Angelenos craving a European escape need travel no further than Beverly Hills to the Sofitel for a French staycation, with all the opulence and attitude a hotel can muster this side of la Rive Gauche. The luxury lodgings may be just a few Bugatti lengths away from the parking garage of the Beverly Center, but the management does their best to transport guests to another continent through a fully immersive French hospitality experience.
Entering the lobby, guests are immediately impressed with the property’s assertion of style. The polished black floors and walls reflect a modern and sophisticated aura amid dramatic sculptures and columns of sparkling light. The 10-story hotel features 295 rooms and 28 elegant and spacious suites, with a variety of room styles from which to choose. The standard guest rooms are small, but what the accommodations lack in size Sofitel makes up for in ambience and amenities.
The standard rooms are nicely appointed in a minimalist fashion: a bed and a small deco/mid-century desk, a small-but-sufficient flatscreen TV, a couple bed stands and a Bose speaker system that sounds great in the room. The alarm clock features an extra-large snooze button made for lazy dozing in the super comfy “SoBed,” Sofitel’s signature feather bed and duvet sleep system (offered at in a bedside catalog for $3,000). Other deluxe amenities include lamps on dimmers, individual reading lights by the bed, and a phone in the john. And, if you must work, it is made easier with the free Wi-Fi in the room and public areas.
In the standard room there are no clothes dressers, just a few large cubbies in the closet, though there is no skimping on the mini bar, which are fully stocked, including some adorable snack jars with gourmet trail mix. Down to the mini bottles of soft drinks and imported beers, tomato juice and top-shelf booze, guests will find the accouterments very European. Surprisingly , there is no in-room coffee maker, but complimentary take-away coffee is offered outside the restaurant, along with a beautiful (non-complimentary) continental breakfast spread.
The bathrooms feature a large shower with a rainfall showerhead and a hand-held sprayer — again, very Eurpopean, and luxurious French toiletries. For those who want to get the full pampering treatment, Le Spa at Sofitel offers a complete 5,000 square-foot urban oasis of beauty and body rituals.
Pool for Two
The roof-top postage-stamp sized pool is not much for swimming laps, but it is at least heated and ideal for a dip with a drink in hand while trancing to the electronic dance music piped in over the super-bass charged speakers and admiring a view of the Hollywood Hills.
In the rooms, the double-paned glass on the windows overlooking the busy corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard completely block out the noise below; and though the setting across from a shopping center and strip mall is not the most scenic, it is convenient for travelers who can run to the CVS for forgotten deodorant, or to Macy’s if they tire of the clothes they packed.
The hotel’s restaurant, Esterel, features a limited but artful menu, including a variety of classic French Mediterranean dishes infused with accents of fennel, saffron and Herbs de Provence, along with low-calorie, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian selections. Signature dishes include a kale Caesar salad and brick roasted chicken.
Just outside the restaurant is the swanky Riviera 31 lounge, owned and operated by culture curators Xperiment USA, where there is something exciting going on nightly, from a retro disco night to a high-energy burlesque, with plenty of well-dressed scenery to chew on in addition to some fine appetizers. Guests who want one of the cozy lounge seating areas need to reserve early though, as the room fills up fast; but the overflow option is not bad on the newly remodeled outdoor patio, romantically lit and warmed by the flames from heater torches.
For a weekend getaway — even if it’s a few miles from home, this urban escape can feel a world away. After a great night’s sleep, perhaps a spa day, a romantic dinner and a night of live lounge entertainment, guests will be glad they spared themselves the long plane flight, as right in the middle of Los Angeles they can indulge in a European excursion worthy of the fine French Sofitel hotel brand name, without the jet lag.