Los Angeles: Using Points At Big Chain Tourist Hotels – Part 2

a pool with chairs and umbrellas

In part 1 of this 2-part series I took a look at the options open to those wishing to use their points to stay at Marriott, Hilton or IHG properties in the vacationer-friendly parts of Los Angeles. In this part I take a look at the options open to visitors with Hyatt, Starwood and Carlson Rezidor points burning holes in their pockets.

As I mentioned in part 1, the areas of Los Angeles I’m concentrating on are ones that people on vacation may be interesting staying – like Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. There are options in Downtown and at LAX but what vacationer is going to want to stay in either of those locations?

Hyatt

As with all the other major chains, Hyatt is well served at LAX with 3 properties (The Concourse Hotel, Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo and Hyatt House El Segundo) but their representation elsewhere is poor.

Hollywood: No properties at all

As far as I can work out there has never been a Hyatt in Hollywood….and I suspect there probably won’t be one any time soon. With the exception of Starwood (I’ll come on to them soon), none of the big hotel chains have a marquee brand in Hollywood and Hyatt has bigger gaps in its portfolio that it needs to fill before Hollywood will appear on the radar.

West Hollywood: 1 x Andaz

The Andaz West Hollywood sits on Sunset Boulevard and occupies the building that was, up until 2008, the Hyatt West Hollywood and, before that, the legendary “Hyatt on Sunset” (a cornerstone of Rock history on Sunset Boulevard).

Having stayed here very recently (review coming soon) I can tell you that it’s, without doubt, the best all-round points hotel in tourist-friendly areas of LA.

Before you all email me with your own preference let me just be very clear what I’m saying – the Andaz may well not be the best hotel in LA (in fact it definitely isn’t) but for a combination of value (for points bookings) and location, it can’t be beaten.

At 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points per night or 10,000 + $125 for points and cash bookings there is good value to be had.

andaz-west-hollywood

And without wanting to jump the gun on my own review, the hotel is within walking distance of a whole host of cafes, bars, club and excellent restaurants – perfect for ending a day of taking in the sights of LA.

Beverly Hills: No properties at all

Just like IHG has an InterContinental in neighboring Century City, Hyatt has a Hyatt Regency in Century Plaza. The only problem is that it’s closing down…so even if I thought it was worth making a case for this being a good place for a vacationer to be based (which it isn’t), there really isn’t much point!

Santa Monica: No properties at all

The dearth of Hyatt properties in the Los Angeles area continues with Hyatt-free Santa Monica. The closest Hyatts to here are the properties in the area surrounding LAX…and they’re not exactly where most people want to spend their vacation.

Starwood

Starwood is the one major chain that has a presence in a number of Los Angeles areas that may be of interest to someone on vacation. As well as the mandatory strong LAX presence with the Westin LAX, Sheraton Gateway LAX and a FourPoints, Starwood has managed to expand into moire tourist-friendly LA neighborhoods.

Hollywood: 1 x W Hotel

The W Hollywood opened in 2010 in one of the most famous locations in Hollywood – the intersection of Hollywood and Vine – and is the newest of Starwood’s Los Angeles properties. Location-wise it’s very good for those wishing to explore the Hollywood Walk of fame and the rest of Hollywood. Personally I wouldn’t stay here because I’m not a fan of W Hotels (all show and little substance in my experience) but I’m sure some will disagree.

The Tripadvisor reviews are mixed and the reviews on Starwood’s own website aren’t much better but, at between 12,000 and 16,000 Starpoints per night (it’s a SPG Category 5 property), there could be value to be had considering the ridiculous prices the hotel likes to charge.

w-hotel-hollywoodWho pays $426 + tax for this place?…I’ve got a bridge to sell them

West Hollywood: No properties at all

To be fair to Starwood it would probably be a little bit of overkill to have a hotel in both Hollywood and West Hollywood but, had I been in charge of deciding where to put the W, I would have picked WeHo every time.

Beverly Hills: According to Starwood they have 2 Properties here (1 x SLS and 1 x W Hotel)

With one of these hotels Starwood is technically correct with its location and with the other it’s making up an area that doesn’t exist.

The SLS Beverly Hills is technically in Beverly Hills….but it’s about as far away from the Beverly Hills you are currently imagining as is physically possible.

SLS-beverly-hill-mapThe grey circle on La Cienega represents the SLS Beverly Hills

The hotel sits on a very major road junction just south of the Beverly Center (which is in West Hollywood) and is convenient for shopping at the Beverly Centre and the boutiques of Robertson Boulevard. The area immediately around the hotel offers nothing to the average tourist but, with a little bit of a walk, some good restaurants are within reach.

The hotel is a SPG Category 6 hotel and therefore costs 20,000 – 25,000 Starpoints a night….and that’s a lot for a hotel on a major road junction with not that much immediately around it. Still, prices can be astronomical here so, if you have to be able to tell you friends that you stayed in Beverly Hills, this may be an option.

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The other hotel that Starwood claims to be in Beverly Hills is the W West Beverly Hills. Unfortunately for Starwood there is no such place as “West Beverly Hills” and their hotel is, in fact, deep within Westwood – right next to UCLA and Westwood Village. This isn’t a tourist location by any stretch of the imagination so I won’t bother saying any more about it.

Santa Monica: Amazingly, Starwood has a property here too and I confess that I had no idea (until I researched this blog post). Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica is another SPG Category 5 hotel (12,000 – 16,000 Starpoints/night) and it gets reasonable reviews on Tripadvisor:

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As with most Santa Monica properties, the Le Meridien knows how to charge and, during peak months, prices are almost always north of $500-$600 per night.

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16,000 Starpoints/night may seem steep but, considering that the cash price (including taxes is over $630) you’ll be getting almost 4 cents per Starpoint if you chose to stay here…and that’s a very good redemption indeed. Whether the hotel is worth that or not is a completely different matter.

Carlson Rezidor

I’ve left this hotel group for last for a very good reason – it doesn’t have a single property in any of the vacationer-friendly areas of Los Angeles. In fact it barely has any properties in Los Angeles at all. If you’re looking to spend Club Carlson points don’t come to LA!

Bottom Line

Starwood may have the most options out of this group of hotels (and the groups mentioned in part 1 of this series) but the best all-round hotel is still the Andaz West Hollywood. Out of all the hotels I’ve mentioned in both parts of this series it’s the only one I would spend my hard-earned points on.

The fact of the matter is this: LA has a very noticeable lack of good hotels at which vacationers can spend their points balances. It will be interesting to see what the Edition West Hollywood will be like when it opens in 2018 but we really need some other properties before then….the only problem is that I can’t see where any are going to come from.