Is there anything better than retro Hollywood? We think not. A retro ambiance celebrates Hollywood in its heyday, which is likely why we at Been Here Done That have adored such hotel properties over the years as The Bel Age, The Renaissance, the Magic Castle, and the Beverly Hills Hotel. Although Bel Age and Renaissance have undergone extensive overhauls that came with their new ownership; fortunately, the Beverly Hills has retained its retro glory with its pastel color palette and 80s design. And Magic Castle’s throwback to the 60s is still alive and well. But there is yet another hotel that understands the appeal of retro Hollywood, and that is The Garland, formerly The Beverly Garland.
For readers unfamiliar with Beverly Garland, Google 60s TV show My Three Sons, 80s TV show The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and 90s show 7th Heaven. In the early 70s, Garland’s husband, Filmore Crank, bought a Howard Johnsons and turned the Spanish Mission-style property into Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn. The upscale hotel attracted plenty of tourists due to its proximity to Universal City and it became a celebrity favourite. We at BHDT remember our first experience here in the late 70s and vividly recall a few celeb encounters by the pool.
Although Crank and Garland have since passed away, the property is still family owned and operated and, despite an extensive renovation, still retains its retro feel and look. Slight changes are observed in the name, now The Garland, and the fact it is now considered a boutique hotel. Otherwise, you can still count on an experience that will whisk you back to a Hollywood high point, with staff that will give you the kind of personalized service that will remind you of days gone by.
Located at 4222 Vineland Blvd in North Hollywood’s Studio City, this hotel property is super close to Universal Studios and even offers a free shuttle for guests. It’s also relatively close to Warner Bros Studios and NBC Studios, as well as Runyon Park. You’re also not far from the Hollywood Sign and the Walk of Fame.
Modern guestrooms feature a selection of different layouts depending on your needs, and a small number of designer suites are available that boast big bedrooms, separate living areas and extra amenities. Rooms feature small balconies, a mini fridge, coffee maker, flat screen TV, in-room safe, and free wi-fi.
We found our suite to be beautifully laid out, and very clean and spacious, though a little sparse. By the look of the standard rooms, they are every bit as clean and spacious, though similarly limited. That said, the hotel does offer premium suites, such as the Fillmore or James Suite that feature multi rooms and a homey atmosphere, with furniture and decor lovingly lifted from the late 60s, all of which would look perfectly at home on the set of the Brady Bunch.
A business center and fitness center are conveniently on the property, along with meeting and event space, and a small boutique store that features products described as ‘all things California’. As for dining, The Garland offers up The Front Yard, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and allows for ‘To Go’ orders to eat in your room, by the pool, or to take with you. There is also a lobby bar.
Although the outdoor pool is on the small side, it is very welcoming and has a lot of character with a nearby hot tub, plenty of lounges, and a seating area with patio tables and umbrellas around an outdoor fireplace.
The hotel also has an impressive courtyard, perfect for gatherings and weddings, and uniquely offers daily activities that allow guests to join in. This includes but is not limited to beer tasting, Tai Chi Yoga, a chance to work with a personal trainer (so Hollywood), and classic movie screenings by the pool.
The weekly calendar of events is truly an extraordinary feature for a hotel – not only does it lend to the boutique atmosphere here, it also helps guests to create one-of-a-kind vacations and memories.
Of course, like most Hollywood hotels, reservations here do not come cheap. Rates fluctuate with the season and pertinent local events, however, on average you can expect to pay approximately $300/night for a standard room, $450/night for a family suite, and as high as $900/night for a high-end suite (in US funds). Parking comes with an extra fee of $22 per day for self-park and $27 per day for valet services – after all, L.A. loves valet! Early check-in carries a fee as well. All considered the price tag can make a week’s vacation here fairly pricey.
PROS: Location. The property is stylish. Personalized service. Several room configurations to suit different needs. Daily Activities.
CONS: Expensive. Small pool area.
BOTTOM LINE: So the big question is, is it worth it? And our answer is… yes! If you’re traveling on business, perhaps you can forego such accommodations. But if you’re visiting Hollywood for the first time for vacation purposes and want to do it right, there’s nothing like staying at a retro hotel and surely The Garland has that aspect well covered. Add in the convenient location, the overall cleanliness of the rooms and property, the extra amenities and activities, and the friendly, helpful staff, and you’ve got yourself a winner. The area is fairly quiet but for some traffic noise coming from the nearby Hollywood Freeway, often referred to as the 101. It’s no wonder this boutique hotel earns a 4-star rating on most booking sites.