Headed to Los Angeles for Frieze? Here's an Art Writer's Guide to the City's Best Accommodations

Photography by Douglas Friedman. Image courtesy of the Georgian.

The West Side Story

Frieze LA’s Santa Monica location makes it essential for traffic avoidants and first responders to stay on the West Side, if only for easy morning access. They’re few places more pleasurable to select than the Georgian, a refurbished Art Deco property right on the water. The energy is glamorous but intimate. Joggers and dog walkers pass by en masse in the mornings when taking one’s breakfast out on the generous patio. It almost lolls out of the historic hotel’s pretty face towards the water, tables laden with mimosa tribute.

With Tartine’s original location only a stone’s throw away, avocado toast is native fare here. Eat it often. Also pause to admire the Hollywood halcyon-era detailing and the concierge service to match. Serving up a quintessential LA experience with enviable proximity to the main fare, the Georgian checks all the boxes. It is a favorite haunt of artists like Tara Walters, so be sure to people watch. Sales and friendship could be a table away: a reminder for the gossips.

Image courtesy of AC Hotel by Marriott.

The All-Arounder

No one would blame you for wanting to take a pause from art fair activities to slip into another world altogether and that is what this Gemini property across from the Crypto.com Arena, the Lakers stadium, can offer you. One half of the tower hotel caters to those in their early-to-mid 20s: people who go out late and just want a coffee bar and gym and a capsule to call home. The other side is the Downtown Los Angeles AC Hotel by Marriott, a corporate, polished option for the graduated traveler.

The customer here wants a good view, ease, and quiet time away from others without taking themselves out of the action. This attitude extends to the rooftop bar, which lives up to the adopted cosmopolitan standards one might expect from a globe-trotting creative class. The sister hotels share a gym, which makes for intergenerational encounters, as do public moments like the AC Hotel’s creamy sky-high lounge. It’s the perfect amount of privacy for those that don’t want to run into the whole fair in the lobby and might actually prefer to skip dinner for a game. 

Photography by Taylor Kealy. Image courtesy of Sunset Tower Hotel/Instagram.

The Stand-By

If you go to restaurants for the “ambience,” then the Sunset Tower Hotel is the place for you. It is the height of people watching, whether that is a gathering of female comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler congregating by the pool, or art’s more niche celebrities, like a David Kordansky or Eugenio López Alonso. The social quality of the Art Deco-era hotel does mean you have to pack more carefully, especially when considering morning attire. Their bathrobes will do in a pinch. 

The best rooms at the Sunset Tower Hotel are the ones that bring the fishbowl effect to its apotheosis, aka the ones gazing out at the pool through rosy curtains. Standing looking down at who is at the pool while cradling your phone on your shoulder as you pour yourself a drink, it is hard not to feel like some agent of glamor from an era gone by. Like any aging Hollywood starlet, Sunset Tower Hotel’s good bones shine through because of the care that is taken to maintain them. 

Photography by Adrian Gaut. Image courtesy of Two Bunch Palms. 

The Escape

In Robert Altman’s film The Player (1992), Tim Robbins, a shady studio executive, hightails it to the desert with a date to try to wait out the heat when his crimes come to light. He speeds in the fading sunlight to Two Bunch Palms, a historic hotel that has been recently refreshed to great effect. This makes Two Bunch Palms the perfect way to escape your Frieze week demons and recharge your social battery in peace. 

Privacy is one of the many amenities you’ll encounter. The property is speckled with private pools where one can laze about in the naturally occurring hot spring water. Set amongst the palms, as its title suggests, the pools are particularly beautiful at night when the warm glow of lanterns turns the foliage into silhouettes against the dark sky. 

The dress code at Two Bunch Palms is bathrobe forward. This uniform makes the whole place feel like you are at a clinic, except for here you get to self-medicate. They will bring you fresh coconuts to drink, or spike it with rum if you ask. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place.