An insider’s guide to the best cheap hotels and motels in Los Angeles, including the top affordable places to stay for rooftop pools, hip bars and Hollywood hills views, in locations including Santa Monica, Downtown, Hollywood and Pasadena.
Magic Castle Hotel, Hollywood
A long-time favourite for families holidaying in Hollywood, this amiable hotel is a great bargain for the location, two blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s clean, spacious and contemporary, with 40-plus rooms and suites arranged in three-story buildings that are painted sunshine yellow and set amongst tall palm trees. Personable staff are welcoming and ready to assist with most requests. No restaurant, but complimentary continental breakfast features fresh-baked pastries and muffins from a local bakery and unlimited snacks and sodas are available all day long.
Double rooms from £130
Read the full review: Magic Castle Hotel
The LINE Hotel, Koreatown
A trendy hotel in LA’s Koreatown, marked out by a giant ‘Peace Tree’ mural on the outside wall and its industrial-chic interiors. Hollywood Hills rooms offer a spectacular view of the Hollywood sign on a clear day. An in-room media hub allows guests to plug smartphones or music players into the TV and sound system. Korean food, from hot bots to barbecue dishes, is served up by Roy Choi, a US celebrity chef, in the restaurant. Guests have access to a modest-sized rooftop pool, which is overlooked by around 40 sunbeds. The hotel also has an exercise room, and free bicycle hire for four hours.
The Bissell House Bed and Breakfast, Pasadena
Ideal for travellers who want to avoid the big-city crush, this tranquil bed-and-breakfast inn is in suburban Pasadena. On the neighbourhood’s ‘Millionaire’s Row,’ this graceful home interestingly mixes Victorian and Arts and Crafts architecture and design. Well-kept antiques decorate the historic estate-house, which harbours a handful of light-filled guest rooms with private baths. The friendly owners couldn’t be more helpful or accommodating. Guests are offered free tea service throughout the day and an evening sweet dessert. A complimentary hot breakfast is served each morning in the dining room where Albert Einstein once visited. There’s a non-heated outdoor pool.
Doubles from £140
Read the full review: The Bissell House Bed and Breakfast
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, Downtown
On South Broadway in Downtown, a thriving and fast-gentrifying area is The Ace. Inside, it has a shabby but considered look: LA Noir meets Old Hollywood. On entering rooms you feel as if you’ve been handed the keys to a friend’s warehouse studio. On entering rooms you feel as if you’ve been handed the keys to a friend’s warehouse studio. It’s undone in a polished way, with concrete ceilings and makeshift homasote boards on the walls. The rooftop swimming pool and sun deck, modelled on Hollywood nightclub Les Deux Café, is a welcome summertime spot, with great views. LA Chapter, an all-day brasserie, spills out onto the street and is busy with Angelenos all day.
The Varden, Long Beach
This boutique hotel was opened in the late 1920s by circus performer Dolly Varden, whose name still shows up on the rooftop marquee. The hotel’s cosy lobby has architectural elements of Spanish Colonial Revival design, a timeless look for Southern California. The Varden’s ultra-white décor continues inside the 35 rooms, where aquamarine accents are designed to remind guests of the ocean. No restaurant, but the hotel offers a complimentary afternoon wine hour with snacks, continental breakfast and fresh fruit, bottled water and self-serve coffee and tea throughout the day.
Double rooms from £95
Read the full review: The Varden
The Garland, North Hollywood
Just north of Hollywood, close to the Universal Studios theme park, this reinvented hotel welcomes families, but also offers hip, modern rooms suited for adults traveling solo or as couples. There is an outdoor heated pool with a hot tub and a sun deck, a fitness centre, and free trolley rides to both Universal Studios and the metro that runs to Hollywood. The Front Yard restaurant does American comfort food, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Hotel Maya, Long Beach
This compact, Hilton-owned resort is modern and comfortable, and sits on the waterfront in Long Beach in 15 acres of tropical gardens. You get affordable parking, colourful interiors and easy access to Disneyland and Catalina Island. There is a heated 100-ft lap-pool, whirlpool, floating cabanas, fire pits, tennis, volleyball and basketball ball courts and bike and boat rentals. The 194 rooms have colourful modern interiors with a Latin inflection. Award-winning El Salvadorian chef Victor Juarez helms the Fuego restaurant.
Rooms from £124
Read the full review: Hotel Maya
The Queen Mary, Long Beach
The Queen Mary is a trans-Atlantic passenger liner dating from the 1930s, moored in Long Beach. Part museum, part hotel, it offers history and faded, old-world glamour with a side-line in ghost tours. he grandeur of the Queen Mary’s heyday has been preserved – you can still find tinted pink mirrors dating from the 1930s in some of the hallways; the thinking being that an added touch of colour in their reflection would make seasick guests feel better. Hotel staff are friendly and upbeat. Rooms are basic, but mostly comfortable. Sir Winston’s, an elegant top deck restaurant, serves an excellent beef Wellington for just under £35.
The Brentwood Inn, Brentwood
A modern motel with hip interiors and 24-hour service. This is a great spot for those who want to stay in the movie-star enclave of Brentwood, between Santa Monica and Bel Air, for excellent value for money. The 21 guest rooms are small but well appointed. Every one has a custom-made mattress, plasma TV, fridge, writing desk, coffee pot and free Wi-Fi. Continental breakfast can be eaten outside on the charming breakfast patio, tea is available throughout the day, and cookies and milk are available in the afternoon and evening.
Double rooms from £103
Read the full review: The Brentwood Inn
Sea Shore Motel, Santa Monica
For lodgings by the beach in Santa Monica, you’d be hard pressed to find better value than this retro 20th-century motel. It has a vintage 1950s look, with its coral-pink painted exterior, brick and stucco walls, tall palm trees and quaint yesteryear signage. OPen-air corridors, bordered by wrought-iron railings and flower boxes, lead to spacious and clean rooms. Welcome extras such as free beach gear to borrow and an outdoor sun deck make staying here more attractive. The affordable Amelia’s coffee shop, which is attached to the hotel, serves American breakfasts, espresso drinks and Italian sandwiches, soups, salads and ice-cream for lunch.
All prices cited are starting rates for double rooms, based on two people sharing, in low season. These prices are subject to change in high season and during popular holidays and events.