7370 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Calif.; themomenthotel.com; 39 rooms start at $239 (U.S.).
In Los Angeles, there's a lot of chatter about who's real and who's not, what's "legit" and what's a fad. The Moment, a new boutique hotel situated on the famous Sunset Strip, is the real deal: the staff are knowledgeable and funny, the rooms funky and chic without being pretentious, and the vibe – to use a terribly played-out L.A. term – is way cool.
It's not on the beach, which is where I'd prefer to spend all my time while in California, but Sunset Boulevard is a close runner-up. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a five-minute walk from the Moment, and the homes of famous recording studios and music shops surround the bold orange and white hotel. You'd think the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard would make for a noisy stay, but the blackout shades and quiet rooms made for an excellent escape and peaceful night's sleep.
There's no denying this trendy escape used to be a motel – you can see it in its bones: a low-rise, c-shaped building that's far wider than it is tall. But the full-on Hollywood makeover from lowly motel to chic boutique is top notch: Bright orange, purple and green colour random walls and chunky pillars in an otherwise bright, white space; cool tech abounds with iPhone docks, a virtual concierge – just text your needs! – and multiple flat-screen TVs in my room. Every nook feels deliberately designed in a most art-deco, modern fashion.
There are many to choose from: the well-stocked yet half-empty mini bar (space for your own goodies), the remote controlled blackout blinds, and the plumpest, most comfortable pillows ever. But the best amenity is a simple delight, a Keurig coffee machine. For a caffeine addict such as myself, good and free coffee wins every time.
If I could change one thing
The bathroom was as slick and modern as the rest of the space – with a giant rain shower, shampoo that actually woke me up it smelled so nice, and oh-so modern toilets. But the separation between bed and bath is little more than a few metres with only a frosted glass door in between. This could prove problematic if you're travelling with a companion requiring privacy.
Eat in or eat out
Eat out. The bar wasn't open on my visit – a brief disappointment, which resulted in my best night in the city. Just a few blocks away I discovered a hidden gem. Sadie Kitchen and Lounge was boarded up from the street, but I found a low-key side entrance (which is just so L.A., apparently). I was transported to a Prohibition-era Los Angeles parlour: magnificent, complicated cocktails and nibbles in an outdoor oasis as the band played swing. The lounge was draped in tiny white lights and oozed the most casually cool, not-even-trying attitude. Sadie was a delightful surprise and a nice perk of being in the heart of the city.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.