Originally built as a Holiday Inn in 1972, Loews took over the vast space in 2012, converting it into the swish hotel you'd expect for central Hollywood.Yamashiro, the famous Japanese restaurant on the hill behind, and The Magic Castle were all built around the same time, so it has an old Hollywood feel to it.
You couldn't ask for a better location, especially for LA first timers, with Hollywood right at your doorstep. There's direct access to the Hollywood and Highland shopping mall which makes this writer's frequent trips to Sephora far too simple. The Dolby Theatre next door, which hosts the Academy Awards, also has direct access to Loews. The hotel is booked out to accommodate the Academy's employees (an maybe some actors) on "Oscars Sunday" and the kitchen is frequently used as a getaway for starlets on the run from paparazzi.
Its huge lobby is an ideal meeting space with couches and plenty of space which is ideal for big groups and bigger suitcases. There's also a colourful bar that does great cocktails, and a cafe from which to grab coffee and snacks on the run. Upstairs, there are 628 rooms and 118 suites, two restaurants, plus a pool with dining by Wolfgang Puck. There's an expansive area of rooms which are used as event spaces or conferences, but more notably, Oscars after parties. Infamously it is where Leonardo DiCaprio came after his first Oscar win.
It's all about the room at Loews and I'm in a junior suite, which to say is generously proportioned, is an understatement. The comfortable room, grey with pops of maroon and orange colours, has amazing Hollywood views, all the mod cons and is somewhere I genuinely enjoy passing time in. The bathroom, too, is enormous, with an adjoining area for dolling up, Hollywood style, with a separate wardrobe. The mini bar, although present, is locked and I am not offered a key, so what is held inside remains a mystery.
I am staying as part of a group which has a dinner in the Panorama Suite, an expansive "room" with 360 degree-views overlooking Hollywood – it is made for entertaining. In its previous life it was a revolving restaurant, which you can clearly see from the outside. It has a baby grand piano and its own bar, bedroom and adjoining bathroom with a spa bath. The chef has made dishes that accommodate all our dietary requirements, so we have a mixture of mostly vegetarian dishes that reflect California's healthy lifestyle. It's delicious. One of the hotel's restaurants, Preston's Buffet, is popular for brunch, with unlimited mimosas and bloody marys.
You couldn't ask for a better position. Classic Hollywood restaurants Yamashiro and Frank and Musso are directly in front and behind; also, a relative newcomer serving modern Californian cuisine is Paley's, a short Uber drive away. Shopping is at your doorstep at Hollywood and Highland, and while we were staying, a major blockbuster was getting the red carpet treatment at the Chinese Theatre, directly in front. Runyon Canyon, the hike best known for celeb spottings, is a 15-minute walk away.
Modern, spacious, and comfortable, Loews Hollywood is an excellent base from which to explore Hollywood.
Rooms from $327 a night. See loewshotels.com
There are plenty of well-located hotels in this area, but they don't often come with rooms that are so spacious and comfortable.
A true Australian gripe: there is a lack of decent coffee in the near vicinity, and the coffee shop in the hotel serves Starbucks.