Just back from a 5 night stay at the Grafton on Sunset Blvd on Los Angeles. It's a nice little boutique hotel in the middle of everything but I have to say - the staff were quite rude and didn't particularly care about you unless they were making money off you. The hotel gears itself more towards the younger customer - people in their twenties - so you don't get many mature people here. Most people seemed to arrive back at 3 in the morning. We booked direct with the hotel, but two weeks beforehand I checked Expedia and they were doing the same room for £300 less - so we saved £150 each which was brilliant. I think we paid £350 for 5 nights in the end - which is pretty unheard of for a 4 star hotel in a location like this. Reception smells very nicely (weirdly - think of Abercrombie and Fitch stores!) but the rest of the hotel smells a bit musty - and aircon is only in the rooms and reception and not corridors so it gets a bit warm. Reception is pretty with some nice seating and décor going, with a bar next door and a seating bit outside that overlooks the pretty pool and Hollywood hills.
As we checked into the Grafton we were asked for a credit card even though we had paid in full months ago. We had maxed out our credit card in Vegas unfortunately so had to pay reception $200 which they held til we checked out. Was annoyed about this but policy apparently. So the woman behind the counter was fairly rude to us when she realised we didn't have a credit card to rack up charges on (there was her commission gone no doubt) so got treated like dirt after this which we didn't appreciate since we'd paid for the room like the rest of their guests! Even if we'd had a credit card we never used the mini bar anyway so would never had racked up a bill.
We were given our room cards, no porters were around so the two of us lugged our 5 cases down to the room, only to open it and see two guys on their laptops - the room was already in use. We couldn't believe it. That could have been very embarrassing if it was midnight and people were asleep or up to other things! So I marched back to reception and told them the room was in use and I couldn't believe they'd just given us a key to someone else's room. The receptionist was pretty non plussed and said 'oh yes they've just called me to tell me' while scribbling something down - no doubt they got a discount on their room for the error but we didn't even get an apology. She simply swiped another card and said here's the replacement card, no 'sorry for the inconvenience' or anything. I asked for a porter to help with our bags since we'd have to drag all the way from the first room, back to reception, back to the lifts, down two floors and along the corridor to the second room but she said no one was around right now. After their mistake you'd think one of the people behind the desk (reception was empty too) would help us but no.
By the time we got to our room we were pretty annoyed. The room was nice, boutique hotels are always decorated quite randomly and this was no exception. We had a twin room and one bed had a picture of a womans legs above it, the other had a picture of a womans boobs above it (not naked I hence to add, in clothes!). It was actually a nice room - very modern. The beds were comfy with zebra print duvet covers - the wardrobe door was mirrored so we were pleased we had a full length mirror, and when you opened the door the wardrobe was a 'walk in' one with a chest of drawers inside, a safe, a very small clothes rail (I have to say it didn't hold much) an ironing board and a hairdryer. The bathroom was nice but the window didn't open so it got very hot after showering. Again they had a mini fridge which we stored our own drinks in but didn't buy theirs as they were overpriced. And on the dressing table they had a tray full of drinks, crisps and chocolate which we tipped into a drawer and put back on our last day - we weren't going to eat it at $10 a chocolate bar were we so why have it sitting there!? The aircon in the rooms worked well but was VERY noisy at night - so much so we turned it off a few nights as my friend had trouble sleeping.
We used the hotels internet here (wireless) which was reasonably priced actually - $3.99 per day. But on our first day the internet kept going for 2 days before I got asked to pay again so technically got a day free. Not bad for a 4 star LA hotel.
There was also a big chest of drawers in the bedroom and a massive TV with several channels. There were no curtains, just wooden shutters which were fine but it got very light in the room very early in the morning. On the floor by the pool (which we were on) there was free water and iced tea all day and free tea and coffee in the mornings which was great actually. The pool itself was small but very pretty - all lit up in purple and green in the evenings - they gave you free towels to use as well and there was a phone by the pool for ordering food which was brought down to your sunbed. There was an ice machine and a snack machine by the pool too full of the usuals (fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps etc).
On the top floor the hotel also had a business centre which was free (internet and printing) although it wasn't working when I tried to use the printer. Luckily the night staff at reception were nicer than the day staff and let me behind the counter to use their private printer. I don't think the nasty girl who works during the day would have let me!
The hotel is on Sunset Blvd - right in the middle of everything. One way you have Beverly Hills and the other you have Hollywood Blvd. When the bellboy is actually around he will drive you for free to the local area (shopping centres, bars, restaurants etc) - you just have to tip him. So it does cost you but it works out less than a taxi. And more reliable. The hotel is opposite the Comedy Store and 2 minutes from the Laugh Factory and House of Blues. McDonalds is about a ten-fifteen minute walk down the road and there is a bus stop right next to the hotel (both sides of the road). The buses are reliable (more on these in my LA city review). We used the hotel to book two trips - one to Disney and one on the Hollywood Homes tour - the guy who did it, did it well for us and sorted it all out for us. About the only nice thing I have to say about some of the 'day staff' here.
All in all the Grafton was a nice enough place to stay but two of the staff were rude and non plussed about you unless you spent lots of money with them. The rooms were cute and modern and the hotel is in a great spot. I would have stayed again if it hadn't been for the rudeness of one particular woman at reception. The Standard and Mondrian are right next door to the Grafton and so I think I'll give one of those a go next time.
I had probably heard more bad things about Los Angeles than good so it was with some trepidation that we decided to spend the final three nights of our honeymoon in the city of angels. Furthermore, after having spent the rest of the trip being pampered and pandered to in some of the best five star hotels in the places we visited, this time we decided to try something a bit different.
The Grafton on Sunset is certainly not down-market; in fact it is a boutique four-star hotel. However the other hotels we stayed in on honeymoon were elegant, sophisticated and definitely very grown up, whereas this one came across as being younger, funkier and situated in a location known for its nightlife, Sunset Boulevard. In the end we decided this could be just the ending to the trip that we wanted.
I first identified the hotel through searches on expedia and octopus, however I then went to the hotel's own website and booked directly. It was slightly cheaper booking directly and the other advantage was that I could be very specific about the room I wanted. This was of importance to me as I had read some reviews of the hotel and a number of people had mentioned it being quite noisy in the street facing rooms or rooms overlooking the pool. By booking directly, I was able to select a non-street facing, non-pool overlooking corner room, the other advantage of the corner being that these rooms are a tad bigger.
The hotel is located in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. I found the location reasonably convenient. During the daytime we generally had to take a taxi to wherever we were planning to visit that day, this is not the kind of hotel that taxis queue outside but it was usually reasonably easy to find one nearby. In the evening, we thought the location was ideal and we loved strolling down the lively boulevard and having a whole host of bars and restaurants to choose from.
Check in was quick and easy, there was nobody else waiting or at the reception desk when we arrived and we were soon on our way to the exact room I had booked some months earlier. The most popular rooms in the hotel are the ones overlooking the pool and these have a door leading directly out to it, but this was not for me as I prefer peace and quiet once that door is closed.
Our first impressions were very good. The décor was modern and very hip. Not what I would want in my own home but we were impressed and it was in complete contrast to the traditional and fairly grand décor we had seen in all the other hotels we stayed in on honeymoon.
The chic styling continued through to the bedrooms. Nevertheless I thought that the walls, which were a kind of mucky lime green colour, made the room quite dark and I would have liked something a bit brighter and lighter. Other than this is was very attractively furnished but then I have always liked funky animal skin prints. The room was smaller than we had become accustomed to elsewhere on this trip, but it was far from being too small and we were certainly not falling over each other. The king size bed had a feather top mattress and was so comfortable that I subsequently made sure I had one of these when I bought my next bed at home.
The rooms are well equipped with technology, as well as a flat screen TV we had a DVD and CD player and even an I-Pod docking station. To be honest I could have done without the latter, as I was then worried that the people on either side of me would take advantage and play their music very loud; the hotel certainly struck me as one that would appeal to party animals, whereas I like to go to bed at a sensible hour.
The hotel has a restaurant and cocktail bar, we didn't eat here but we did tend to start our evening with a quick drink in the cocktail lounge before we hit the Sunset Strip. We noted that it attracted non-residents as well as residents and we found the service friendly and the prices reasonable. In-room service is available from 7am until about midnight, we used it for breakfast and we found this to be reasonably priced and the food was high quality. It was a great tart to every day.
The only issue we encountered during this stay was when it came to check out and we had an international flight to catch. We had been told there was no point booking a taxi and they would flag one for us when we needed it, but in the end it was bedlam in reception with lots of people wanting taxis at around the same time. Being somebody who likes to get to the airport early, this did nothing positive for my stress levels.
We paid $209 excluding taxes per night, this was a few years ago, but I have just checked and prices are pretty much unchanged, perhaps a little lower. The Grafton seemed more of a three star hotel than a four star to me, nevertheless it is a stunning, ultra chic property in a good location and I think this represents excellent value for money. I would like to stay here again were I to return to LA (which incidentally I loved, despite those original concerns). The one thing that might make me hesitate is that it seems to be marketed towards a younger, hipper clientele and I would be wary of checking in at the same time as a party crowd.