I recently made a trip to California to celebrate my wife Nicole’s birthday. We flew into San Francisco, drove down the coast through Big Sur, and eventually wound up in Los Angeles.
This trip happened during my first year holding Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status. I was especially looking forward to utilizing my increased benefits, especially after spending roughly $150 and 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on an 11-night “mattress run” earlier in the year.
In This Post
W Hollywood – Booking
The W Hollywood is the only Marriott property that is located right on Hollywood Boulevard. As I only had one and a half days in Los Angeles, staying in a central location was important to me.
I booked us into a Wonderful Room directly through the Marriott Bonvoy website. My intention was to use up some of my recently accumulated Marriott Bonvoy points, which I had transferred during a transfer bonus promotion.
At the time, the going rate for the hotel was 50,000 points, which would later drop down to 45,000 points during the “Week of Wonders” promotion. Both prices were below the benchmark of our 0.6 cents per point (USD) valuation, when compared to the going cash rate of $245 USD ($337 CAD).
While 45,000 points for my stay would get me close to the minimum desired redemption valuation, I ultimately decided to pay cash. Given the rather sparse amount of Bonvoy points I currently hold, I’d rather save them strategically for aspirational redemptions, as I had my sights on a stay at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli.
I paid for a portion of my stay using my American Express US Gold Card, which had an Amex Offer to spend $200 and get $50 back. The balance was paid on a Marriott Bonvoy gift card, which I had purchased in BC to take advantage of the Discover Canada promotions at the time.
Without getting into the math too much, I ended up paying around $180 USD ($248 CAD), if not less, for my room at the W Hollywood. I consider that to be a bargain.
W Hollywood is a property that is eligible for Marriott Luminous bookings. By booking a Marriott Luminous rate, you can receive additional benefits at the same rate you’d pay when booking directly with the hotel.
W Hollywood – Location
The W Hollywood is located right on Hollywood Boulevard. As you exit the hotel, you will be greeted by the names of famous stars as you stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A short walk away, you’ll find famous attractions, such as the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre, the El Capitan Theatre, Madame Tussauds, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. If you’re travelling by car, Griffith Observatory and Universal Studios are both just a 10-minute ride away.
While there is an abundance of venues where you can indulge in food and drink, I wanted to mention three places that stood out to me. All are within a 10-minute walking distance of the hotel.
I found Mad Labs to serve up a wicked cup of coffee. A small family-owned shop, they’ve gained a formidable reputation not only locally, but have taken home awards from Roast Masters in NYC.
The Musso & Frank Grill is an old school steakhouse that has been serving up good eats in Hollywood since 1919. If you want to take a step back in time I would recommend making a reservation.
A little easter egg to look out for is on the servers right cuff. Each golden star represents five years that person has worked at the venue, and I was shocked to see someone sporting eight stars, marking 40 years of service.
Sticking to the old-school theme, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a speakeasy-style bar situated behind a vintage fridge door, and boasts some pretty spectacular cocktails. It tends to fill up quickly, so I would recommend getting there early to secure a place to sit.
If you’re looking to snap some photos of the Hollywood sign, skip the Griffith Park Observatory. Instead go to Canyon Lake Drive, where you’ll find a much better viewpoint of the sign.
W Hollywood – Check-in
After spending most of my day battling L.A. traffic, I arrived at the W Hollywood around 4pm. I was welcomed by the valet team, who unloaded my car and arranged for my luggage to be brought directly to my room.
While I always opt for self parking, the W Hollywood only offers valet service for $60.50 USD per day. Without another option to choose from, I handed over my keys, collected my valet ticket, and made way into the lobby.
Once in the lobby, I headed to one of the four check-in kiosks that were available. I initially looked for the elite check-in counter, but was disappointed to see the property didn’t have one.
There was no line up, so in this particular situation, it didn’t make a difference to the time it took for me to check-in. With the W being a premium brand, this type of attention to detail and creating an overall better guest experience for their most loyal customers should be a priority, in my opinion.
Going through a fairly standard check-in procedure, I was offered a choice between points or a welcome amenity, which satisfied the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Welcome Gift guarantee. The representative showed me a copy of the breakfast menu, and gave me directions on how to use the in-room dining to order in the morning.
I also received a complimentary upgrade to the Garden WOW Suite, which was a pleasant surprise to say the very least. It definitely added a wow factor to my stay.
Prior to my arrival, I’d engaged in some “suite-talking” shortly after making my reservation. I reached out to the hotel via email, introducing myself as a Titanium Elite member, and shared some details about my upcoming stay.
I expressed my excitement about visiting Los Angeles for the first time, and that the purpose of my stay was to celebrate Nicole’s birthday, and that the suite I was hoping to be upgraded to, perhaps a Fantastic or Marvelous Suite.
While my requests for these particular suites ultimately weren’t fulfilled, I was very grateful for the even better upgrade that I received in the end.
W Hollywood – Garden WOW Suite
I was upgraded to the Garden WOW Suite for my one night stay on the property. It’s a massive 1,240 square foot room with a 609 square foot private terrace, which definitely puts this at the largest hotel suite I’d ever had the privilege of staying in up to that point.
The Garden WOW Suite has a very modern and chic-like feel to it, staying in line with the overall theme of the property. This represented the L.A. experience I was looking for.
With large open spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and elegant furnishings, this suite surely did not disappoint.
The suite design was indicative of being a space to host your guests in. You enter into a foyer-like area with an attached powder room, before moving into the main section of the suite.
Within the main area of the suite, you’ll find hardwood flooring and a large 10-person glass dining table that sits underneath three large dimmable light fixtures to set any mood. The dining room has a small adjoining bar with a fridge, where beverages can be stored, and a small kitchen area, where snacks can be prepared.
Nicole and I found a bottle of wine, a charcuterie board, and a handwritten birthday card on this table. After a long six-hour drive, arriving at our room with a little spread elevated our mood even further, and we continued to explore our suite with a glass of wine in hand.
The room transitioned from a dining space to a living room, with an exceptionally large five-piece sectional being the focal point of the space. The living room was very well lit, and the surprisingly comfortable couch gave us an unobstructed view of the private garden terrace.
All of the curtains were controlled electronically by a remote on the wall.
Venturing out onto the terrace, there was a lounge-style seating area, a long outdoor table, and enough plants around to give a garden vibe. A sign on the wall indicated that the maximum capacity for the terrace was 45 people, so of course it was abundantly large for just the two of us.
We enjoyed our wine and charcuterie board on the terrace. Even as it approached November, the weather in California was still pushing 20 degrees Celsius, and we enjoyed spending time outdoors.
Continuing our tour of the suite, we passed by a small desk area before heading into the bedroom and main bathroom. The bedroom was furnished with a floating king bed and bedside tables over a plush purple rug, a very stylish design that was well in line with the theme of the hotel and the rest of the room.
The W Hollywood was built in 2009, so it’s not old by any means. While I found all other aspects of the property had been kept up-to-date, the bathroom in this suite has definitely been neglected.
The floor tiles were stained yellow, and the tub had seen better days.
In the shower, there were two rain features, both of which were not working. The jacuzzi tub had a infinity-style overflow design which I was excited to use, but unfortunately the stopper was broken, and the tub could not hold water.
Another strange thing I noticed was that the tub fills from the ceiling. I would say this was a neat gimmick, but a result of the water falling from such a great height meant the water was just splashing everywhere, making it a not very functional feature.
W Hollywood – Breakfast
The W Hollywood’s breakfast for Marriott Bonvoy elite members can be enjoyed in either the lobby restaurant, Delphine, or using the hotel’s in-room dining service. Nicole and I chose to head down to the restaurant to enjoy our breakfast.
We were given three options for breakfast: yogurt and granola parfait, breakfast burrito & home fries, or two eggs any style with bacon or sausage, toast and home fries. We also had a choice of coffee, tea, or juice.
Generally speaking, I found the breakfast to be a bit underwhelming. The service in the restaurant was non-existent, with our waiter being rushed and abrasive during our limited interactions. It was a shameful mark against an otherwise perfect experience at the W Hollywood.
W Hollywood – Other Facilities
While I didn’t have the opportunity to visit the fitness centre, I was able to briefly pop up to the pool. The pool definitely had L.A. vibes to it, with a large bar area, plenty of little cabanas to sunbathe in, incredible views of the city, and even a view of the Hollywood sign.
W Hollywood – Service
During my correspondence with the property prior to my arrival, I had connected with Kiara, the W Hollywood’s W Insider. The role is otherwise known as a Guest Experience Coordinator.
I can say with confidence that my time at the W Hollywood would not have been the same without her, and she truly exhibited a level of professionalism and customer service that I rarely come across. Kiara embodies what hospitality is all about, and went out of her way on numerous occasions to make sure that Nicole and I were well taken care of.
When I had initially reached out to the W informing them that I would be in town to celebrate a special occasion, she was excited for us to be guests at the hotel, and asked me what some of Nicole’s interests and hobbies were so she could plan something special for us.
She emailed me back with options, such as making reservations at local venues where we could celebrate, connecting us with a local yoga studio for a couples’ yoga session, and even arranging for a photographer to take photos in the local Hollywood area. All of these activities were outside of what the hotel provides to its guests as a service, and stemmed from Kiara’s desire to make sure that guests that walk through the door of the W Hollywood had a memorable time.
It’s safe to say that she succeeded, and my time at the W Hollywood will not soon be forgotten. I highly encourage anyone planning to take a trip to Hollywood to make sure the W is on your list of places to go, and to connect with Kiara to arrange any special elements of your stay.
The W brand of hotels is always delightful to stay at, and the W Hollywood is no different. If you’re searching for a place to stay in the heart of Hollywood, the W is sure to impress.
Its location can’t be beat when looking to fill your day with activities that are just a stone’s throw away. Furthermore, we had a wonderful experience with the hotel’s W Insider, who went out of her way to ensure our stay was memorable.
I hope that the small missteps during our stay, including service during breakfast and the state of our room’s bathroom, are remedied in the near future, which would make stays at the W Hollywood even better.