Revisiting your old town makes for a great vacation because it lets you satisfy your nostalgia without sacrificing your thirst for novelty. When you no longer live there, you get to see the hospitality side of your city and stay in areas previously left unexplored; I got to enjoy doing just this on my most recent visit to LA, when I stayed at the Palomar Beverly Hills, a Kimpton Hotel.
The Feel: All Kimpton hotels take their interior design inspiration from the city they’re located in, and the Palomar Beverly Hills follows suit with its studio backlot theme. While a Hollywood motif can run the risk of seeming kitschy, have no fear; the understated dark color palette and unique artworks make the Palomar feel sleek, modern, tasteful, and just a little bit playful.
This combination of fun and sophistication carries through to their restaurant and bar, Double Take. The well-crafted cocktails are whimsically named after famous films, and you can sip them while relaxing in the sprawling nook-filled lounge, their dining room, or while taking advantage of their gaming space (skee-ball, shuffleboard, pool, or darts, anyone?).
What To Drink: The bar at the Palomar, Double Take, has an impressively thoughtful cocktail program. The lead bartender Sarah Mengoni has created a list that is both nuanced and approachable, and the execution of each drink is meticulous; it will satisfy laid-back vacationers and cocktail snobs alike.
A standout example of their cocktail program’s character is their piña colada variation, the “We Are Groot” (inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy). Rather than make it with the traditional rum, Sarah opted to use bourbon and scotch as the base. She got the idea of combining two different whiskeys from tiki culture, where often multiple rums are used to arrive a more complex flavor profile. The resulting drink is sweet (as it should be), rich, and an enjoyable departure from the standard.
The “Call Me Snake” was a smoky-stirred showstopper containing Evan Williams bourbon, Cynar, velvet falernum, black walnut bitters, and a perfectly clear cube, ideal for those seeking a boozier option. It’s also the most aesthetically impressive drink on their list; after mixing up the drink, Sarah breaks out her smoking gun and fills the glass with a healthy cloud before covering it with a NYC sewer coaster (a reference to the film the cocktail is named after: Escape From New York). Once she removes the coaster the smoke oozes out, and if you can resist Instagramming it you’re a stronger person than I.
Lastly, if you’re looking for something on the lighter side, we recommend the “Misdirecting Travelers” (inspired by The Birds). Bright, refreshing, not too sweet, delicately laced with allspice, and a fitting cure for summer heat.
What To Eat: Double Take is true to its LA identity, with a menu featuring indulgently over-top options in addition to healthier choices, and enough avocado dishes to satisfy even the most relentless Millennial.
To finish off the meal you can’t beat the soft cookie ice cream sandwiches drizzled (well, more like drenched) in a flavorful dark salty caramel sauce. Pair it with the espresso and cognac-focused “Lend Us An Ear” (Pierre Ferrand 1840, Averna amaro, espresso, cinnamon syrup, orange flower water, and ground coffee beans garnish), and you can safely say you’re living your best life.
The Location: The Palomar is one of the many grand towers on this stretch of Wilshire on the approach to Beverly Hills, and its Westwood Village-adjacent location is so walkable you can get away without having a car (an LA miracle!). A great selection of charming eateries (don’t miss out on Simple Things and Kazunori), bars (Skylight Gardens and the Palomar’s own Double Take), grocery stores, and boutiques are all nearby.
The Perks: The rooms were relaxing, clean, well-decorated, and through the inclusion of little details revealed the Palomar’s focus on guest comfort. The closets were stocked with yoga mats so their guests can practice in their rooms, the bathrobes were spa-quality soft, and there were prominently-placed power strips to stop you from having to hunt behind book shelves desperately trying to find enough plugs for all your tech.
We hope we are lucky enough to make it back there very soon!
P.S.: Definitely sign up for their free Kimpton rewards program. It gets you free wireless on all of your devices in addition to qualifying you for perks.
Thanks for hosting us, Palomar Beverly Hills.
Follow @SpiritedLA on Instagram for original cocktails and the best places to drink in California.