When calculating the cost of a trip, don't forget to factor in L.A.'s hefty taxes: 14 percent per room per night on all hotel stays and an 8.25 percent sales tax on food, clothing, and other merchandise.
BEVERLY HILLS Beverly Terrace
469 N. Doheny Dr., 310/274-8141, hotelbeverlyterrace.com
Quaint tropical retreat with an upscale veneer but a laid-back vibe. Not far from Rodeo and Sunset. Rooms are decorated with Asian and retro influences--straw window blinds, palms, and fresh-cut bamboo stems for luck. The casual, compact swimming pool and garden lounge area often erupts into what feels like a backyard party. From $99, includes continental breakfast and parking.
BEVERLY HILLS The Crescent
403 N. Crescent Dr., 310/247-0505, crescentbh.com
A no-frills boutique hotel that's surprisingly comfortable. The black-and-white rooms are quiet havens. An entertainment center has CDs and DVDs, and there's an indoor/outdoor fireplace in the lobby lounge. From $165.
DOWNTOWN Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles
506 S. Grand Ave., 213/624-1011, millenniumhotels.com
Historic and grand, the 1923 monument makes visitors feel like royalty. Once home to a few Academy Awards ceremonies, this Italian-inspired beauty has towering columns, and frescoes on the ceiling. Guest rooms feature gold and ivory tones and classic furniture. Some have marble bathrooms. From $150.
HOLLYWOOD The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd., 800/950-7667, hollywoodroosevelt.com
Said to be haunted by ghosts of Hollywood past. Recent renovations have preserved its Spain-meets--Old Hollywood exterior, and chocolate-brown rooms have been freshened with modern decor. The poolside lounge, Tropicana Bar, is one of the hottest spots in town (see p. 6). From $139.
LA BREA / MIRACLE MILE Farmer's Daughter Hotel
115 S. Fairfax Ave., 323/937-3930, farmersdaughterhotel.com
The ultranice staff members take pride in their work, and it shows. Country charm fuses with a playful decor that gives a nod to the neighborhood farmer's market. Murals of waving wheat line the walls, and vintage lattice furniture is upholstered in gingham and denim. Formerly a cheap spot for Hollywood hopefuls to get their footing (including Charlize Theron when she first moved to L.A.). From $129.
MANHATTAN BEACH Belamar Hotel
3501 N. Sepulveda Blvd., 310/750-0300, thebelamar.com
Just a few blocks' walk to downtown Manhattan Beach. Rooms have sumptuous beds with down comforters, as well as flat-screen TVs. Accents include silly portraits of Chihuahuas. The hotel's bar and performance venue, Vibe, features live music most evenings. From $149.
WEST HOLLYWOOD The Grafton on Sunset
8462 W. Sunset Blvd., 323/654-4600, graftononsunset.com
All of the rooms use feng shui principles and feature ergo-nomic furniture, but the plush, themed suites on the fourth floor are the most fun--options include a cutesy starlet's pad, a Rat Pack hangout, and a graffiti artist's playground. A Medi-terranean courtyard and elegant swimming pool complete the eclectic picture. The hotel provides a free shuttle (a green PT Cruiser) to bars and restaurants within a three-mile radius. From $169.
SPLURGE Avalon Hotel
9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310/277-5221, avalonbeverlyhills.com
The modern, tropically decorated rooms have funky bamboo accents, designer linens and bathrobes, and CD players. In-room spa treatments and 24-hour room service assure guests a true Beverly Hills experience. The balconies and Blue on Blue, the popular poolside restaurant with cabanas, are good for people-watching. From $239.
140 140 Lasky Dr., Beverly Hills, 310/281-4000, maison140beverlyhills.com
Looks like a small historic Parisian hotel from the outside. Inside, guests are greeted by chic modern decor, but the ambience isn't cold; it feels like a private Beverly Hills home. Fine Asian reproduction furniture in vibrant colors and abstract art add flair to the 43 rooms. From $189.
AREA CODES DECODED
In a city infamous for sprawl, it's no surprise that area codes have struggled to keep up. On August 26, 2006, 424 will join L.A.'s three main area codes, and some rules will change. Those in the 310 and 424 regions will need to dial 1, then the area code and the seven-digit phone number, when making all calls. Local and long distance rates will remain the same.