Review: SLS Hotel Beverly Hills

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

We had a roughly 22 hour overnight at LAX, so I put a bit of thought into where to stay. On one hand I figured we’d be tired and want to nap, on the other hand I wanted to be somewhere that was walkable (and as much as I love LA, walking seems to be a near criminal offense there based on how few people walk).

My preferred area in LA is Beverly Hills/West Hollywood, since I find it has the most to do (best restaurants and bars, is at least borderline walkable, etc.).

My usual hotel is the Andaz West Hollywood, though for this stay I decided on the SLS Beverly Hills, for whatever reason.

I actually had a quick stay at the SLS Beverly Hills about a year ago, and wrote a review of that stay.

The property is affiliated with Virtuoso, so by booking through a Virtuoso advisor I received the following benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests
    • in Tres Restaurant
  • $100 USD Spa Services credit, to be utilized during stay
    • (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out
    • subject to availability

The rate was quite reasonable by this hotel’s standards. I find the SLS usually runs $400+ per night, while it was only about $300 for the night we booked. That was probably a function of it being the day before Thanksgiving. Furthermore, I had applied a Platinum Suite Night Award to the reservation, which confirmed us an upgrade to a Studio Suite five days before arrival. What’s cool about this property is that they have Studio Suites with two beds — it’s usually tough to find suites with two beds.

The hotel has a nice understated exterior, and doesn’t look nearly as flashy on the outside as on the inside. It’s located right next to the Beverly Center, so is in a good area for walking around.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills exterior

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills signage

The entrance feels very “Hollywood,” given the red carpet leading up to the entrance. There’s furniture on the patio which feels almost more like an indoor lounge area than an outdoor patio (but given the temperatures and lack of rain in LA, what’s the difference, really?).

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills entrance

The lobby is a bit bizarre in terms of decor (not to be confused with the hotel’s restaurant, The Bazaar).

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills lobby

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills lobby

The lobby is really quirky, and to this day I can’t decide whether I love it or hate it. It’s tough to feel indifferent about it, really.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills lobby

The check-in process was a bit of a pain. The hotel had confirmed in advance we’d be able to check-in at 11AM, though the room wasn’t yet ready. So I asked how long it would be. They said they weren’t sure. I asked if the previous guests had already checked out. They said they had. So I asked if there was a general estimate as to how long it would be. They said they didn’t have one.

Very odd.

So I gave them my number and we walked around the Beverly Center. Within about 45 minutes we got a call saying our room was ready, so we headed back for check-in.

We were given a letter describing the benefits we would receive for booking through Virtuoso.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills welcome letter

We proceeded towards the elevators and up to the second floor, where our room was located.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills elevators

The hotel only has a few floors, though each floor is massive, so it’s actually quite easy to get lost.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills hallway

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills floorplan

The room itself was very nice. There was an entryway with the bathroom immediately ahead, while the rest of the room was located to the right.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite entrance

On the left side is a wall display which actually looks like 12 lockers, though in reality is a weird combination of a closet and nothingness.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite entrance

The living area featured a couch and two chairs facing a flat screen TV which was built into the mirror (you can’t do anything at this hotel without looking at yourself).

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite living area

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite living area

Then in the corner by the window was a daybed with minibar snacks oddly placed at the end of it.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite living area

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite minibar

The room did have two super comfortable double beds, which I passed out on for a couple of hours upon our arrival.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite bedroom

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite bedroom

What’s both a blessing and a curse is that the SLS is in a residential neighborhood. On one hand I find it quite charming that you’re literally overlooking a residential street. On the other hand I also quite like the views of Sunset Boulevard from a high rise.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite view

While the room as a whole is pretty “hip,” the bathroom is totally lost on me. The bathroom would make even an Instagram selfie whore feel self conscious based on how many mirrors it has.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite bathroom

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite bathroom

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite sink

Like, the shower has mirrors on two sides… is anyone that desperate to look at themselves?!

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite shower

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite toilet

The toiletries were CIEL branded, which is also the hotel’s spa.

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite toiletries

The advisor that booked this stay was awesome, and since it was my dad’s birthday week they sent up more goodies than we knew what to do with, from red wine to Diet Coke with lime to cupcakes to chocolate. Damn!

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite welcome amenity

SLS Hotel Beverly Hills Studio Suite welcome amenity

We had an amazing dinner at BOA Steakhouse, though unfortunately the relaxing part of the evening ended there. There was super loud music which I could hear from our room until 2AM. I’ve heard somewhat loud music at this hotel in the past on weekends, though was kind of surprised to hear this on weekdays.

It actually worked out okay since I was jetlagged and just got some more work done, and then eventually fell asleep at 2AM when the music abruptly stopped.

The next morning we left for the airport at 6AM, so couldn’t do breakfast, since it only starts at 7AM (the worst part of Beverly Hills/West Hollywood is that it’s basically impossible to get coffee before that hour, which drives me bonkers).

When we checked out, the friendly associate asked how our stay was. I said “great, at least after 2AM, since it was really loud all night.” She explained that they were having some party at the hotel, apologized profusely, and asked if she could maybe credit some Starpoints to my account.


I thought that was rather generous, as I wasn’t expecting anything.

SLS Beverly Hills bottom line

The SLS is a nice hotel. It’s quirky. Very quirky. In some ways I like the quirkiness (like the lobby area), in other ways I don’t (the number of mirrors in the bathroom).

However, I don’t think it’s any nicer than the Andaz, despite the fact that this hotel consistently charges a substantial price premium over the Andaz. The location is arguably preferable since it’s closer to Beverly Hills than West Hollywood, and there are actually places in the immediate area of the hotel you can walk to.

That being said, given the general price this hotel seems to go for, I’ll continue to stick to the Andaz.

If you’ve stayed at the SLS Beverly Hills, what was your experience like?

  1. Looks you had a handicap accessible room. Did you ask for that, or was it assigned to you? I personally dislike those rooms as the bathrooms are never as nice as regular rooms (the handheld shower usually produces far elss water pressure.

  2. Can you really get Starpoints and benefits when you book through a thing like Virtuoso or Amex Luxury Hotels?

  3. @ Ryan — Hmmm, can’t say I noticed much of a difference compared to the standard room. Didn’t ask for it, but maybe all the double bed suites are also accessible?

  4. wasn’t a big fan of the nikko when it occupied this space but hate, hate, hate the interior design of the rooms here now. it’s quintessentially LA in that it’s all some sort of perceived style over substance and it’s almost like they expect people to be filming amateur porn in there with all the mirrors strewn about. totally obnoxious.

    but bazaar is a hell of a restaurant, especially blanca. and i love the surrounding neighborhood.

  5. How can you give an honest review when you ask for compensation? It would be like a food critic saying his steak was over cooked so he asked for a few dollars off his meal and then he would give a good review. It is a hotel where people pay $$ to sleep. Having music going till 2 am should be a variable that pushes a reviewer to say he did not have a good stay and question if they would stay there again.

  6. @ Brent — Huh? I didn’t ask for compensation. At check-out I was asked how my stay was. I shared honest feedback.

  7. I stayed at the hotel before for one night. It was def style over substance and appropriately LA. I didn’t find the area all that interesting, however, since it was very residential. Maybe as I live in NYC, where everything is a lot more accessible, I have a different definition as to what is “walkable”. We did have a car though, and our goal for that trip wasn’t really Beverly Hills. I’m glad that I experienced the hotel, however, would probably not return again.

  8. My apologies,
    Though I am curious why the noise was not a deal breaker? Because your previous stay did not have the same issue?

  9. @Brent – Seriously? Lucky already pointed out that he didn’t ask for compensation, so I’m going to address the second part of your comment. Your analogy seems totally off base. First of all, so what if he asked for compensation and got it? That seems like an important part of customer service – seeing how the hotel reacts to complaints. Also, Ben is completely transparent about the fact that he got compensation, so anyone reading the review knows this and is able to take this into account when assessing the review. Finally, I didn’t read this as a particularly “good” review. Ben even said he’s not going to stay here over the Andaz going forward, so how positive could the review be?

  10. You were in my neighborhood (well, sorta…I’m right in the eastern portion of the 1.9 square miles of City of West Hollywood proper), and you didn’t stop by to say hello?

    FYI, you can get coffee in our area before 7am. Most of the Starbucks around here do open at 6:00am, but a few open at 5:30am and a few open at 5:00am or earlier. When you stay at the Andaz, the Starbucks just east of the hotel opens at 6. If you walk about 1/4 mile to the 8000 Sunset complex where the Crunch gym is, they open at 5:30, and if you drive about a mile further east to Sunset & La Brea, they open at 5:00.

    And from the Beverly Center area, there is one at Robertson & Beverly which opens at 4am. There’s another one over on Melrose & Stanley that opens at 5am (that’s a nice one with a large outdoor seating patio, and it even has 8 parking spaces. Nice baristas who gladly help me feed my green tea addiction on a near-daily basis.).

    Kitchen24, in the heart of the “Boystown” section of WeHo next to the Ramada, is 24/7, and they offer a full coffee bar for dine-in or take-away. Food is really good there too, and there are always interesting folks inside and on the massive outdoor heated patio. Parking, which is always a challenge in WeHo, especially in that area, is easy. They offer free validated parking in the adjacent and convenient Ramada garage

    And if you’re just looking for mediocre diner coffee, Norm’s coffee shop on La Cienega, a few blocks north of the Beverly Center, is 24 hours. So is the uber-glamorous IHOP at Santa Monica Blvd., a block east of La Cienega. The French Market (at Santa Monica & Laurel), while not open early, stays open really late on weekends, so if you need a coffee or something at 3am Sunday morning, they’re still open (catering to the folks who’ve stumbled out of the bars and clubs).

  11. Can’t get a coffee before 7am, oh dear my heart bleeds for you.
    Ever consider that excessive coffee consumption might not be doing your body any good?

  12. We’ll be at the Bazaar this weekend for my birthday…and even though I’m SPG Plat, we are staying at the Andaz ($200 cheaper rate). Also, the Andaz is dog-friendly, whereas the SLS is not (despite calls attempting to get an exception made for us since we’re local, I’m Plat, and the Andaz allows us to bring our dog). The Bazaar is amazing (my favorite restaurant in LA), but I have never had a great experience at the SLS. The Andaz, on the other hand, is always a pleasure.

    We definitely prefer the Andaz, too. Only if you can get a great rate at the SLS is it worth it over the Andaz in my opinion.

  13. Ben, from what I have heard — and from LA legend — all the smoked mirrors in the bathrooms are meant for people to snort rails off of. Which leads to a good question: what’s the best credit card you’d recommend for cutting lines of blow?

  14. @Nick: It’s been a while since I’ve awarded a Comment of the Day prize, but you just won it. The hotel itself doesn’t sound that great. Way back in the day, and before they tore the place down, I used to stay at the Del Capri on Wilshire Boulevard . . . .

  15. Have been evaluating Hyatt and Starwood options for our short LA stay. Am I crazy for wanting to stay at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza? Seems more convenient if you want to do some touristy things.

  16. @ Ivan Y — It depends what touristy things you’re looking at, but in general Century City is pretty boring, though there’s a nice mall nearby. Not where I’d choose to be necessarily, but also a decent option.

  17. @ Brent — The noise sucked. But I’m also used to loud noises in the West Hollywood area, so it didn’t shock me as much as if I were in another city, for example.

  18. I wish more hotels had a mirror in the shower (though I could survive with just one). I shave in the shower at home, so I always make a mess of the sink at hotels since I’m so out of practice…

  19. Dude, you’re the best, but– you were in LA, and you chose to wander around the Beverly Center? Really?

    I imagine that if some 21st century religious movement dedicated to consumerism decided to build a mega-church, and then got the Corrections Corporation of America to build it, the result would be exactly the Beverly Center. I won’t say I never go– there are a few things you can only get there– but for recreation, I think I’d rather “wander around” a bed of nails.

    That area of town is a bit of a shitshow, honestly, but can I recommend, should you find yourself there again, that you wander up to the Pacific Design Center? It’s truly and weird and wacky and wonderful. And it’s not a mall, which is a plus.

  20. @ Rose — To be clear, we were tired and I was expecting it to just be 30 minutes or so. The idea was just to kill a short amount of time somewhere waiting for our room to (hopefully) be ready.

  21. I had a similar check in problem at the SLS South Beach booked through AMEX FHR. Had to wait an hour before we coudl check in no directoins on its limited breakfast option for FHR guest. When my wife and ordered an egg and toast the next day (for $90), at check out I was told we were limited to the Breakfast Table — except they never told us this and never gave us an “instruction card.” I was adamant about beign credited the $90, which they eventually agreed to credit $75. Jose Andres’ restaurant was really the only good thing about the hotel.

  22. thanks for posting, gonna gook this for next week instead of the Bev Hilton. is that an amenity kit on the shelf in the bathroom ?

  23. I really liked this property. The interior is designed wholly by Philippe Starck. It shows.
    By the way – the horse in front of the check-in desk – haven’t you seen that elsewhere (hint: at an airport)?

  24. k, will have to ad an SLS amenity kit to my collection. Trying to get my hands on a JAL red TUMI, not easy.

  25. It’s rather a myth people don’t walk in LA
    Downtown is very up and coming , lots of new hotels , galleries , the Music Center , museums and excellent transport. West Hollywood , Hollywood , Santa Monica , Pasadena, Westwood
    In general anywhere between downtown and the westside which has fairly decent public transport including the metro ( which us being extended ) have lots of areas where you don’t need a car
    Believe it or not I’ve never driven in LA. been dozens of times and walked, used cabs , trains and buses I’ve even walked 12 miles down Wilshire in mid summer when it was 100 degrees ( 35c) There’s the cyclavia where roads are closed off for bikes and pedestrians.
    True if you need to go further a field and be independent a car is great but never say people don’t walk since they do

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *