Sunday, January 27, 2013

Where to Be Merry: The Incredible Rooftop Experience @ The Hotel Wilshire


The Merriment: A rooftop filled with weekend brunches, a pool, lounge and restaurant; a hotel that’s LEED-certified with superb guest rooms and suites

The Location: Mid-Wilshire


The Vibes: Upscale and modern, yet still very chill and low-key


Good for: When you want to “wow” someone with an authentic “L.A.” experience or when you want a quick weekend getaway, without leaving the city


When-To-Go: Weekends, evenings and of course, 24 hours if you plan to stay there


The $ Factor: Cocktails are about $12; Entrees (depending on when you go) range from around $10-$30; and room rates are $225-$1200


The 4-1-1: The hotel recently celebrated quite a few milestones. Not only did it celebrate its one-year anniversary and become LEED-certified (yay for environmentally-conscious boutique hotels!), but it also joined the Kimpton Hotel family, which also includes Hotel Palomar in Westwood

I’ll Be Back…: To lounge by the pool with a good book and a few endless mimosas 



L.A. doesn’t have a shortage of great rooftops to enjoy, to suit all tastes and expectations. But by far, my favorite right now is the rooftop at The Hotel Wilshire. It’s my getaway of choice that I’ve been ranting and raving about to everyone.

The biggest seller, in my humble opinion, is the aesthetics. An uninterrupted sweeping view of the city, from the West Hollywood Hills to downtown L.A. is right before your eyes, immediately after exiting the elevator. This view literally takes my breath away each and every time I visit. The space itself is very sleek, with clean lines and edges, and contrasts of dark woods and bright colors. The area has a restaurant/bar called The Roof on Wilshire, a small pool surrounded by dining tables with chairs and a few booths, and a sunken-in lounge area featuring an impressive fire pit. The rooftop is on the smaller side, so it feels inviting and intimate, especially under such an expansive sky. While it can get packed, it’s never too, too cramped or crowded. There’s always enough room to spread out and chill.

You might expect a high-end place like this to be snobbish or filled with a snooty clientele, but what I love is that it’s quite the opposite. It’s relaxed and unpretentious; everyone is all about enjoying themselves and the ambiance.

I also love that there are so, so many ways to enjoy the rooftop. 


First, there’s the pool area. I’ve never seen anyone dive right into the pool – they’ve only put a foot or two inside (maybe I’ve gone at the wrong time?). But, I’ve seen many lounge by it, and you don’t have to be a hotel guest or pay any fees to do so. One Sunday morning, I posted up on a lounge chair, ordered a carafe of endless mimosas and read a book for a couple of hours. It definitely turned my day a funday.



The Roof on Wilshire serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and an amazing weekend brunch. I haven’t had a bad meal – or cocktail – here, and I’ve been for brunch, lunch, appetizers and dinner. The Wilshire Grilled Cheese is one of their very popular dishes, with thick Gruyere, a sweet marmalade and roasted peppers between two lightly toasted sourdough bread slices. I also highly recommend something called a Pancake Lasagna (pictured below). It’s three layers thick of fluffy pancakes, piping hot eggs and flavorful sausage soaked in syrup, served during the weekend brunch. 



The rooftop is also great place in the evening, watching the sunset, or at night, by the fire pit. While it can get crowded, it doesn’t feel overly crowded, and it’s easy to have a quiet conversation over a few cocktails. Speaking of cocktails, this past fall, I was loving their mules (pictured to the left), made with house-made ginger beer and a two-day preparation process. It looks like they have a list of winter drinks now, so try one of those for me, and let me know what you think.

The last thing I’ll add about The Hotel Wilshire is that I definitely enjoy their rooms. Simplistically modest and understated, they cater to both the savvy leisure traveler and to the renaissance business traveler, with the functional necessities – cleanliness, comfy bed, ample space – and also added touches, like fluffy robes, iPod docking stations and large flat screen TVs. Plus, the location is only minutes away from business centers like Century City, and from attractions like Museum Row, scores of restaurants and bars and the Miracle Mile area. It’s easy to walk to many places and to catch public transportation.

I honestly don’t think there’s ever a bad time to visit The Hotel Wilshire, whether that’s for a weekend brunch, an evening of cocktails or a mini-weekend getaway. I guarantee you’ll love the rooms and the rooftop – there’s just so much to see and do. I’ll catch you there soon!

For More Information:
The Hotel Wilshire; Facebook