When it opened with 700 rooms in 1966, this was LA’s “it” hotel, the first in California to have color TVs. Its grand ballroom hosted the Emmys and the Grammys (the Beatles accepted their Best Artist award here). Sonny and Cher had a residency and the two main elevators now bear their names (left one, Sonny, right one, Cher).
After fading into business-hotel gloom, the Fairmont Century Plaza was closed for 6 years and totally overhauled as part of a $2.5 billion development that’s reinventing the whole neighborhood. Just now fully reopened, it’s back in business and ready for you to stay like a star.
Redesigned by award-winning firm Yabu Pushelburg and expanded in the recent renovation, even the smallest, entry-level room is spacious (the Fairmont Room, which starts at 320 square feet). The largest, the Sunset View Room, offers western horizons out of big double doors, 483 square feet of space, as well as a small couch. Upgrade to a suite and you’ll have a separate bedroom, two balconies, and almost 700 square feet. All rooms include huge TVs, quality high-thread-count sheets, and top-shelf amenities.
How To Get To Fairmont Century Plaza
When the traffic gods are smiling, you can reach the hotel from LAX in less than half an hour. It’s just two turns — make a left onto Interstate 405 and head north along that massive, multi-lane expressway. Then, make a right on Santa Monica Boulevard and you’re almost there. Head northeast until you reach Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
Getting a space in the underground garage can be pricey — $65 for 24 hours. However, the hotel offers a package (appropriately called Nobody Walks in LA!) that includes free valet parking with unlimited in-and-out privileges.
Why I Chose Fairmont Century Plaza
I’m a sucker for the silver screen and absolutely love the magic of Hollywood. I’ve done all the studio tours (Sony, Paramount, Warner Brothers), been in the studio audience for television show tapings, strolled the Walk of Fame, and visited the Academy Museum (and the library at the actual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). So the opportunity to sleep in the place where so many Hollywood legends were born — it was irresistible.
Plus, the location: Located roughly halfway between the beaches and the famous pier at Santa Monica and the lights of the Sunset Strip, the hotel was a perfect base camp for a complete LA experience, where nothing was too far away.
History Of Fairmont Century Plaza
Built on a former studio backlot, the hotel can thank the film Cleopatra for its birth. The last in a series of flops, Twentieth Century Fox was compelled to sell off 180 acres of land to a prominent LA developer in 1961. Century City was conceived as a “city within a city,” and the Plaza, designed by legendary architect Minoru Yamasaki, was placed at its heart.
Opening its doors in 1966, the hotel has since hosted the biggest award ceremonies, huge Hollywood stars, presidential dinners, and even served as the Western White House for Ronald Reagan. With its reopening, the Plaza is again in the middle of everything. It’s hosted the Critics Choice Awards and Academy Awards Nomination Luncheon, and, recently, Kristin Chenowith just jumped onto the stage in the lobby and rocked it with the house band.
Activities At Fairmont Century Plaza
The onsite, full-service spa has been expanded to 14,000 square feet and includes studios for renowned stylist-to-the-stars, Christophe Prive.
The heated rooftop infinity pool gives views from sea to sky to mountain. It’s a fun place to spend a sunny afternoon, with cocktails and games.
Restaurants At Fairmont Century Plaza
The hotel’s main restaurant replicates a provençal brasserie, with thousands of actual French antiques picked out on a whirlwind tour of southern France (the hostess stand was rescued from a brasserie in Nice that was closing). Executive Chef Ramon Bojorquez is a vet of Michelin-star restaurants and TV’s Top Chef, coming up through the kitchens of big culinary stars (including Jose Andres).
Expanding on the hotel’s long musical legacy (everyone from Mariah Carey to Elton John has performed here), the hotel’s handsome lobby bar features live music (everything from jazz to soul) and a well-curated cocktail list.
Types Of Travelers At Fairmont Century Plaza
Here, you’ll find an even mix of tourists and business types. With the headquarters for the largest talent agency in the world (Creative Artists Agency, or CAA) literally across the road, stars and agents and other industry types will often bunk here. But visitors from around the world visit, too.
The Century Plaza is pet-friendly. Two pets are welcome at no additional cost.
Tips On Booking Accommodations
The hotel is easily booked directly through their own website or on third-party sites like Expedia or Booking.com.
What Is Near Fairmont Century Plaza?
The hotel sits in the middle of everything worth seeing in Los Angeles. Right next door, the upscale Westfield Century City offers indoor/outdoor shopping and some very convenient dining. On the latter, you’ll find everything from guilty pleasures like Shake Shack and Panda Express to indulgent splurges like Del Frisco’s Double-Eagle Steakhouse and the Italian extravaganza at Eataly.
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a short drive or a long walk away. Beyond that, you can reach the beaches and pier at Santa Monica or landmarks like the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip with a $20 Uber ride. Downtown, the Valley and other locations are a little further afield.
One Thing I Would Change About The Fairmont Century Plaza
While, on paper, the hotel is close to everything, there’s not too much (beyond the shopping center) within easy walking distance. I love hotels where you can exit the front door, turn left or right, and stumble onto something interesting — that’s not the case here. That said, the area’s transformative redevelopment is an ongoing project, and soon enough, more shops, restaurants, and attractions will in fact surround the hotel.
One Thing You Absolutely Can’t Miss At The Fairmont Century Plaza
Whether you’re there for one night, or a week, you need to spend some time in the massive spa. Relax in the Himalayan salt room before an aromatherapy steam, or a trip to the experiential rainfall shower. Try some biohacking with a Power Nap. Or just pick a facial or body treatment from a long list, including the signature, 90-minute Sunset Treatment, which provides rejuvenation and strength.
Would I Stay Here Again?
Yes — absolutely. I love the central location and the fact that you can almost feel the Hollywood stardust floating through the air. Service and food at the restaurant were top-notch and the spa is a true wonder. Plus, I was so comfortable in my suite, which had two separate balconies and plenty of rooms to spread out and relax after a punishing travel schedule.