I live less about a mile from The Hotel Wilshire in Mid-City Los Angeles, and routinely hang out with my local pals on The Roof on Wilshire, its rooftop bar and restaurant. It’s a swanky cocktail scene with a wide age range, fire-pits ablaze, and a sweeping view of the Hollywood Hills.
Recently, I had the opportunity to experience one of the hotel’s spacious guest rooms, as well, on an overnight getaway with a girlfriend.
The verdict? The Hotel Wilshire makes for a fun, convenient and city-centric stay.
Y’know, with cocktails. On the roof.
When The Hotel Wilshire invited me to stay over for a night, I was eager to vet it as a potential place to stay in my neighborhood. See, I have family and friends who would love to visit me in L.A., but no proper guest room to offer them.
I invited my friend and fellow writer Kim, a busy working mom of two who lives over an hour away from me, to join me. Kim and I will never get to spend as much time with each other as we’d like, but 24 hours seemed a good place to start.
The Wilshire, at first glance, seems to make the most sense as a business hotel. A glassy, modern rectangle on a nondescript block of Wilshire Boulevard along L.A.’s Miracle Mile, it’s easy to miss and has no on-site spa.
However, consider it’s location. The residential neighborhood surrounding the hotel is one of L.A.’s oldest, with 1920′s Spanish Revival homes and old-growth trees, providing a safe and restful area to stroll or run. It is:
- 2 blocks from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Craft & Folk Art Museum
- 6 blocks from the Original Farmer’s Market and The Grove shopping mall
- 4 blocks from the independent boutiques and eateries of West 3rd Street
- 5 minutes from Beverly Hills
- 10 minutes from the attractions and nightlife of Hollywood
- 20 minutes to Downtown
- 30 minutes to the beach city of Santa Monica
Basically, the hotel is an ideal place to stay if you want a comprehensive experience of the city, from sea to hills and everything in between.
Simultaneously modern and soft, the guest rooms are spacious and comfortable, allowing two people to easily spread out and relax. Kim and I moved right in, sharing sink space in the gleaming bathroom (and the theft-worthy bath amenities by a local company called Lather), chatting between our supportive, cozy beds, and stretching out on the small sectional sofa to read magazines and watch TV.
We started our evening up at The Roof on Wilshire, enjoying a couple of cocktails amidst the glow of sunset over the hills, beside the hotel’s small swimming pool and a blazing heat lamp. (It can get chilly up here at night no matter the season, so bring an extra layer to be safe.) We eased our way slowly into the creative cuisine of chef Eric Greenspan, a round, loud and cheery local celebrity who honed his chops at Spain’s famous (and now-closed) El Bulli, launched the gastronomic success of The Foundry on Melrose, and became a contestant on the 2012 season of The Next Iron Chef.
My favorite Roof offering is Greenspan’s grilled cheese sandwich, a quite-possibly-magical combination of Gruyere, date marmalade and roasted peppers on sourdough; he’s become so renowned for this meal that he will soon open Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, an all-grilled-cheese café in Los Angeles. A close runner-up, though, is the Nori Nachos appetizer, an inspired deconstruction of tuna tartare served with a side of puffy, hearty and handmade rice-and-nori chips. The dense, chewy calamari didn’t thrill me, but the seasonal-fruit Wilshire Salad, a tender filet of salmon with a side of sweet potatoes, goat cheese and pepitas? Hells, yes.
Cocktails here are an art, a boozy adventure in ginger, raspberries, lime, and everything from old-school bourbon to artisanal gin. If you don’t see what floats you on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask for a custom concoction. Or take a spin around the wine list, which has a few truly inspired Californians in both red and white by the glass. Kim and I did our best to not over-indulge, but we still loved our car-free journey home, just a few floors below.
Our one morning at the Wilshire, we arose early and pulled on our walking shoes, beelining for West Third Street, the baked goodness of Fonuts and the dark-roast splendor of its local LaMill Coffee; if you’re okay with the concept of a less-fatty doughnut, I recommend the strawberry glazed and the lemon poppyseed vegan. Other nearby breakfast choices are the French charm of Little Next Door, the bready goodness of Doughboys, hearty plates at Quality Food & Beverage, or the delightful creperie at the Original Farmer’s Market.
Later on, we’d try brunch on The Roof, but were uninspired by a fruit plate with sides of tasteless almond-coconut butter and ricotta, and the thick, semi-dry French toast. If we had it to do over again, we’d split the absurdly decadent-sounding Pancake Lasagna (which had us at “cheese bacon”) and the simply enormous bagel-and-lox platter.
Lolling in the mid-day sunshine, we were tickled to see a young couple canoodling by, in, and around the pool, which answered our burning question: “Do guests actually go in the water?” In between exploring the city pleasures of L.A., you might just want to don your swimsuits, wrangle a cabana table, and while away an afternoon up here.
My and Kim’s stay, dinner and cocktails were provided courtesy of
The Hotel Wilshire, but all opinions and observations are my own.