Low-Key LA Luxury: 12 Affordable Hotels in
by Daniel | Last Updated October 1st, 2019
Los Angeles is known for the glitz and glamor of the Hollywood Hills. While red carpets are a regular event in this town, it's worth remembering that most of the rich and famous arrived here broke.
The bottom line: there are deals to be had - and many come with history and touches of sparkle.
Finding an affordable hotel in LA isn't tricky once you get out of Beverly Hills or Calabasas.
Looking for cheap places to stay in Los Angeles? Start with our twelve favorite properties.
1. Mama Shelter Los Angeles (Hollywood)
Mama Shelter is a Parisian Hotel chain set up by the same founders of Club Med - yes, the Club Med.
LA's outpost of the boutique chain opened in 2015 in a 1930's era building and with 70 rooms.
The hotel verges on the borders of fun and hip and is very much design forward. Being a newer hotel, it also offers practical amenities like 27-inch iMacs in every bedroom and French skincare (tres Magnifique), but you'll still catch playful items like Bert and Ernie bedposts.
More importantly, this is Los Angeles, so it needs to have a view. And the roof deck delivers. It offers a 360-degree panorama from downtown to the beach as well as a restaurant, screening area, and yoga space.
2. Hotel Normandie (Koreatown)
Tucked into Wiltshire Boulevard between Hollywood and downtown LA is a hotel you may have heard of before: the Hotel Normandie.
What you didn't know is that rooms in this Koreatown property regularly clock in at under $200 per night, which is a steal for Los Angeles. With only 94 rooms, it's both cozy and a steal.
Hotel Normandie offers guests a time machine to 1920s Hollywood. It's also perfectly centrally located for a long-stint in the city. You're only a few miles from the theaters and concert centers.
Although it certainly falls into old-world Hollywood, it still feels delightfully modern and has fiber-optic wifi. It also hosts a branch of Cassell's Burgers, a must for any Los Angeles trip.
3. Luxe Sunset Blvd Hotel (Bel Air)
Luxe is a boutique hotel in the heart of Bel-Air, and it is pure Los Angeles.
There are 160 rooms and suites with both gracious space insides and incredible views of the skyline from the windows (or balconies). And because it comes in at around $200 on average, it's one of the most affordable Sunset options.
Guests enjoy an outdoor pool, fitness center, and free wifi (no resort fees). The rooms are "retro-modern" with soothing color schemes. There's also a Mediterranean restaurant in the hotel that attracts the Bel Air crowd for Sunday brunch.
4. Farmer's Daughter (The Grove)
Farmer's Daughter is a centrally located boutique hotel that designates itself as "experience-friendly." Whatever that means, the hotel is much more than a hotel, and it offers both a generous reception space and residential-inspired rooms that might tempt you to make the move.
Admittedly, room rates at Farmer's Daughter are a bit high given the amenities. What you pay for instead is walkability.
The hotel's location is probably one of the best in the city. Upon leaving the blue-checkered walls, it's only a short walk to Farmers Market, CBS Television City, and a handful of LA's museums.
5. The Rose (Venice Beach)
The Rose Hotel is the kind of place that you imagine a young, soon-to-be discovered Hollywood star waltzing into. The walls are thin, things tend to lean, but somehow, it all works.
The hotel's design dates to 1908 by Abbot Kinney, the designer of the Venice neighborhood, and it quickly became the spot for east coast visitors to decamp. Over time, the hotel became popular with stars like Charlie Chaplin and Jim Morrison.
Today, it brims with a character that feeds off its Venice Beach surrounds. You can choose from well-sized ensuite rooms or save some money by sharing a bath.
6. The LINE (Koreatown)
The LINE is a uniquely American brand with hotels in Koreatown as well as in Austin and Washington DC.
If you're willing to sacrifice some of your budget to stay somewhere uber-trendy, then The LINE is your hotel.
Initially built in the 1960s, it's a mid-century beauty that is all Los Angeles from its cafe to the local art sourced for the walls. It hosts an outdoor, year-round pool on the second floor and offers poolside dining and a delightful happy hour menu.
When the sun goes down, the LINE heats up with a lobby bar popular with residents of the hotel.
7. Venice Breeze Suites (Venice Beach)
Our second Venice Beach option is a few steps away from the boardwalk and the beach, and it's a proper budget option during the off-season.
Venice Breeze Suites is a long-stay style hotel directly on the beach. You can choose from a studio or a hotel suite. Your rooms have a living area, full kitchen, and premium cable and free wifi to make you feel at home.
The rooms may be extended-stay in nature, but they aren't the soulless rooms you remember from your last work trip. Rooms include plenty of colors and exposed brick for extra personality.
We love the rooftop deck with a wet bar and barbecue, which makes the whole hotel feel at your disposal. You can also rent a beach cruiser for free. (They don't nickel and dime guests here, and it shows.)
Keep in mind that a beachfront location doesn't guarantee an oceanview. Score a room with a view when you can.
There's no dining on-site, but that's why you booked a room with a kitchen anyway. Plus, the fish tacos from I Love You, Man are just a ten-minute walk away. There's no parking here, so consider relying on walking and ridesharing.
8. Hotel Figueroa (Downtown)
Hotel Figueroa is the first downtown property on the list, and it is a DTLA institution. If you are attending an event at the Staples Center or have business in the financial district, then this is your neighborhood.
The hotel is perhaps the most romantic on this list. It's historic, bold, and has a fantastic restaurant.
Hotel Figueroa began life as a YWCA, and it shows. The new owners kept all that was beautiful about its 1920's bones during the remodel and added in a feminine art collection as a tribute to the building's history.
For a reminder of what once was, be sure to hit the pool. If it looks coffin-shaped, it is. No one knows why, but it does mean there's more space for loungers.
It's also one of the largest capacity hotels on the list with 268 rooms (featuring 63 suites). Being in downtown, you can be sure you'll have a great view, so a high floor is a must. Rooms with balconies and verandas are also worth it.
The food here is a game-changer, and it's run by Casey Lane, who is a household name among LA's foodie scene. Expect Basque country treats and Mediterranean-via-SoCal menus. The cocktails also come from a mixologist and are also Spanish and Basque-inspired.
Scoring a deal here can leave you feeling lucky, but there is a $25 per night resort fee. It includes tea, coffee, and water in your room. But perhaps the real benefit is the free transfers within a one-mile radius of the hotel in a Tesla.
9. Highland Gardens Hotel (Hollywood)
Back in Hollywood, there's another historic hotel, but it's not Art Deco.
The Highland Gardens Hotel flung open its doors in the 1950s, and its location and modern design attracted both fledgling and established stars alike. It's in the heart of Hollywood and all that's crazy (including both Walk of Fame and Sunset Strip).
Rooms here start under $200 (less if you score a deal). If you see a lower price elsewhere, then call them up because they honor price comparison sites rates.
They aren't inspiring, but you can book suites that include as many as three bedrooms (for under $500 a night). There's also a pool and self-parking.
Perhaps the biggest attraction beyond the price in such a well-traveled area is room #105. Back in the 1960s and 70s, the Highland Gardens Hotel was the Landmark Motor Lodge. And in #105 on October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin, an icon of the 1960s, accidentally overdosed and died.
You can book the room, and many Joplin devotees do. The owners added a plaque inside the closet. Her fans continue to add their own tributes to the walk over the years in a makeshift shrine.
10. Cinema Suites Bed and Breakfast (Central Los Angeles)
If when you think Los Angeles, you don't immediately think B&B, then you're right. But there is a bed and breakfast in Los Angeles that you should check out if you love family-run businesses and good storytellers.
The Cinema Suites Bed and Breakfast is three minutes from Beverly Hills and in the heart of Los Angeles. But the location is only one of many reasons to check in here.
First, the rooms are spectacular. There are four rooms - all with cinematic themes - and a guest house.
Each room is cozy with tasteful furniture and remodeled bathrooms. Better still the themes are loose, so while you can see the resemblance, there's no garish decor anywhere. Plus, every room has a television and free DirecTV with 46 premium movie channels.
The second reason to stay is the owner, Diane. Diane Bennet has lived in Beverly Hills for decades, and if you want the inside Hollywood scoop, she has it. The restored house was her pet project while she wrote for The Holywood Report and worked as a talent manager in the music industry.
You have Dianne's cell phone number while you stay, and she loves to share stories and tips for the best places in Los Angeles She's also a matchmaker if that's your thing.
Finally, there's breakfast. It's usually eggs (any style) with toast or English muffins and all the trappings. Whatever your order, it's home-cooked, communal, and delicious.
As if this weren't enough, there's free parking. What more could you want from what is already one of the most affordable hotels in Los Angeles?
11. Freehand (Downtown)
Freehand isn't just an affordable hotel in Los Angeles, but a cheap one, too. It's a hostel-style set-up with both private and shared rooms. But it's the only hostel we can think of with a James Beard-nominated bar on the premises.
Freehand has a rooftop pool, free wifi, happy hour, and a 24-hour front desk. It also has a bellman and concierge service, which again suggests that it's not like other hostels.
You can stay here for around $100 per night. It has a $99 average, but what you pay depends on whether you want a private room.
The dorms here aren't traditional dorms. You could easily book out a room with a group of friends. But if you're flying solo, then you have options including a female-only room.
Freehand also organizes events and activities, which allow you to meet locals and fellow travelers in an otherwise very individualistic city.
12. Sea Shore Hotel (Santa Monica)
Think you could never afford Santa Monica? Unless you find out your recently deceased great aunt was the heir to a small fortune and you were named in her will, you're right.
But the Sea Shore Hotel is here for the rest of us. It's both comfortable and affordable and two blocks from the beach in Santa Monica.
Every guest enjoys a room with a refrigerator and free wi-fi, and you can also book a suite with a full kitchen and balcony. The rooms are basic, but the front desk is more than willing to lean you additional items like coffee makers, toasters, and even beach supplies.
What we love about the place is its simplicity. The rooms are comfortable with tile floors and granite counters. Parking is free. And you're on Main Street in Santa Monica, so you can walk everywhere.
Affordable Hotels in LA Exist
Think you can't afford Los Angeles? Think again. Not only are there plenty of affordable hotels in LA, but they often have more character (and history) than those fancy Rodeo Drive joints.
Now that you know where to stay, it's time to get packing. Check out my guide to carry-on luggage here.
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My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.
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