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We’re pretty sure that for families traveling to the Los Angeles area with kids, there will be at least one theme park involved. Whether family travelers are looking for easy access to amusement parks like Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, or Raging Waters, Los Angeles County is the best area in SoCal for fun curated for all ages.
From luxury hotels to the best family hotels, when it comes to finding places to stay in LA for families, the options are mind-boggling. Don’t let all those choices dampen the family vacation spirit! Here are our favorite unique choices that will get kids and parents more excited about the hotel than about all the amusement rides, studio tours and water slides on their agenda.
From an almost-to-good-to-be-true hotel with free treats all day long, to a cottage in the central location of West Hollywood, to a fab, full-service resort that allows both in-city sightseeing and days on the Pacific shore, these are a few of our favorite hotels for families to stay in Los Angeles.
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Magic Castle Hotel: Round-the-Clock Swimming & Free Popsicles
You almost can’t believe the Magic Castle Hotel in West Hollywood isn’t, well, magic. For a much lower price tag than other family-friendly hotels in Los Angeles, this buttercup-yellow hotel is ideal for larger families. There’s an option to book a full apartment with guest rooms that sleep up to six people. The rooms at this boutique hotel are all set around a 24-hour, heated swimming pool (honestly, it’ll remind you of Melrose Place!). And get this – when you’re all hanging out at the pool, you can simply pick up the red telephone and place a popsicle delivery. There’s free laundry service, free full-sized candy all day long, chips, cookies, popcorn – need we say more? We’re ready to move in!
Families will want to reserve a one- or two-bedroom apartment, which sleep five or six people and include a sofa bed (there are also single rooms available that sleep two). Both feature a fully stocked kitchen and good-sized dining area. Nightly turndown service includes soft robes and fluffed pillows, a welcome comfort after a long day of sightseeing.
Beyond the sparkling swimming pool and the free popsicle delivery service (and really, with that bonus, why would the kids want to go anywhere?), there are free on-demand movies and DVDs to borrow, an opportunity for entry into the Magic Castle Club, right next door (book through the website or with a live travel agent), and games and puzzles available. That all said, Universal Studios (and Universal Citywalk) is just a seven-minute drive away. Families can also take a short walk to the Metro Redline and ride it one stop to the theme park. The Hollywood Hills neighborhood and Griffith Park are a short drive away.
Save money and cook on your own in your apartment’s kitchen (with dishes, utensils and cookware), or ask the staff to see the collection of menus from local restaurants that will deliver. Then, you can just dine outside in the courtyard or next to the pool (and call the popsicle hotline for dessert!). Free complimentary breakfast is available each morning – and on Saturday and Sunday mornings, it comes with a side of giggles elicited by the in-house magician, Alfonso.
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The Charlie: Space to Call Your Own
With charming stand-alone cottages and a storied celebrity history, The Charlie was once home to Charlie Chaplin and rented to his friends – think Marilyn Monro, Marlene Dietrich, Better Davis and Clark Gable. Just a few minutes from Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, the English-style cottages are each named after the celebrity who lived there. Full of quirk and charm, these spaces even allow one dog per room, if your fluffy best pal is joining you on vacation.
Choose from 13 individual cottages, though for families, some of the best are the two-story, two-bedroom, two-bath Clark, Gloria and Valentino suites. Each has its own private rooftop patio overlooking the hotel grounds and a fully equipped kitchen (one of the best things a family can ask for on vacation!). You can even call ahead with a grocery list and the staff will stock your cabinets and fridge before your arrival. Every hardwood-floored cottage has quality linens and down comforters and pillows, upscale bath amenities, an in-suite washer and dryer, in-suite snacks and beverages, air-conditioning and heating, and more.
Less than a mile from Sunset Boulevard as well as central West Hollywood’s countless shops and restaurants, the historical hotel is ideally located for exploration. Visit local markets, browse along Melrose Avenue, check out the Miracle Mile museum district, take a photo at the iconic Rainbow Crosswalk, play at the West Hollywood Park playgrounds and check out the incredible kids’ book section at Book Soup.
With your own stocked kitchen, and groceries of your choosing no less, meals at “home” are easy. Treat yourself to a few meals in the area, though, using your Charlie-provided tablets to find a map of the local area (you can also order games, room massages and tour tickets this way). The restaurant choices nearby are endless. Family favorites include Mel’s Drive-In, Pink’s Hot Dogs and Gracias Madre West Hollywood.
P.S. Free parking is available if you make your reservation at the hotel website.
Terranea Resort: Five-Star Family Fun
With its staggering number of family-friendly activities, pet-friendly policies, multiple swimming pools, standout dining and more, Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes near Long Beach is ideal for families big and small who feel like treating themselves after a long dry spell from traveling. (And if you’re looking for a great place for a staycation, it’s less than an hour’s drive from Los Angeles International Airport.) It’s the kind of place where you realize you hadn’t actually been taking deep breaths for a while. Relax and drink it all in from 102 acres of incredible coastline on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, with 270-degree views of the Pacific.
Ideal for larger families, family friends traveling together, or multigenerational vacations, the resort offers a wide variety of accommodations (most with balconies facing the water). Choose from suites, villas, bungalows and casitas. Every room comes with an arm’s-length list of thoughtful amenities, including flat-screen TVs, separate showers and tubs, and WiFi that is covered by your daily resort fee. The Mediterranean-style casitas area are a favorite for their residential feel, exceptional kitchen, and spacious great room, giving you more than 2,000 square feet of private paradise.
Take your pick for activities for the whole family. There’s an award-winning par 3 golf course, four swimming pools, a hot tub at the Vista Pool, land and sea adventures, a fitness center, and boutique shopping. The Experience Center can set your family up with nature hikes, falconry and archery lessons, tide pooling, paddle boarding and kayaking excursions, and indulgent spa sessions. Plus, if you’re from out of town, Terranea places you within a reasonable driving distance of Disneyland, the Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, and major sports venues.
Food is never an afterthought at Terranea. Nab a sought-after table at the highly lauded on-side restaurant Mar’sel (named “Four Star Restaurant” by Forbes Travel Guide and one of the “Best Ocean-view Restaurants in Los Angeles” by Food Network). We might suggest an adults-only meal here, savoring locally sourced ingredients and some fabulous wine. At the more casual Catalina Kitchen, don’t miss “Magic By the Sea” every first Friday of the month, when the kids can be entertained by renowned magician David Groves (advanced ticket purchase recommended). From the handmade rolls at the Bashi sushi bar to the cookies and gelato at The Bake Shop, Terranea’s dining options have your family’s taste buds covered.
Get the scoop on the best hotels in Los Angeles for families, near sightseeing, shopping, the Pacific and more.
Bonus Bests: 4 More Family-Friendly Los Angeles Hotels
Arroyo Vista Inn
Arroyo Vista Inn is a small, family-run, more inn than a hotel and a place where you’ll feel like a local. Your brood will be warmly welcomed into this historic craftsman-style home. Plus, it’s a great value! There’s a farmers market right nearby.
Freehand, Los Angeles
Freehand, Los Angeles is located right in downtown LA, it’s ideal for city sightseeing. We love the simple, modern decor with Native American touches. The family suites are super spacious, and there’s an outdoor pool. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is close by.
Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey
Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey is another upscale resort option, complete with waterfront rooms and suites, a year-round pool, two tennis courts, and a highly acclaimed spa. Perfectly located for visiting Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and West Hollywood.
Bring the teenagers along to Andaz West Hollywood to impress them with the highest rooftop pool in LA; stay for the full-service poolside food and beverage service. West Hollywood locals choose this spot for their own staycations, so you know it’s going to be great. (Take it one step further and take the teens shopping on Rodeo Drive.)
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