Hotel Palomar -- A Westside Find

This Kimpton boutique property wows with its eco-consciousness, service and amenities

By: By Linda Kim

You have to marvel at the scrupulous thoughtfulness that has made its way into the construction and maintenance of the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood. From the property’s 100 percent no-smoking policy to its calculated water-efficient fixtures and timed, energy-efficient lighting, this is one undeniably eco-conscious establishment that has seemingly found the delicate balance between conservation and luxury.

King Spa Suites are spacious. // © Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood // (c) 2010

King Spa Suites are spacious. // © Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood

That thoughtfulness extends throughout all facets of this Kimpton boutique hotel’s service and amenities. With jaunty hats and acknowledging nods, the valet personnel are a never-tiring force that expertly kept people in various forms of transport. The concierge even offers guests free contact solution and toothbrushes if they have forgotten to pack them and unflappably handles all forms of human misgivings with professionalism and graciousness.

The 268-room hotel, which opened in April 2008, occupies a prime location on one of Los Angeles’ main arteries, Wilshire Boulevard. Hotel Palomar sits within the bustling Westwood neighborhood, which is home to countless movie premieres and is steps away from the University of California, Los Angeles. The Westside location also provides clients with easy access to Beverly Hills and to the beach cities of Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu, as well as the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles International Airport.

As for the property’s decor, the Hotel Palomar utilizes subtle animal prints which, in other hands, might come off as garish or tacky. Those prints meld together well with bold colors, dim lighting and sparkling accents which are found throughout the guestrooms, hotel lobby and the signature restaurant, Blvd 16. The property’s theme — Art in Motion — seemed an apt description for its Hollywood-influenced accents, offset by warm and inviting tones and amenities. The hotel lobby, in particular, is a tranquil yet busy setting, best enjoyed with cups of steaming, organic coffee and tea from the free bar offered each morning to all hotel guests. In the evenings, a hosted wine hour brings guests out for complimentary glasses of wine.

The Hotel Palomar’s guestrooms are exquisite and a study in space utilization for studio-dwellers such as myself. Standard Deluxe Rooms measure 350 square feet and provide ample space. Vista Deluxe Rooms and Vista King Spa Suites provide expansive views of the city landscape. King Spa Suites measure 650 square feet and offer Fuji soak tubs. A large flat-screen television, a spacious bathroom, storage space and a fully stocked minibar hidden in a heavy, dark armoire are also included in every room. Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available for Kimpton InTouch members and iPod users will be happy to find an iHome docking station/alarm clock. In fact, if Los Angeles and its surrounding Westwood neighborhood were not so vibrant, the hotel’s guestrooms would serve as a tempting reason to spend the night.

The hotel pool is an inviting and chic outdoor space. // © Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood // (c) 2010

The hotel pool is an inviting and chic outdoor space. // © Hotel Palomar Los Angeles – Westwood

And when guests aren’t holed up in their rooms, the outdoor hotel pool is a welcome respite. Surrounded by oversize lounge chairs and sparkling mirrors, it also boasts a fireplace. Even L.A. residents, who are used to warm weather, have to admit to that there’s enormous appeal in having a cocktail and curling up in this breezy, tranquil, cordoned-off area.

When guests wish to do some work or work out, the hotel has them covered with a 24-hour business center (located on the sixth floor) and a 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can even request personal training sessions at the fitness center, if they wish. And while there is no on-site spa on the property, guests can book in-room spa services such as massages, body treatments and facials.

Blvd 16, the hotel’s flagship restaurant, executed all the components of a great culinary find with great swank and professionalism. When it came to the food, diners found classics made with fresh, solid ingredients that are sourced locally whenever possible. The lobster grits came buttery and hot and neatly hid the smooth meat that seemed to appear on every spoonful. The bistro filet was bathed in blue cheese and aged balsamic vinegar, the grass-fed beef cut into a thick slab and offering its own bold flavor to the dish. The drink list is more creative, with offerings prompting the slight nostalgia of favorite flavors — such as the Midnight Express cocktail, a concoction reminiscent of chocolate malts with the same velvet-smooth finish. However, the perfect execution of balance in these drinks requires the nightcap drinker’s vigilance. When made with decaf espresso and kept to just four or five sips, the Midnight Express was the perfect curtain to any day.

Hotel Palomar Los Angeles

Rack rates range from $299 to $399 per night, depending on the room category. Commission: 10 percent. Through March 31, the hotel is offering a Spark Winter Fun Package that includes a $25 food credit per day, per room, and free in-room movies with popcorn (one per night, per room) for an additional $15 per night on top of the best available rate.