We booked this hotel after seeing in national newspapers, Cheryl Cole (UK pop starlet) emerge from a "luxury hotel in LA". We were impressed enough to find out more through Trip Advisor and other websites, and thought what a great holiday that would be to celebrate my husband's 'special' birthday. So, in February we booked up, 1 week, in June. We booked a Veranda suite as the hotel's website showed a picture of a Veranda suite, great views over Los Angeles, 2 sun loungers, perfect for a chill out on those days we wanted to give the sightseeing a break.
I read some recent reviews (one of which has since been removed from Trip Advisor), and were not very complimentary and the one which was removed was quite worrying (mentioning drugs, partying etc), so I contacted the hotel about my concerns, and was told by Alice Laing (The Guest Relations Director) that our experience would be a positive one and that our room would be everything we hoped it would be. Okay - so that placated us, and off we went. We arrived late evening from an 11 hour flight, so were very tired and in need of our room. We were shown to our room by Todd (very helpful). Todd was quite surprised that we were given this particular room given that we were staying for 7 nights; the room looked straight onto a high white wall, had only 1 sun lounger, and even in the dark we could tell that we would not be spending our days in such a depressing place. Todd recommended that we ask at reception for a room move in the morning. So, we didn't unpack, just removed the things we needed to go to bed and get ready next day. After breakfast (which is complimentary and excellent), we went to reception to ask for a room move. I was quite surprised to see that one of the girls behind the reception desk was Alice Laing (from her name badge); we introduced ourselves to the receptionist beside Alice, and Alice seemed to turn her back on us and walk away, not wanting obviously to introduce herself to us and ask how our room was etc. Not good for a Guest Relations Director. Anyway, after explaining the situation, we were told that there were no rooms for at least 3 days as the BET awards had booked out some 90 suites that weekend. Having no idea who or what the BET awards were, we just thought we'd resign ourselves to the very poor view (which is completely misrepresented on the hotel website - apparently there is only 1 room fitting the description on the web site, the rest of the veranda suites have poor to very average views), and all have only 1 sun lounger. Off we trundled back to our room, unpacked, and thought we'd make the best out of it that we could, no point in ruining the holiday for the sake of a room move with possibly the same or only slightly better view. We were told the room with the view was booked out for the duration of our stay!
That night, around 1a.m, there was an almighty commotion in the corridor outside our room. Lots of screaming (in LA not really a good sign!!), then lots of laughter (OK nobody was in danger then), then lots of door slamming. I heard a woman banging on a door asking for the noise to be reduced. I rang the reception desk to let them know about the noise and disturbance, and was told they would send up a security officer to check it out. \Through the spy-hole I could see the female occupant of the noisy room (who I will refer to as Party Girl) negotiating with the security officer. I overheard her telling him that her party of 12 people (all in her room) had ordered room service food and drinks, and that she would not end the party until they had eaten. He told her that other guests were complaining about the noise levels, and that she shouldn't have that many people in her room. He was very good, but she had the upper hand with him, she told him that she was a regular at the London Hotel and the New York sister hotel (also The London), and that she would report him to the GM the next morning, and he would lose his job once she had done this. I was livid; so I rang the reception desk once more to let them know how he was being blackmailed into allowing her party to continue (I was informed that the woman was indeed a regular and should know that the hotel is not a party hotel) Not a party hotel - hold that thought!!. Next thing was that she was being told that the hotel would open up the pool deck for her and her party, and put the outdoor fire on, and deliver her food and drinks to the pool area. Hmmm... I wonder what would have happened if it was me wanting this sort of treatment!! This woman clearly wielded some power (money!). Thank goodness, they all dispersed out of her room and up to the pool deck, and sleep - albeit restless after such a disturbance - ensued.
The next night, we rudely awoken at 2a.m by not one party but about 5 parties - either side of our room, above our room, and along the corridor. Bags of ice were being delivered to the rooms at this hour of the morning; more and more people were arriving at the parties; the noise levels were getting louder. Doors were being constantly slammed. Lots of people on the verandas (now we know what they are used for - and it's not sunbathing); lots of shouting to other party goers across the verandas. I called the reception desk again and told them what was going on on the 2nd floor and above on floors 3 and 4. They'd had other complaints and the security officer was already on his way up to check it out. I looked through the spy-hole (very handy little things) and saw that 2 security officers were knocking on the party rooms, and asking the occupants keep the noise down (not telling them I hasten to add that parties were not allowed in the hotel). Well, needless to say that around 20 + people in one room (multiply this by at least 5 more rooms) under the influence of much alcohol and goodness knows what else, does not necessarily make for a quiet party. The noise got much worse, so I rang down again. I was absolutely passed myself at this point with tiredness and that this holiday was fast becoming a nightmare birthday celebration for my husband. The security officers came back and emptied about 3 rooms (they actually moved the party on to another room on another floor - poor neighbours!). However the room above continued its shouting from the balcony and creating other noise which wasn't conducive to sleep until 6a.m. Then all went quiet, but it was too late for us, we had been awake all night and were totally past any possibility of rest at that time. We had our earliest start (I mean even at home we don't start our day this early), went to the reception desk (I had emailed Alice during the early hours to vent my frustration, to let her know I was very unhappy and that her promises of a room that would make our stay a very positive experience was not materialising). I told them at reception of the night before; Alice offered us a free meal in the Gordon Ramsey restaurant to make up for the lack of view. We refused this, as the view would always be bad, even with a free meal thrown in. I think she was quite shocked that this was not taken up, but it wasn't freebies we wanted, we wanted a decent room, and a decent sleep. Neither was seemingly possible at this hotel. We were asked to have breakfast (again very nice and the hotel's saving grace), and return to the reception desk afterwards. Once again we were told that there were no rooms (there was one, next door to Party Girl - we declined this one on the grounds that I might have done her an injury if she had further parties!!). The BET awards people were checking out the next day and then we could have a new room. Our holiday was nearly over at this point, and we questioned to ourselves the sense of moving (packing everything up/unpacking again/repacking a few days later to go home) so soon to leaving, but decided that we needed to sleep more than anything else. The view was now not an issue, sleep was.
We moved the next day to the 8th floor, the traffic noise from Sunset Boulevard was not a problem, especially with door closed. The view of the immediate area around the hotel is an eyesore -the Viper Room -( infamous for being once owned by Johnny Depp, and where River Phoenix died of a drugs overdose) - is particularly seedy and unsightly. The immediate area of Sunset Blvd is tacky, sleazy, and dirty. Lots of vagrants and wino's hanging around, and generally not a pleasant/safe place to be. But the view beyond the immediate area went up to the hills; and up to Downtown LA skyscrapers, so fairly scenic, on a clear day, although most days were in a fog.
The staff were on the whole friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. The hotel is classy. The area is awful. You need to get a taxi everywhere (unless you hire a car). There is a mythical "Hotel Car" (a land rover I believe), however we were never told about it, or offered it. I feel that this car is reserved for guests who are dripping in bling and will tip in figures I can only dream about. I am disappointed in this attitude; in the same way as the parties were never going to be curtailed, but just relocated, so as not to upset the well-heeled clientèle. I will add that this well-heeled clientèle are not necessarily good mannered or cultured, they just have money, and money cannot buy class, they have little respect for other folk, and are generally rude. This is where the hotel's 'bread and butter' comes from though, so obviously they will not upset these guests. The hotel know that we will not return, so we are already upset, and no amount of remedial action will put this right (I assume this is how they think). They forget however, that back home, everyone is asking me how the trip went, and what the hotel was like, and of course good old Trip Advisor, were the truth will out.
To sum up and conclude:
*The staff (except some reception staff and Guest Relations Director - goodness knows how she got the job);
*The food (Breakfasts were excellent, the afternoon tea was good but a little sickly; the Boxwood Cafe was a bit better than average (a waiter was a bit over the top/formal in his service
delivery; chicken slightly undercooked/pink);
*The suites (rooms) - large, well laid out, nice bathrooms, but large enough to have a party!
*The misrepresentation of veranda suites on hotel website
*The fact that I booked our room in February and they could not find a good enough room (and away from the obvious party crowd)
*There was nothing to acknowledge my husband's 'special' birthday (not even a welcoming bottle of wine) - having read some reviews on Yelp, the hotel leaves a complimentary bottle of bubbly in the room, chocolates, flowers; but we got nothing.
*Bad attitude from the Guest Relations Director - clearly not a people person.
*The "House Car" not being offered as a mode of transport, not even for our special dinner reservation on the night of my husband's birthday. Instead we had to sit in a flea-pit of a taxi with a strong smell of something dodgy being previously smoked. What a nice touch it would have been to have been offered the house car (they knew were going out and where to as they booked it for us).
*Remember to put the clasp on the door to prevent people waling into your room - we were frequently disturbed by staff want to clean carpets, remove or add something to the room, housekeeping etc, and unless you prevent their access, they will just walk in, regardless.
*The hotel is very clearly a party hotel; people go there to party in the rooms, this was made very apparent in the review which was removed from Trip Advisor. The hotel will not prevent or stop the parties (it brings in lots of money from the alcohol consumed from the mini bar, and food from room service, and of course many of the party people are regulars, so random guests from the UK who are not likely to return will not be taken seriously). Bottom line is if you want to sleep, then don't stay here.
*the area outside the hotel - just horrible and grotty.
Would I book another stay here? No way!! You have now been warned (oops sorry, I mean informed) ;o)
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- Also Known As:
- The London West Hollywood Hotel West Hollywood
- London West Hollywood
- London Hotel West Hollywood