Tried & Tested
Loews Hollywood Hotel; LOT Polish Airlines NewYork JFK – Warsaw International 787 Business Class
BACKGROUND In a town famous for its iconic hotels, the Loews Hollywood began life somewhat more modestly in 1972 as a Holiday Inn. In 2001, the 20-story property was reflagged as a Renaissance and connected to the Hollywood & Highland Center shopping and entertainment complex, noteworthy for its enormous neo-Babylonian gate and quasi-Indian elephants.
Loews bought the hotel in 2012 and launched a $26 million top-to-bottom renovation, the inaugural acquisition in an ambitious strategy to expand the brand’s portfolio to more than 30 owned or managed hotels over the next five years.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? We were guests while Loews was putting the finishing touches on the renovations, so there was a considerable buzz with teams of workers and remnants of scaffolding here and there. But that was only a minor distraction from the overall grandeur of the place. The massive lobby is all decked out in stone and glass, with splendid lighting and a real sense of space. But at the same time, despite its size and edgy design, it’s curiously peoplefriendly, with an understated check-in area and plenty of room for guests to congregate for conversation and networking or the occasional ad hoc business meeting.
WHERE IS IT? Located at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, it doesn’t get much more Tinseltown than this. Close to lots of shopping and dining, and adjacent to the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are handed out, the hotel is walking distance from such landmarks as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl.
ROOM FACILITIES Unlike some LA hotels I’ve been in, my king room was generous, but not audacious, in size. What it may have lacked in space it more than made up for in comfort, style and expansive, peaceful views of the Hollywood Hills. The décor was understated and clearly no detail had been overlooked in the renovation.
The spacious bathroom featured one of the most revitalizing showers I have ever enjoyed in any hotel, bar none. Nothing fancy, but everyone in our group commented on the quality of the showers in their rooms.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The good news for culinary fans is that with more than two dozen dining alternatives just outside the door in the Hollywood & Highland Center and plenty more within walking distance, any hotel restaurant has to be above par. That is certainly the case with Preston’s, one of Loews entries into the area’s cuisine scene.
Preston’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a fresh market concept. The breakfast buffet was limited, but tasty. My grilled salmon with creamy pepper dressing was a perfect lunch, and we’re told the salad selections and tuna-tortilla stack are quite wonderful. BUSINESS MEETING AND LEISURE FACILITIES The property boasts a massive 120,000 square feet of flexible meeting space including onsite exhibition space and a ballroom large enough to accommodate up to 2,000 guests. In addition, meetings can spill out onto the pool terrace or in the Dolby Theatre.
The hotel offers a 24hour business center with computers, copy machine and fax machines. A 24-hour concierge is on hand to see to anything else you need.
On the fifth floor is where you’ll find the heated outdoor pool with its stunning views of the Hollywood sign and Loews exhale Spa. The hotel also offers a well-equipped indoor and outdoor fitness center, complimentary for all guests.
VERDICT Loews Hotels is making an energetic move to build its portfolio, and the Hollywood property marks a significant starting point. Judging by the results here, I’ll look forward to checking out the other high-end hotels offered under this brand. BT