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Hotel Highlights

  • Sleep where Marilyn, Charlie and Clark once lay their heads
  • A quiet escape in the heart of Hollywood
  • Each cottage is totally private

Overview

Aptly named, The Charlie hotel in Los Angeles was once the home of Charlie Chaplin, and the collection of charming 1920s bungalows were used by his struggling actor friends. Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dieitrich, Bette Davis and Clark Gable all stayed here at one time or another. Today, these lovely, fully-equipped cottages, set in beautiful private gardens, are available to rent. Discreet and stylish, it’s a charming change of pace from the traditional West Hollywood hotel stay.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Charlie with us:

Fresh bowl of fruit on arrival.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Charlie

Advance purchase

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

13 standalone cottages.

Check–out

12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability, for $25 each additional hour. Check-in between 3pm and 5pm; coordinate a check-in outside those hours with the hotel at least 24 hours before arrival.

Rates

Double rooms from $250.00, excluding tax at 15.5 per cent.

More details

There is no food served at The Charlie.

Also

No smoking indoors, but you can light up in the gardens and on the patios. Dogs are welcome; a $100 non-refundable deposit is payable for your pooch to bed down in your cottage.

At the hotel

Gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen HDTVs, fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, Joseph Abboud toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The Marilyn, once home to Monroe herself, is the ideal place to channel your inner bombshell, with pictures of the buxom blonde throughout the cottage. The modern kitchen opens onto a private wraparound patio, and the upstairs bedroom overlooks the bougainvillea-laced gardens. The Masha is the largest one-bedroom cottage, and its granite bar with red leather stools makes a glamorous spot for an evening cocktail. The living room has a cosy window seat for reading scripts.

Packing tips

Oversized starlet-style sunglasses for alfresco lunches; reusable tote bags for visits to the nearby Original Farmers Market; map of historic stars’ homes to see who else has lived nearby over the years.

Also

The Charlie’s grounds are a botanist-delighting collection of native plants and bright flowers. The lushly landscaped gardens are home to bougainvillea, roses, hibiscuses and palms that keep your morning coffee private from wandering eyes.

Children

Children of all ages are welcome at the Charlie. Baby cribs are available free; extra beds are $50 a night.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

 No restaurant, though guests who call ahead with a grocery list can have the cottage kitchen fully stocked before arrival. You’ve a full kitchen to chef it up in, and a farmers’ market a few blocks down Fairfax.

Hotel Bar

 None, but you’ve a refrigerator to stock, and a handful of smart watering holes in the neighbourhood.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Silk pajamas.

Top table

Your private patio is the ideal spot for snacks and breakfast.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Study up on LA style along Melrose Avenue. The shopping strip includes iconic boutique Fred Segal (+1 323 651 1800; www.fredsegal.com), vintage emporium Wasteland (+1 323 653 3028; www.shopwasteland.com) and Creatures of Comfort (+1 323 655 7855; www.creaturesofcomfort.us), a tiny boutique that stocks the best pieces from indie designers. On warm nights, catch an orchestral concert and fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl (www.hollywoodbowl.com) or see a chart-topping act at the Greek Theatre (www. greektheatrela.com). The city’s quirkiest outdoor cultural experience might be Cinespia, a weekly classic-film screening set in a Hollywood cemetery each summer (www.cinespia.org).

Local restaurants

Three blocks from The Charlie, Rick Bayless’s swinging Red O (+1 323 655 5009; www.redorestaurant.com) serves California-style Mexican dishes, bright ceviche and potent, fruity margaritas in a see-and-be-seen space on Melrose Avenue. Book a table at the wildly popular, minimalist Animal (+1 323 782 9225; www.animalrestaurant.com) on Fairfax Avenue for small plates that showcase less-popular cuts of meat in superlative preparations. Try the poutine with oxtail gravy, pigs’ ears with chilli, and buffalo-style pigs’ tails. Talented chef David Myers presides over the lively Comme Ça bistro on Melrose Avenue (+1 323 782 1104 or www.commecarestaurant.com), which ladles bouillabaisse, shucks oysters and minces steak tartare for Francophiles. Two miles away, Pizzeria Mozza at the corner of Melrose and North Highland Avenues (+ 1 323 297 0101 or www.pizzeriamozza.com) expertly blisters large, doughy pies and serves a near-addictive butterscotch budino at dessert.

Local bars

The Roger Room on La Cienega (+1 310 854 1300) is a dimly lit speakeasy-style bar with clever spins on classic cocktails. Chef Michael Voltaggio’s ink. (+1 323 651 5866; www.mvink.com) two blocks away on Melrose Avenue houses a lively bar with a selection of tonics and mixers that could rival an apothecary’s stash.

Local cafés

A leisurely mile-and-a-half stroll away, the Original Farmers Market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue (+1 323 933 8929 or www.farmersmarketla.com) is a city landmark that holds market stalls, food shops, fruit stands and cafes with outdoor seating. Behind it, the newly constructed mall, the Grove, holds several upscale restaurants with patio seating. Kings Road Café (+1 323 655 9044; www.kingsroadcafe.com), a seven-block walk away on Beverly Boulevard, is a favourite spot for screenwriters and script-studying actors. Sweet Lady Jane nearby on Melrose Avenue (+1 323 653 7145; www.sweetladyjane.com) is an ideal afternoon stop-off for treats from the in-house bakery: the fancy cakes and fruit tarts are both beautiful and scrumptious.

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Hidden in West Hollywood

The Charlie

819 North Sweetzer Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States

The Charlie Hotel is located in West Hollywood on Sweetzer Avenue, near Santa Monica Boulevard.

Planes

LAX, the closest airport, is 30 minutes away, and is visited by most major international and domestic airlines, including Continental (www.continental.com), Virgin Atlantic (www.virginatlantic.com) and British Airways (www.ba.com).

Trains

Downtown’s Union Station is about 25 minutes away and serves Santa Barbara, San Diego and Ventura; the Glendale Amtrak station is roughly 20 minutes by car.

Automobiles

Though its traffic-snarled thoroughfares are infamous, expansive Los Angeles is best tackled via car. From Santa Monica Boulevard, head south on Sweetzer two blocks to reach The Charlie. The hotel has parking spaces available for guests, which is helpful in the permit-only neighbourhood of West Hollywood.

Reviews

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The Charlie
The Charlie 819 North Sweetzer Avenue West Hollywood 90069 Los Angeles United States

Anonymous review

by , Gotham wordsmith

Rating: 10/10 stars
‘Perhaps the Ruth Gordon suite will be available?’ I say to Mr Smith as we cruise along Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. ‘Who?’ Mr Smith asks, a quizzical eyebrow inching above his Ray-Bans. ‘The actress – Harold and Maud… Rosemary’s Baby?' I offer. Mr Smith is a student of high (heady literature, in-depth news blogs) and low (brain-rotting TV, i…
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The Charlie

Anonymous review by Laura House , Gotham wordsmith

‘Perhaps the Ruth Gordon suite will be available?’ I say to Mr Smith as we cruise along Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. ‘Who?’ Mr Smith asks, a quizzical eyebrow inching above his Ray-Bans. ‘The actress – Harold and MaudRosemary’s Baby?' I offer.

Mr Smith is a student of high (heady literature, in-depth news blogs) and low (brain-rotting TV, ie: The Bachelor) culture, but not much for classic (or, in this case, cult classic) films. No matter, with the window down and his tortoiseshell-framed shades on, he’s looking all the part of movie-star handsome today.

Slight romance spoiler alert: we do have our four-year-old son in tow. But, would you get a gander of that big glowing orb overhead and those skyward-stretching palm trees through the car’s sunroof? Nothing could ruin the mood. All of us really needed a sun-kissed escape from New York, and turns out it would be a glamorous, old Hollywood one at that, thanks to The Charlie Hotel.

You’ll find this boutique hotel in a West Hollywood enclave of Spanish-style casas and trim California bungalows. Well, if you’re really looking, that is. Hidden discreetly behind a wall of manicured shrubs and a gate swirling with ornate ironwork is an intimate clutch of 13 former apartments from the 1920s.

Yes, Ruth Gordon did sleep here, as did Gloria Swanson, Marilyn Monroe and the retreat’s namesake and former owner: Charlie Chaplin. You can spy the Little Tramp’s silhouette in the stained-glass window of his cottage.

The hotel’s manager, Masha, escorted us through the central courtyard that’s anchored by a stone fountain bubbling peacefully amidst an English-style garden thick with fruit trees and blushing rose bushes. Ms Gordon’s former apartment was not vacant, but we were shown two rooms, each with their own charm.

We settled on the Dylan, a ground-floor suite, with a private patio, set in a two-story Tudor-style cottage. As with all of the suites, it had been restored to preserve original details: ornate transom-style leaded-glass windows, sturdy built-in bookshelves and the wide-plank hardwood floors stained dark as strong coffee.  

In keeping with the celluloid theme, black and white photos of stars hung throughout the room. This is a detail I could have done without, but Mr Smith didn’t mind Ms Monroe hanging over his head (literally) each night.

French doors separated the bedroom from the sitting area where our son bunked (romance saved!). Along with that, the efficient, high-end kitchen with a stove and dishwasher made this feel more like a splashy studio apartment than a standard hotel suite.

Much like a private home, you’ll come and go as you please here with little interaction (or direction) from staff. The in-room folder is thin on local intel (there was one brochure for a tour of stars’ homes), and don’t expect a lobby, restaurant or flashy pool scene. This is ideal for those in favor of DIY adventures and keeping a low profile (it’s frequented by industry-types for longer-term stays).

It was DIY for us on this trip. We had an agenda in mind and the hotel was perfectly positioned for it all. On a rare rainy day, we dodged the drops and explored the galleries and sculpture gardens at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) followed by some art gallery hopping.

On a subsequent sunny day, we indulged Master Smith with a trip to the Santa Monica Pier and its bite-sized amusement park that left none of us feeling fatigued (I’m holding firm to my ‘What Disneyland?’ stance for now). And, a spin on the Ferris wheel is not just a throwback delight, but a giddy, heart-in-your-stomach way to drink in views of the surfers and swimmers bobbing in the Pacific Ocean below.

Of course, a morning climb in Griffith Park is another way to get the heart pumping and spy the City of Angels (particularly the iconic Hollywood sign) from high above the traffic-clogged fray. We got that in too.

Traveling with a child means dining at unfashionably early hours, but the bonus of that is it usually secures you a seat at otherwise booked-for-weeks spots. Which is why we were waiting outside when the doors opened for dinner at Son of a Gun, a happening seafood eatery on West Third Street.

Dishes are of the small-plates, shared variety: fluke sashimi, grilled octopus and a ridiculously satisfying fried chicken sandwich with a spicy pickle slaw. Young Smith was happily occupied making drawings of the model ships and trophy fish adorning the walls, leaving us time for a proper cocktail.

The hotel also happens to be just a shopping-bag-toss from Melrose Avenue, the infamous strip where the stars stock their wardrobes (spotted: Jeremy Piven at a local tea shop).  This label-wagging drag is home to Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith and my favorite spot to squander a paycheck, Fred Segal.

If in town on a Sunday, stroll over to the West Hollywood Farmers Market. You can stock the kitchen in your suite with the robust berries, rainbows of produce and bright bunches of flowers on sale.

On our stroll from the market back to the Charlie, Mr Smith signals to a street sign, ‘Hey, Melrose Place – I wonder if this is what inspired the show?’ For those unfamiliar, Melrose Place was a trashy 1990s nighttime drama set in an LA apartment complex overrun with young, hot professionals who sleep their way around said complex. It was just Mr Smith’s brand of Hollywood trivia. Yep, he’s still got it, that handsome junk-TV-loving devil – avert your eyes, Marilyn…

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Charlie from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

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