From the first time I visited in 2012, I was enchanted by Los Angeles.
I know the city isn’t for everyone, but it has a unique vibe that I’ve not experienced anywhere else in the world — and that’s what I think attracts me the most.
On previous trips, I stayed in Montebello with friends or in places like Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach in hostels when I was a backpacking student.
I’d never actually stayed close to all the action in areas like West Hollywood or Beverly Hills. So, when planning where to stay after my road trip down Highway 1 from San Jose, I made sure to pick a hotel that would put me in the center of all the action in L.A.
I narrowed my search down to West Hollywood and adjacent neighborhoods. As I was aiming for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, I kept my search within the Marriott family of brands.
My shortlist included hotels from 3 different high-end Marriott brands: The West Hollywood EDITION, the W Hollywood, and the SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills.
I ruled out the W right away — it’s located directly on Sunset Boulevard, which is right in the heart of all the tourist action.
The EDITION has a better location, but I wanted to try out a new Marriott brand as I’d previously stayed at The London EDITION and The Barcelona EDITION. I’ve also stayed at W hotels in the past, so the SLS — part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection — fit the bill perfectly.
As it turned out, the location of the SLS worked out great, too. The hotel was a perfect base for my friend Patrick and I to explore the local area and was even within walking distance of the West Hollywood nightlife. I’m sure many a West Hollywood local would disagree, but after years of living in London, walking is second nature.
My 4-night stay at the SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills cost $1,524. I paid for the stay with my Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® U.K. card, which earns me 3x Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent at Marriott properties (our guide to the best credit cards for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists can help you decide which card is best for your situation).
The rate I booked also included daily breakfast for 2 people.
Of course, I could have also used Marriott Bonvoy points to pay for my stay. During my trip to L.A., rooms were going for 70,000 points per night, which would have cost me a total of 280,000 points for my 4-night stay. Considering the hotel’s great location and its reputation as a luxury property, I found the cash rate to be a pretty good value, so I chose to go that route this time.
Hot Tip: Unfortunately, cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card do not receive Ennismore benefits at SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills.
True to its location, the SLS provides a red-carpet welcome to guests — even if it was looking a little tired.
The shabby-looking red carpet passes through a covered outdoor seating area before reaching the building’s front doors, which were staffed by a doorperson when I arrived.
In my opinion, the seating area is wasted space as it just looks out onto the front of the hotel.
The reception desk is located to the left, 180 degrees from the hotel’s entrance.
The check-in desk is located in quite a dark and dingy corner of the ground floor.
The animal-themed furniture that caught my eye while I waited would be an indication of the SLS’s quirkiness that I’d come to discover more of during my stay.
Could the SLS horse be related to the horse at the entrance to the British Airways First Class lounge in Terminal 5 at London-Heathrow?
I only had to wait a few minutes before I was checked in by a hotel staffer and thanked for my Marriott Bonvoy loyalty.
The SLS’s concierge desk is located just to the right of the main entrance when entering. I rarely saw anyone actually sitting at the desk which I’d guess was a result of staffing issues.
If you’ve read any of my previous hotel reviews, then you’ll know how I feel about hotel gyms.
I’d say the 24-hour gym of the SLS was above average, but it wasn’t anything special.
There was a selection of resistance machines.
There were also several options for cardio.
The free-weight area was small but had 2 benches, a rack of EZ bars, and a rope-pulley machine — my favorite thing to find in a hotel gym thanks to its multifunctionality.
Guests can also treat themselves to a bit of pampering at the Ciel Spa.
The pool tables found on each level near the elevators were a fun and unique feature.
Guests are required to call reception to get all the necessary equipment to play a round.
Even though I was visiting in March, the rooftop pool was one of the reasons I chose the SLS.
For me, there’s just something about a rooftop pool that puts hotels with them in a league of their own.
The entrance was through a door in a wall of framed translucent glass windows. Quirky, but why not?
There are 2 pools in total, one much larger than the other.
Between the 2 pools was a bright red seat in the shape of a set of lips that I imagine spends most of its day as a prop for Instagram photos.
Cabanas of varying sizes are dotted around the pool deck.
The small cabanas can hold up to 6 guests and cost $500 to rent, and there’s an additional $250 minimum you’re required to spend on food and drinks.
The larger cabanas are for up to 10 guests and cost $750 to rent plus an additional $500 minimum spend on food and drink.
Cabanas are strictly for hotel guests, though outside guests are allowed (except for Saturdays) as long as they’re accompanied by a hotel guest. You can find more information about renting a cabana online.
Personally, I find those prices extortionate — I certainly wouldn’t pay that, even if I had all the money in the world.
If you enjoy a sunset, I recommend heading up to the roof during your stay for a sundowner. As you can see below, I was treated to quite a show.
The pool is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Valet parking will set you back $60 per day.
We were assigned room 367 on the third floor of the hotel.
The quirkiness of the SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills can even be found inside the elevators where you’ll be accompanied on your journey by portraits of random strangers.
This woman was a favorite of mine: you can imagine her completely ignoring your existence while pretending to search for something in her purse.
Room 367 was located in a busy corridor next to the entrance to Prestige Aftercare (an exclusive healing and wellness center), so I was worried that noise would be a nuisance. I can happily confirm we slept soundly and undisturbed for the duration of our stay.
We booked a Superior Room with 2 double beds, and it was surprisingly sizeable.
However, the beds were definitely not “double” even though they were advertised as such. In the U.K. we’d refer to these as three-quarter beds. A double bed would have enough space for 2 pillows side-by-side — these beds did not. However, we didn’t have any issues as the beds were adequate for 1 person.
I didn’t notice at first, but there was only 1 floor lamp in the room as opposed to individual bedside reading lamps. Again, not an issue at all, but something that I’d usually find strange.
In between the beds were a telephone and an alarm clock atop an oversized nightstand.
Opposite the beds was a lounging area with a sofa, a fairly large table, and a single chair, as well as a TV, cabinet, and various minibar items.
Inside the cabinet was a fridge stocked with several items, including soft drinks, white wine, tonic water, and even Veuve Clicquot Champagne.
A bottle of Robert Hall red wine was on top of the cabinet alongside a selection of top-shelf liquors.
And on the table were bottles of still and sparkling water.
I can happily confirm that the SLS delivered on the coffee front by providing a Nespresso machine with 3 kinds of pods.
The wardrobe provided an ample amount of storage space and an abundance of hangers. It was also home to a robe, an ironing board, and a safety deposit box.
On the top shelf was a steamer, should you prefer steaming to ironing.
It might not be to everyone’s taste, but the monkey statue and wallpaper gave the room a sense of personality and character that I liked.
Another feature of the room that I really appreciated was the storage trunk at the end of each of the beds.
While we didn’t unpack during our short 3-night stay, I’m sure these trunks would come in handy for those on longer stays or travelers who like to pack everything but the kitchen sink.
And to finish the tour of the room, a look at the feature that’s seemingly present in all higher-end hotels these days: the ability to see from the bedroom directly into the bathroom. In the case of the SLS, this was by way of a mirrored sliding door.
In reverse, here’s the view into the bedroom from inside the spacious bathroom.
For a little more privacy during a bathroom visit, the mirrored wall could be pulled across from both inside and outside the bathroom.
When I said spacious before, I meant large enough for a huge freestanding bathtub to take center stage.
The bath was even big enough for 6-feet-something Paddy to fit into.
The shower featured a rainfall showerhead that you’d expect in a hotel like this, but it also had a first for me: a simple round opening in the ceiling.
I couldn’t figure out for the life of me who would prefer showering under a single stream of water, but as I was writing, it came to me: it’s the faucet for the bathtub!
As you can see in the photo below, the tub has no faucet attached to it, confirming my theory.
The freestanding shelf unit next to the tub housed more towels than we needed, as well as some weighing scales.
Amenities at the sink included water glasses and bottles, a box of tissues, and a mirror with a built-in ring light. Not pictured is the hairdryer.
Bathroom toiletries were by C.O. Bigelow.
Food and Beverage
The main restaurant where breakfast is served is on the ground floor right as you walk into the hotel. The space also doubles as a bar once breakfast is over.
While I’m all for a quirky design, the layout and the seating options of the restaurant were less than practical.
In all, there were only around 10 to 15 tables which meant that on one morning I had to wait more than 20 minutes for a table. Another morning I was asked if I’d be happy to share one of the high-topped tables (pictured below) with another guest.
I was happy to do so, but I’m sure there’d be many people who’d prefer not to dine with strangers. I ended up laughing so hard with the legends I shared breakfast with that my stomach hurt.
On our final morning, we were taken to a table that had a sofa for seating, which I found to be too low for my liking.
I much preferred to eat at the high-top, marble-finished tables.
Each morning I tried something different.
On our first morning, I had a bowl of berries to start followed by scrambled eggs with salmon and a side of toast. A very healthy way to start the day I felt.
It was also delicious.
The next morning, I mixed it up slightly with a helping of Eggs Royale with the Hollandaise sauce on the side.
The egg whites had an undercooked gloopy consistency but they tasted great all the same.
Paddy joined me later and ordered scrambled eggs and avocado with a side of sausages and toast.
I ate the same thing on my third morning, and it was too early for me to eat on my fourth morning as I was headed to LAX to catch my American Airlines Flagship First flight to Miami.
Our breakfast was included in the rate, but you can get an idea of the prices in the photo below.
I’m used to U.S. restaurant prices being higher on average than in the U.K. — especially in hotels, but in what world is it okay to charge $6 for espresso or $9 for a cup of tea?
We also paid a visit to the restaurant on our first night for a quick first drink before heading out.
I can confirm the espresso martinis were as bad as they looked.
Rooftop Dining and Room Service
Food and drinks could also be ordered up at the rooftop pool as well as 24/7 to your room.
Overall, I found the service at the SLS to be rather impersonal and lackluster.
There is only 1 member or staff who made an impression on me and that was my server at breakfast on my first morning.
After having to wait 20 minutes for a table and the hostess refusing me a coffee while I waited, I was a little “hangry” when I sat at my table.
Another guest who was waiting also asked for a coffee while she waited and was begrudgingly granted one after insisting a little more than I did.
I forgot to note down my server’s name, but despite having only 1 other colleague working with her on a busy morning, she helped my group of new friends and me with a spring in her step and a wicked sense of humor which immediately turned the whole experience around.
For a hotel with 297 rooms, I understand that getting to first-name terms with all guests would be a tall order. However, as someone who values interaction with staff and crew as highly as I do, I was definitely a little disappointed with my SLS experience in this sense.
I should probably start by saying I did enjoy my stay at the SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills. Its unique personality won’t be quickly forgotten.
I loved the rooftop pool and would have probably spent all my time there if I’d been visiting in the summer — though not in one of those overpriced cabanas.
The quirkiness of the bedroom, bathroom, and overall vibe of the hotel was also to my liking.
However, the pictures on the hotel’s website make it look a lot younger and fresher than it really is. If I was being really harsh, I’d say the website was a bit of a catfish.
I wasn’t blown away by the service either. But, I understand that staffing issues due to COVID were (and still are for that matter) causing significant problems for the travel industry.
I’ll finish by saying that I would still recommend this hotel as a fun place to stay if you’re visiting L.A. and want to be close to the action.
Personally, I wouldn’t stay there again as there are some other Marriott properties in the area that I’d like to check out next time.
Make sure to check out our guide to the best Los Angeles-area hotels to book with points and miles!
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® U.K. card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.