01. Introduction: Trading wings for rails
02. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner business class San Diego to Los Angeles
03. Sofitel Hotel Beverly Hills
04. Amtrak Pacific Surfliner business class Los Angeles to San Diego
It’s not very often that I walk into the lobby of a hotel and immediately feel out of place, but it totally happened this time. There I was, dressed in worn jeans and sneakers, while everybody else in the lobby was dressed to impress with high heels, expensive suits and tons of expensive looking jewelry. I guess I should’ve expected that with this being Beverly Hills and all, but it did catch me off guard a bit and I was starting to think that I should have brought nicer clothes with me on this journey.
The Sofitel hotel in Beverly Hills is located squarely in the middle of all the glam and glitz that the city of LA has to offer. It’s not exactly on Rodeo Drive, but it’s close, and the lobby feels very “Hollywood”, complete with a red carpet and tons of lights indicating that there are some fairly high-end events that take place here. Judging by all the expensive dresses being worn and Bentleys parked out front, it appeared as if one was happening tonight. Welcome to Hollywood!
Orange juice and champagne was offered to us during check-in, a process that took no more than three minutes before we were on our way to our room on the sixth floor. For a moment there I was starting to wonder if we were “expedited” out of the lobby due to our lack of visible Gucci and Prada accessories!
Opening the door to a hotel room for the first time is always an anxious experience for me, especially after setting my expectations much too high for the Miami international Airport Hotel back in May. I was expecting big things from that room, but I walked into it highly disappointed. Remembering that experience very clearly, I tried to keep my expectations as low as possible as I opened the door.
Long story short, I was satisfied. Not totally impressed, but definitely satisfied considering that we paid over $300 for this room and it was in the heart of Beverly Hills. In other words, I felt the ratio of price vs. location vs. quality seemed to be in pretty good balance. My wife (who doesn’t travel all that much) was more impressed than I. She immediately fell in love with the place, and seemed to be as excited about it as I was when boarding the train earlier that afternoon in San Diego.
Our room was on the backside of the hotel, with views to the north. We had a pretty good view of Hollywood, and it was even possible to see the Hollywood sign in the distance – which was a nice bonus.
Room service, as one would naturally expect from a hotel in Beverly Hills, was outrageously expensive. We returned from the concert that evening hungry and looking for something good to eat, but there was no way we were paying the price they were asking for room service. We ended up settling on a nice Thai restaurant nearby, but the next morning I caved in and ordered a large bowl of oatmeal and orange juice for myself while I waited for my wife to prepare for the day.
Despite feeling a bit out of place when checking in to the Sofitel Beverly Hills Hotel, I did end up feeling much better about the property as we were checking out. It was comfortable, quiet, in an excellent location, and dare I say it: fun. Being in the heart of Beverly Hills is always a fun and interesting experience, and this hotel oozed the glitz and glamour of LA perfectly.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if LA isn’t your thing, you probably won’t like this hotel. But if LA and Hollywood fascinates you, I’m willing to bet that you’re probably going to enjoy the experience of staying here quite a bit.