Mid-century chic meets SoCal cool: A review of the Thompson Hollywood
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Editor’s note: Welcome to our new TPG hotel reviews! We’re trying out some novel formats as we rate hotels around the globe, aiming to help readers decide where to stay and where to skip. We’ll still do some of our signature in-depth versions, as well as longer-form pieces for hotels we think readers will be the most curious about. For now, though, we’re going to keep things snappy and give you all the information you need if you plan to visit the same hotels that we decide to check out.
On a related note, before booking any travel, be sure to keep up to date with our country-by-country guide to pandemic-era travel restrictions and requirements.
Swanky rooftop pool: Check. Spacious, design-driven rooms: Check. Chic lobby lounge: Check. The Thompson Hollywood ticks all the usual L.A. hotel boxes and, with a little refinement, will be a new standout option in town.
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For the past few decades, Angelenos and tourists alike avoided the gritty thoroughfares of Hollywood for more glamorous corners of town. However, a recent renaissance has turned this long-neglected neighborhood into a hospitality hot spot, with new hotels ranging from Mama Shelter and the Dream to the most recent entrant: the Thompson Hollywood. The latest outpost of Hyatt’s fast-expanding label hits most of the right notes, with thoughtfully designed rooms (think equal parts Scandinavian chic and laid-back SoCal vibes), a happening rooftop pool and bar, a celebrity trainer-designed gym and a lobby lounge whose furniture you might want to take home with you. Once more amenities launch and some service issues are ironed out, this might become one of the best Hyatt options in town.
If you’re flying into town, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a 45–60 minute drive and around $40–$50 in a rideshare. Burbank (BUR) is another decent option that takes 30–45 minutes and costs between $25–$35 in a rideshare.
The Thompson Hollywood has 174 rooms and just 16 suites (so save your World of Hyatt Globalist upgrades for another stay). Room rates start at around $260 per night, while suites start at $440 or so. As this is a Hyatt Category 6 hotel, award nights for standard rooms are 25,000 points. Expect to pay another $50 per night in taxes, as well as a $25 destination fee for complimentary coffee in the morning, use of the gym and pool, and discounts at some local attractions.
- The gorgeous rooftop pool feels like a sun-splashed David Hockney painting come to life.
- The mix-and-match mid-century mod décor of the lobby lounge will provide you with all kinds of interior design inspiration.
- Rooms feel spacious and quiet in a part of town where hustle and bustle are the typical tempo.
- To a person, the staff are as welcoming and warm as the famous L.A. weather.
- Like any new hotel, this one has a few kinks to work out, including well-meaning but hit-or-miss service at Bar Lis and the rooftop terrace.
- For now, the food choices are limited and room service is nonexistent.
- You might want to think twice before taking a stroll in the neighborhood at night due to issues with unhoused people and rowdy partygoers hopping between hotels.
Hollywood’s newer hotels all have a similar outward aesthetic — boxy exteriors with a few eye-catching elements. At the 11-story Thompson Hollywood, the industrial facade hides a twilight-y atrium with a living wall of plants. The fun of discovery continues inside as a nondescript reception area gives way to a lobby lounge replete with a mishmash of mid-century modern furnishings and artfully hung chandeliers courtesy of London-based architecture studio Tara Bernerd & Partners. The beautifully back-lit (if not yet functional) green onyx-topped cocktail bar is bound to become a mingling mainstay, though some guests might prefer the alfresco ambiance of the hotel’s rooftop venues.
First, the downsides. Standard rooms are set along the building’s interior core, so you might want to keep those curtains drawn. The disadvantage of being “upgraded” to a city view room is that your view might, in fact, be of a parking lot…with noisy construction that starts early in the morning, though soundproofed windows do their job. As for positives, rooms are about 270–320 square feet and expertly laid out with 55-inch wall-mounted Chromecast-capable televisions, compact credenzas hiding well-stocked minibars and window-side chaises with marble-topped tables serving equally well as lounging corners and workspaces. Beds are dressed in crisp Egyptian cotton and framed by dual-level wood and glass nightstands as well as power ports with AC plugs and USB slots.
Efficiently arranged terrazzo bathrooms with single vanities, walk-in showers and separate W.C. areas continue the clean, streamlined look. Fragrant, full-sized D.S. & Durga Bowmakers bath amenities are just the cherry on top.
Food and drink
For now, the dining options are as limited as a Tik Tok-famous teenager’s acting range. There’s no room service yet, but chef Lincoln Carson is expected to open a modern French bistro called Mes Amis any day. In the meantime, guests are treated to continental breakfast at the rooftop bar, including muffins and croissants, fresh fruits, cereal and tea or coffee. (Breakfast is part of the destination fee at this property.)
Also on the roof level, Bar Lis takes its inspiration from the 1960s French Riviera with celebrity portraits and plenty of pastels, but postcard-worthy Hollywood Sign views and modern-day L.A. prices. Cocktails like the effervescent Summer Spritz ($16) with Casamigos tequila, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, orange blossom water and soda are tongue-tingling accompaniments to the menu of small dishes, including a luscious smoked salmon dip with dill, trout roe and house-made potato chips ($19).
Amenities and service
Given the hotel’s small physical footprint, you won’t find a full-service spa or sprawling grounds. The second-floor fitness center was designed by celebrity trainer (and former L.A. Lakers director of strength and endurance) Gunnar Peterson, but its limited square footage means you might have to wait on equipment like the single Peloton bike. The real draw is the cute and uncrowded rooftop pool, where terrycloth-lined loungers are shaded by cheerfully striped umbrellas and potted olive trees and the views stretch from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific. Attendants drop by periodically to disinfect the furniture and take food and drink orders from the adjacent bar. On the whole, service at the hotel is friendly but a housekeeping request went unanswered for several hours (and was apologized for at checkout), and high-touch surfaces, including elevator buttons, could stand more frequent wipe downs.
Out and about
Hollywood might not be your neighborhood of choice for a casual L.A. jaunt, but if you’re in town for business, its central location makes meetings on the Westside or downtown equally convenient…as long as you can avoid the tourist hordes checking out the stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s also close to Universal Studios and popular hiking spots like Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park. At night, the surrounding streets end up mostly deserted, so you will probably want to take a rideshare, even to nearby destinations.
As a new build, the hotel has incorporated up-to-date accessibility features including wheelchair-friendly ramps in the public areas, elevator buttons and emergency call systems; strobe-light emergency indicators and smoke detectors; and ADA-compliant rooms with wide doors and lowered thermostat and light switches as well as peepholes and door latches. Pool attendants can quickly assemble a pool entry system upon request, too.
According to Madonna, “Everybody comes to Hollywood.” But not everyone is lucky enough to stay, especially in a hotel that feels as cool as the new Thompson Hollywood. Once the lobby lounge and the hotel’s signature restaurant, Mes Amis, are fully operational, it’s bound to become a new hot spot in the area. Perhaps that will justify the high points price of award nights. That said, you might opt for another part of town if you want walkability or to be closer to the beach.
Featured photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy.
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