/noise machine–serenaded me throughout the night. I awoke to another sound I had become so familiar with in the digital world–that of a rooster saying ‘good morning’ in his own special way.

It’s sad to say that many Angelenos like myself are so distanced from nature that it’s become something of a novelty. Thankfully, the Alisal Guest Ranch and Spa is the perfect ‘antidote to civilization’ as the commercial saying goes. Yes, it’s separate from its Danish-founded town of Solvang–which is rife with kitschy faux Danish architecture and windmills (which are technically Dutch). But the ranch allows curious urbanites to dip into the rustic side of things, one step at a time.

TV is verboten. Why would you want to watch American Idol when you can experience real Americana with a fireside sing-along, in real time? Yet, the ranch is hip and smart enough to offer wifi…a minor link to ‘civilization’ for lap-top toting Internet addicts.

This is mostly a family-friendly spot, but couples will find it plenty romantic with lots of beautiful walks, cute little nooks, and on-site ranch activities–like lakeside boat rides–and nearby wine tasting to spice things up. Ah yes, wine, something that has made the Solvang environs of the ranch world-famous in pop culture since 2004 when Paul Giamatti and Alexander Payne sought women and the perfect pinot noir in Sideways. Today, it is not uncommon to hear of a Sideways wine tour of the area.

Alisal Guest Ranch and Golf Resort in Solvang California

Photos Courtesy of Alisal Guest Ranch and Golf Resort

Alisal has its own label featuring a nice pinot noir, available at its lounges and restaurants, and also for purchase along with other ranch treats. You can buy a bag of Alisal’s pancake mix as well–the results of which you can preview at one of its hearty ranch breakfasts. Or if you’re health-conscious, the ranch’s own brand of granola can be your sojourn takeaway.

Save room in your luggage. There is plenty of fun culinary shopping in town as well as adjacent Buellton: olive and grape seed oils, hand-crafted soaps, vinegar, etc. I personally love this kind of shopping as I return to LA with the ‘spirit of Steinbeck.’

In conclusion, the Alisal is a must for LA tech/ media burnouts who need to revitalize to the sound of a running river and distant cows. Its land is virtually untouched by Hollywood. I say ‘virtually’ because of an anecdote that one of the wrangler/guides told us about its history, over an outdoor breakfast.

One of the ranch’s early owners, Raimundo Carillo is the great great great grandfather of TV western sidekick Leo Carillo of ‘50s TV show The Cisco Kid fame. Some things, like Hollywood, are hard to evade. But Alisal does a heck of a job of keeping them at [shooting] arm’s length, hombre.

Alisal Guest Ranch Resort
1054 Alisal Road
Solvang, CA 93463

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