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Universal Studios Hollywood is the beating heart of Los Angeles. It’s the home of the city’s movie industry and the world-famous Studio Tour, which gives fans the chance to look behind the scenes and discover how their favorite films are made. It’s also packed with adrenaline-inducing theme park rides and home to the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In fact, there’s so much to discover that it’s impossible to see it all in one day. If you plan on extending your visit, it makes sense to stay nearby. Below, take a look at the best hotels located within a 15-minute drive, from family-friendly picks to historic hotels that once played host to the stars of Hollywood’s golden era.
Best Overall: Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City
Four-star Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City is not the most stylish hotel on this list, nor is it the most affordable. However, if being close to Universal Studios Hollywood is your main priority, it can't be beat. It’s located a block from the attraction’s entrance and offers a complimentary shuttle bus — something especially handy for families with small kids and anyone with reduced mobility. All rooms include comfortable Hilton Serenity beds, a TV, a refrigerator, and a coffee maker. Note there is a charge for internet unless you’re a Hilton Honors member.
Upgrade to a suite for added luxuries including a soaking tub and a separate living/working area. Children and adults will love the heated outdoor pool with its whirlpool and private cabanas. There’s a fitness center on-site, and if you’re traveling on business, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of meeting space. Casual restaurant Cafe Sierra offers an eclectic variety of Chinese, Californian, and continental dishes. For craft beers and cocktails, make your way to the glass-roofed Atrium Lounge.
Best Budget: Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood - Burbank Area
Located an eight-minute drive from Universal Studios, Holiday Inn Express North Hollywood - Burbank Area is a great choice for budget travelers in search of a clean, comfortable choice that won’t break the bank. Standard rooms start at around $155 a night and are surprisingly luxurious with a 39” HD TV, premium bedding, a pillow menu, and a Keurig coffee maker. Free high-speed internet and a complimentary hot breakfast buffet help to keep your vacation costs down. You can also treat yourself to complimentary coffee in the lobby, and kids eat for free.
The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant for lunch or dinner. However, all rooms include a microwave and mini-fridge, giving you the opportunity to whip up a snack at any time of day or night. Alternatively, TripAdvisor reviewers confirm that there are several trendy yet affordable NoHo eateries within easy walking distance. In between studio tours, soak up the LA sunshine by the hotel’s heated outdoor pool or maintain your fitness regime in the complimentary gym.
Best Boutique: Petit Ermitage
Located a few minutes’ walk from the Sunset Strip and approximately six miles from Universal Studios Hollywood, Petit Ermitage is a fine fit for adults with a taste for exoticism. It's a bohemian sanctuary complete with shabby-chic decor and a magnificent rooftop garden. The latter is an urban Eden, where hummingbirds and butterflies flit between fragrant trellises and a garden grows fresh herbs and vegetables for use in the hotel kitchen. Meals are served al fresco, with Italian, Japanese, and Egyptian influences.
The rooftop also boasts a heated saltwater pool, a sunken fire pit that doubles as a screening venue for open-air movies, and the Butterfly Bar, an atmospheric spot for evening cocktails. A small amusement fare entitles you to nightly live entertainment on the rooftop and daily yoga on the Firedeck. There are several suite types to choose from, all with Venetian plaster walls, original art, and a working fireplace. Arrange an in-suite spa service, help yourself to the honor bar, or unwind on Egyptian cotton sheets.
Best for Families: Magic Castle Hotel
Magic Castle Hotel is famously family-friendly and stands out for its exemplary service and. It’s located a block north of Hollywood Boulevard, a seven-minute drive from Universal Studios and within walking distance of other family attractions including the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre. After a morning spent sightseeing, your clan can cool off in the 24-hour courtyard swimming pool. One and two-bedroom suites sleep five or six people respectively.
Both suites include a full kitchen and dining area, while free Wi-Fi, an iHome docking station, and a TV with complimentary HBO keep the kids entertained. This hotel is all about added extras: free laundry facilities, a complimentary continental breakfast, and a 24-hour free snack bar. Soft serve ice cream is available every afternoon and there’s a Popsicle Hotline by the pool. With so much food on offer, you’re unlikely to mind that there’s no formal restaurant. Staying here grants automatic access to child-friendly weekend magic shows at the legendary Magic Castle Club.
Best for Romance: Sunset Tower Hotel
An Art Deco masterpiece, Sunset Tower Hotel was designed in 1929 and has become a Sunset Boulevard landmark. John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra were all past residents, and the hotel continues to channel the romance of Hollywood’s golden era. With just 81 rooms, it’s an intimate choice loved by TripAdvisor reviewers for its glamor and attention to detail. Rooms and suites are private sanctuaries with a chic cream and chocolate color scheme, custom artworks, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Spend sun-drenched afternoons lounging by the retro swimming pool with your loved one. The Spa by Joanna Vargas offers luxury massages, facials, and body treatments; for a more exclusive experience, in-room spa sessions can be arranged. During the day, the Terrace Bar is your go-to for casual poolside dining. In the evening, the iconic Tower Bar and Restaurant sets the scene for romance with wood-paneled walls, cozy niches, and a fireplace. It’s beloved by present-day celebrities and specializes in fine American cuisine.
Best for Luxury: The Jeremy West Hollywood
Five-star hotel The Jeremy West Hollywood is located a few steps west of Sunset Tower Hotel and just over five miles from Universal Studios. A celebration of minimalist SoCal architecture, it is defined by an abundance of natural wood and exposed concrete, as well as indoor and outdoor spaces that flow seamlessly into one another. All rooms and suites spoil with Egyptian cotton linens, floor-to-ceiling windows, and decadent marble accents. For unrivalled luxury, book a night in the sprawling Canyon Penthouse; its fully furnished, wrap-around terrace offers some of the best views in the city.
Views are a trademark of The Jeremy, and you can enjoy them from the pool deck and from magical Harriet’s Rooftop. The later charms with string lighting, abundant greenery, and stylish striped furniture. Come for sunset cocktails, or for light bites like oysters on the half shell. Etcho Café serves organic Californian cuisine for brunch and lunch. Other features include a 24-hour fitness center and 10,000 square feet of tech-savvy meeting space.
Best for Nightlife: Dream Hollywood
With Hollywood Boulevard a block to the north and Sunset Boulevard a block to the south, ultra-cool Dream Hollywood puts you at the center of the city's action. Designed with party-loving singles and socialites in mind, the modernist hotel is full of Instagram-worthy architectural flourishes. Rooftop lounge and grill The Highlight Room is the place to be seen during the day, with a sparkling swimming pool and private cabanas. At night, it transforms into a club with breathtaking views of the Hollywood sign.
Start your evenings at Tao Asian Bistro, or with dinner beneath the double-height ceiling and 20-foot skylight of the opulent Beauty & Essex restaurant. All 178 rooms and suites overlook the downtown skyline or the Hollywood Hills through full-length windows. State-of-the-art tech includes a smart TV, free Wi-Fi, and an iPad for ordering 24-hour room service, while a mini-bar brings the party to you. A gym and on-demand hair and makeup services make sure you always look your best.
Best for Business: Loews Hollywood Hotel
Loews Hollywood Hotel is located behind the TCL Chinese Theatre and a six-minute drive from Universal Studios. It has everything a well-heeled business traveler could need, including complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hour FedEx Business Center. Two ballrooms and 11 breakout rooms provide options if you’re searching for a corporate conference or board meeting venue. With 628 rooms and suites, there’s plenty of space for function attendees.
All rooms include a spacious work desk, a laptop-sized safe, and USB charge ports. A Keurig coffee maker gives you your first caffeine fix before an early meeting, while a 37” HD TV helps you to unwind afterward. The hotel has a choice of dining outlets, including Bodega for coffee and snacks on the go, and H2 Kitchen & Bar for late-night networking or watching the game on the big-screen media wall. When you’re not working, clear your head with a session in the fitness center or yoga studio, or work on your tan by the rooftop swimming pool.
Best Historic: The Hollywood Roosevelt
Boasting a splendid Spanish Colonial Revival interior and an A-list pedigree that dates back to 1927, The Hollywood Roosevelt was the location of the first-ever Academy Awards Ceremony. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, it once hosted Marilyn Monroe and remains a favorite celebrity hangout today. There are several restaurants and bars, including 60s-style Tropicana Pool & Café, which serves American cuisine by the David Hockney-designed rooftop pool, and The Spare Room — a Prohibition-era cocktail lounge complete with a vintage bowling alley.
Those with an interest in the hotel’s history should opt for a room in the original tower (although the modern poolside cabanas are also beautiful). Tower Rooms are defined by sleek hardwood floors, four-poster beds, and Spanish leather accents. Smart TVs with in-room casting fulfil modern expectations for connectivity. For a truly memorable stay, book the three-level penthouse suite; it was once the home of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard and includes a rooftop deck with stunning views of the Hollywood sign.