Palihotel Melrose

West Hollywood, Los Angeles, United States Book from US$185

Reviewed by Anna G-Jones
A fun, no-frills boutique hotel in Melrose, attached to an inventive diner-restaurant
Set in the heart of the Melrose district, this trendy new opening is the sister hotel to upmarket Palihouse Holloway nearby, but offers a more scaled-down approach to boutique, with a distinct hipster vibe. There are just 32 rooms and minimal communal space other than a pretty internal courtyard and a discreet lobby area, but there's a simple Thai massage spa, a blow-dry salon, and the décor is deliciously vintage; 30-something European travellers will be in heaven.

Sandwiched between the boutiques of Melrose, the clandestine cocktail bars of Hollywood, the nightclubs of WeHo and the tourist attractions of the Sunset Strip, this wood-clad building was once an old people's home, and now offers a good-value base for exploring LA's urban sprawl. Don’t spend all of your time out though; have as many meals as possible in the hotel's adjoining diner-restaurant, The Hart and The Hunter. Offering an innovative take on seasonal and fusion cuisine, this pop-up style eatery is the latest place on the block to hang out and be seen.

Highs

  • The artsy environment; a true Los Angeles experience without breaking the bank
  • Stylishly outfitted with characterful knick-knacks, quirky art, piles of hardcovers, leather armchairs and colour-pop cushions
  • Custom beds and luxury linens gave us a comfortable night's sleep
  • Delicious butter biscuits with fruit, cheese and spiced honey for breakfast plus other unusual meals at The Hart and The Hunter
  • A great, central location

Lows

  • Light on trimmings: no temperature control, kettle, phone, alarm clock, wardrobes or drawers in your room. There's little in the way of glamour
  • No room service and minimal staff on-hand to help and serve generally
  • Thin walls and set right on a busy road, so although we slept well, noise may be an issue for some; bring ear plugs
  • More kitsch than functional, so better suited to young vacationers rather than older guests travelling with work

Best time to go

Los Angeles is a 24/7, year-round destination, with sights and attractions open for tourists most days of the year. In terms of weather, things can get steamy in July/August/September, and evenings will be cool in the winter months, but generally you’re in for a treat with fair weather and blue skies.

Our top tips

Rent a car! The automobile rules LA and having one will greatly enhance your time here. Drive to East LA and explore the trendy areas of Silver Lake and Echo Park, or head to the coast for a sundowner.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 32
  • Adjoining diner-restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Blow-dry hair salon
Room:

Rooms

Warm tones and vintage furnishings create a cosy vibe in the 32 rooms, though they feel a little dark. There are 4 types to choose from (Double or 3 Queen options, some with sofabeds), and whilst each room has its own unique aesthetic, common themes are found across all: cork walls on at least one side, grey shagpile carpeting, deep greens, woody browns, rich purples and firm, delightfully comfortable beds. The Dean & Deluca branded minibars offer tempting snack options, several Queen rooms have step-out balconies, and complimentary WiFi runs throughout.

I liked the eclectic furnishings and characterful desks and chairs, but I wasn't wild about the lack of in-room facilities. The 'all you need, nothing you don’t' ethos quickly wears thin. There are no wardrobes or drawers - instead, hangers on a funky ladder - and there are no phones, kettles or alarm clocks. More importantly, there are no temperature controls, and the rooms can get very hot.

The flatscreen TVs, settee sofas and shabby-chic details are appealing but it’s the bathrooms that are the saving grace of these overly un-done rooms. Despite being small, everything is there. The robes are plush, the tubs are deep, and the fittings are classy enough to make you feel like you’re in a 1950s Hollywood Hills home. But no hot soak in the bath can take away from the fact that these rooms have little in the way of glamour.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Desk
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Iron (on request)
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The Hart and The Hunter was the jewel in my Pali experience. Adjacent to the lobby, this diner-style restaurant is a casually sharp hangout, open to be seen in for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is dynamic and different, taking ingredients from near and inspiration from far. The staff are passionate and knowledgeable, and play a significant role in the experience, which is about tasting not just re-fuelling.

Breakfast is not your average American fare. Choose from butter biscuits with fruit, cheese and spiced honey (amazing, melt-in-the-mouth), a more traditional yoghurt, granola and fruits, or sweet treats like lemon bars and cherry almond scones. Basically, don’t expect a '1 egg, 2 eggs' type menu, and be sure to wash it all down with their Handsome coffee. At weekends, delicious-sounding brunches include shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and pecan praline pancakes.

Lunches are great-value and flavoursome - perhaps kale salad with apples, sheep's cheese and a walnut vinagarette, or a grilled steak bowl with roasted veg and salsa verde.

Dinner fuses concepts and ingredients from the American South with bold, fresh blasts of flavour. The shrimp boil, Andouille sausage, corn and potato dish was interesting and delicious. The sprouting broccoli with chilli vin was bursting with flavour. And we wanted all the puddings: chicory coffee ice cream with hot fudge sauce, warm apple dumplings, lemon ice box pie... but we couldn't resist having the biscuits again!

There are heaps of other restaurants nearby; ask reception for a recommendation.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Shop! Trendy Melrose Avenue is on your doorstep, and shopping meccas such as Rodeo Drive, The Grove and the Beverly Center are nearby
  • Have a bone-cracking traditional massage in the hotel's 'Thai Thai' spa
  • Explore Hollywood - visit the Walk of Fame on Sunset Strip, take a bus trip round the stars' homes, hike up to the Hollywood sign to feel small, then do a tour of Paramount Studios
  • Have a glamorous blow-dry at the hotel's 'Vanity' salon then head to local rooftop lounge bars to drink cocktails as the sun sets
  • Take a cab to the ocean and stroll along the sand between the iconic Venice boardwalk and Santa Monica pier
  • Spend a morning at the Pacific Design Center or browse art and interior design galleries on Robertson Blvd
  • The legendary House of Blues on Sunset Strip serves up addictive ribs and performances by the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Robin Trower and Morrissey

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Film studios
  • Historical sites
  • Live music
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Whilst children are welcome, there are no specific facilities to keep them entertained. Baby cots can be provided, babysitting can be arranged, and Queen rooms have a pullout sofabed for 1 extra person.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

On request.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Palihotel Melrose