Los Angeles Airport 101: The best hotels for a layover at LAX
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Airport hotels are part and parcel of any traveller’s life. Whether you’re in and out of a city in 24 hours or less for meetings, you’re on a mileage run in pursuit of top-tier airline status, or you simply have a really early or late start, most of us have spent some time in an airport hotel. In smaller cities, you may just have one or two options for laying your head in close proximity to the runway, but at large, global hubs, hotels compete fiercely for travellers’ pre- or post-flight dollars.
One such airport is Los Angeles International (LAX) — an ideally placed hub in the United States’ second-largest city. LAX is the second-busiest airport in the U.S. and the fourth-busiest in the world. The airport serves as a hub for Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United and is a focus city for Air New Zealand, Allegiant Air, Norwegian, Qantas, and Southwest Airlines. Travellers come from all over the world and pass through on their way to or from far-flung destinations. With so many late-night and early-morning departures and arrivals into the airport, it’s a thriving market for airport hotels where travellers catch a few hours of shut-eye before moving on with their travels.
Being frequent travellers ourselves, we wanted to check out some of the top choices and give you the lowdown on each so you can make an informed decision when picking the best LAX airport hotel on your next trip through the ‘City of Angels’. Below you’ll find overviews and current pictures of some top LAX airport hotel contenders, as well as some best of’s, chosen based recent TPG stays and feedback from the TPG U.K. Facebook Lounge.
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Best hotels at LAX
- Best overall value: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel
- Best for elite perks: Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport
- Newest rooms: AC Hotel by Marriott Los Angeles South Bay
- Best for walking to LAX: Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport
- Best for plane-spotting: H Hotel Los Angeles
- Best shot at a suite upgrade: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel
- Price paid: $186.38
- Cash price range: $96 to $339, including taxes, for the cheapest-available room, depending on the date
- Points price range: Category 4 Marriott, 20,000 to 30,000 Marriott points
- Time from terminal to room door: 19 minutes, 32 seconds
- Time from room door to terminal: 26 minutes, 6 seconds
I’ve stayed at the Sheraton Gateway a couple of times in the last few months and have generally been pleased with the experience. The shuttle runs frequently, the rooms are nice, and the hotel has wonderful views of the LAX airport and runway. As an elite, I’ve gotten 4 p.m. checkout for both stays without issue, enjoyed access to the top-floor club lounge and been upgraded to the best-available room — including a suite on one of the stays.
Shuttle: The Marriott app and website aren’t very helpful besides saying the airport shuttle is “scheduled, complimentary 24 Hours, 7 days a week.” The hotel’s phone line has a recorded message saying to go outside to the red shuttle area and that the shuttle runs on a loop every 15 to 20 minutes. I arrived at the red area around 5:30 p.m., and a shuttle was there within five minutes. And based off of the number of shuttles we saw cycle through the front of the hotel, it seems a five-to-10 minute wait is probably typical during peak hours.
Breakfast: Having checked TPG’s chart of Marriott breakfast policies, we expected to opt for a breakfast in the restaurant as our welcome amenity. At check-in, we were told that breakfast in the restaurant would cost $10 more per person — yes, even for elites — but that we could eat breakfast for free in the club lounge.
Turns out, in reality, Platinum elites can get a continental breakfast in the restaurant as an elite welcome gift choice. However, it costs $10 more per person for the full breakfast buffet. We went for the club lounge breakfast, which ran from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The breakfast offered a nice selection of hot items (eggs, oatmeal) and cold (fruits, pastries, yoghurt, granola, cereal, bread), with brewed coffee and a self-serve espresso machine.
Restaurant: We planespotted at In-N-Out for dinner, so we tried the hotel restaurant for lunch before leaving. Despite only a few patrons, the service was slow, delaying our return to the airport. We each ordered a standard: a turkey club and a grilled chicken sandwich, $16 for each. With the side of fries, both meals were filling and tasty.
Room service is available 24 hours a day, but there’s a reduced menu from 1 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Room: Our room offered two comfortable beds with four thin pillows each. There were two outlets on both sides of both beds for a total of eight outlets by the beds.
There’s a desk, two large chairs and a flat-screen TV.
Amenities: The Wi-Fi ranged widely from 12 Mbps to 28 Mbps download and 8 to 25 Mpbs upload. The gym is open 24 hours, and the outdoor pool is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
One notable issue with the room we got: The blackout curtains didn’t close all the way. No matter how we tried to rearrange the curtains, there was a bright line of sun that burst through the sides. And the angle couldn’t have been worse, with the sun glaring down right the head of the bed.
The noise from the runway was noticeable at times, but we weren’t personally bothered by it.
Checkout was quick, and a shuttle back to the airport showed up in just a couple of minutes. The time from leaving the room to getting to Terminal 1 was under 15 minutes. However, traffic around the LAX terminals meant that we didn’t reach the Terminal 4 entrance until the timer passed 26 minutes.
— JT Genter
- Price paid: $176 per night, excluding Club Lounge access
- Cash price range: $147 to $291, including taxes, for the cheapest available room, depending on the date
- Points price: Category 3, 12,000 Hyatt points for a standard room or 17,000 points for a room with Club Lounge access
- Time from terminal to room door: 23 minutes, 32 seconds
- Time from room door to terminal: 9 minutes, 38 seconds
Shuttle: The Hyatt website notes that the shuttle is complimentary and exclusive and runs 24 hours a day. When I called, the front desk said that the shuttle was running on a 20-minute loop. My timing turned out to be nearly perfect. I exited Tom Bradley Terminal at 1:10 p.m., and the shuttle pulled up within two minutes of that. All that said, this is the closest hotel to LAX and is located just a little over 1/4 of a mile from Terminal 1 if you’re up for a walk.
The ride took about 10 minutes. There was only one person in front of me at check-in when I arrived around 1:30 p.m. Checking in early wasn’t an issue. I asked for a room with a runway view and was assigned a room on the 10th floor (out of 12) with an excellent view. The downside: There were two sets of windows with a space between them, so the reflection could be problematic for plane-spotting photos.
Right after check-in, the key reader couldn’t read my key, so I needed to double back to the front desk. Still, I was able to go from the terminal door to my room door in 23 minutes and 32 seconds.
Room: The king bed in my room was a good balance between soft and firm. There were four thin feather pillows that were sufficient for me this stay but would be lacking for two or more guests. On one side of the bed, there was a small alarm clock with two outlets. The other side of the bed had two outlets and a USB outlet built into the wall, with two more outlets near the floor.
In the place of another bed, my room had an L-shaped sofa. The desk was a circular desk with two large chairs. The TV measured 55 inches diagonally and had 58 channels of content.
Breakfast: Hyatt is one of the few hotel brands where I don’t have elite status. But to compare the experience across the LAX airport hotels, I paid $58 (after taxes) extra for a night of Club Lounge access for the purposes of this story.
An impressive breakfast spread is available in the club from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. In addition to cold buffet staples such as cereal, breads and fruits, the buffet offered a hot, egg-based dish — a breakfast burrito my first morning and a migas-style scramble my second morning — as well as cheese, lox and other cured meats.
The Club Lounge also offers midday snacks from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and an evening service from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. offering nuts, veggies, hummus, cheeses, breads and fruits. Alcohol isn’t included and costs $4 to $5 for a beer or wine.
Though the website lists Club Lounge hours as 24/7, I found in practice that the lounge closed at 10 p.m.
Restaurant: On the ground floor, there’s a cafe area, bar and seated dining. When I went down for dinner around 8 p.m. on a Sunday evening, it was unclear to me which of these were open. But the bar was bustling with patrons, so I joined the crowd there.
I ordered a $14 chicken sandwich, with the bartender recommended the sweet potato fries. It took a bit for the food to come out, but it was worth the wait.
Room service is available 24 hours a day, but there are only a few options from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. There’s a delivery charge of $3 plus 20% gratuity.
Amenities: The Wi-Fi ranged between 6.5 and 16.3 Mbps download and a steady 15.3 Mbps upload with 3 ms to 5 ms ping. The gym is open 24 hours, and the pool is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Although my 10th-floor room overlooked an LAX runway and busy roads headed to the airport, the noise was minimal in the room. The roll-down blackout curtains did a pretty good job of darkening the room, but light was definitely noticeable around the edges.
To catch an early flight, I packed up and headed to the Club Lounge with my bags, arriving right at its 6 a.m. opening time for breakfast. I started my timer to the airport from the door of the lounge, which was about equidistant from my room. There was no wait at checkout, the checkout process was fast, a shuttle was waiting in front of the hotel, and there was no traffic for the short ride to Terminal 2. From the lounge door to the terminal door, it took 9 minutes and 38 seconds.
— JT Genter
- Price paid: $202.60
- Cash price range: $96 to $240, for the cheapest available room, depending on the date
- Points price range: As a Category 5 hotel in the Marriott Bonvoy award chart, the points price ranges from 30,000 to 35,000 or 40,000 points, depending on off-peak, standard or peak periods
- Time from terminal to room door: 20 minutes
- Time from room door to terminal: 15 minutes
On a quick overnight, the Westin did its job competently, if impersonally. Its vast, cavernous and slightly intimidating lobby suggested a Soviet, Stalin-era palace hotel, and the furniture in the common areas recalled the cold, stark symmetries of a Stanley Kubrick movie set. But aside from the aesthetics, it was a fine airport hotel with few frills.
Shuttle: The complimentary shuttle runs continuously 24 hours a day, every day. On my visit, I waited seven minutes for a pickup after exiting LAX’s Terminal 3 at 9:45 p.m. in a messy, noisy area where car-rental and hotel shuttles all converged chaotically.
Food: There is an on-site restaurant, the Daily Grill, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday to Thursday and on Sunday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Platinum and Titanium elite members of the Bonvoy program can select free breakfast as a welcome amenity.
For lighter fare, Café BLVD offers coffee, tea, baked goods, pastries and grab-and-go items and is open from 6 a.m. to noon. I only had time to visit the bar on the ground level, called Lobby Lounge, which is open late and offers a small menu of lighter food priced starting at $6. The most expensive item on it, a $19.75 seared ahi tuna with sauteed spinach and pickled cucumber, was excellent.
Room service is available 24 hours, as befits a hotel serving a global hub where flights land round the clock.
Room: My standard room with two double beds was functional, though nondescript and a bit dated. For an airport hotel, it was quiet, with only the occasional noise of reverse thrust from landing jets breaking the silence.
The Westin Heavenly bedding, true to its name, helped provide restful sleep, as did curtains that blocked out all stray light and pillows that hit the rare, sweet spot between too soft and too hard.
Where the room really shone was in the number of outlets. Two outlets and two USB ports were on the nightstand, two outlets were next to one bed, and three more outlets plus two more USBs were on the work desk — plenty of power for even the most connected road warrior.
The air-conditioning controls, however, were a dismal, rickety throwback to the 1980s, when the hotel was built.
Amenities: Wi-Fi is free for all Bonvoy members. The gym is open 24/7, and the heated outdoor pool is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The hotel also has a convenience store. Travellers who want to keep fit can book the services of a Run Concierge, and workout gear can be rented through a Westin/New Balance program. An airport hotel may not be the most obvious place to take surfing lessons, but those are also available through the hotel.
Lounge: The Westin Executive Club lounge on the top floor, accessible to Marriott Platinum and Titanium elites, is open 24 hours and serves breakfast Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Hors d’oeuvres are served Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
— Alberto Riva
- Price paid: $155.03
- Cash price range: $128 to $193, including taxes, for the cheapest available room, depending on the date
- Points price: 35,000 IHG points
- Time from terminal to room door: 36 minutes, 28 seconds
- Time from room door to terminal: 22 minutes, 42 seconds
The Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport hotel is relatively inexpensive at times, so IHG loyalists may find it useful for satisfying Accelerate tasks that require stays at Crown Plaza properties or a particular number of brands. This being said, the age of the property shows.
Shuttle: The shuttle doesn’t run on a set schedule, instead running continuously every 20 to 30 minutes. The shuttle detours to Spectrum parking on the way from the airport to the hotel, so the ride from the airport took 20 minutes (I left the terminal at just about 10 p.m.) but 10 minutes back to the airport, after leaving the hotel at 7 a.m.
Breakfast: There are two places on site for breakfast: the Boulevard Market Cafe and The Landing Restaurant. The cafe has grab-and-go coffee and pastries starting at 6 a.m., while the restaurant serves a buffet as well as made-to-order dishes from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The continental buffet costs $20, and the complete buffet costs $30, both before taxes and fees. No elite tiers get complimentary breakfast.
Restaurant: The hotel’s main restaurant is the Century Taproom. The Taproom is a casual bar and restaurant that operates from 11 a.m. to midnight, although the kitchen closes around 11:30 p.m.
I ate dinner in the Taproom around 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night and was impressed to have my meal, a club sandwich with fries for $18, served within 20 minutes of my arrival at the restaurant. The fries were nicely seasoned, and my only complaint about the club was that the avocado they used wasn’t completely ripe.
Other sit-down dinner options on-site are the Yokoso Sushi Bar and Boulevard Market Cafe. Yakoso is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner and serves assorted sushi and sashimi starting at $7 per roll.
The same cafe that is open for breakfast serves quick meals and snacks until midnight. Room service is available 24 hours a day, but there’s a significantly reduced menu from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Room: My room had a comfortable king bed with four plump pillows. There were two outlets on both sides of the bed, as well as a USB outlet on one side of the bed.
There was a desk with a comfortable work chair, a plush chair with a footstool and wall-mounted TV facing the bed. The blackout curtains worked well, and the room was quiet once I unplugged the minifridge.
Amenities: The Wi-Fi was solid, with 50.88 Mbps download and 42.67 Mbps upload.
The gym is open 24 hours, and the outdoor pool is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is a club lounge, but elites don’t get access.
There were plenty of check-in agents available when I checked in around 10 p.m. The check-in agent acknowledged my IHG Platinum elite status and said she’d put me on a high floor with a view of the airport. However, when I got to my room, I saw it wasn’t on a high floor, didn’t have a view of the airport and had a connecting door. I could hear neighbours on the other side of the door, so I asked for a different room and was given one on the ninth floor with a view facing the closer runway. The air conditioning didn’t work in this room, and it took about 30 minutes for a maintenance worker to diagnose the problem and replace the entire unit.
A bill was slid under my door overnight, and check out went quickly, since I decided to have the charges put on the card I’d provided at check-in. About 15 guests were waiting for the shuttle, but everyone waiting was able to fit when the shuttle arrived.
— Katie Genter
- Price paid: $200
- Cash price range: $150 to $230, including taxes, for the cheapest available room, depending on the date
- Points price: 40,000 Hilton points
- Complimentary shuttle listed on the website as every 20 – 45 minutes. This stay was done slightly earlier than the others, so we didn’t time the transfer.
This is the Los Angeles airport hotel to choose if you are into aeroplanes. Thanks to a spectacularly well-placed terrace, the H offers views on the airport and landing planes that are nothing short of amazing. That more than makes up for bland food options if you are an aviation geek, while the rooms themselves are functional and quiet enough given the proximity to the airport, but devoid of the personality that other hotels in Hilton’s Curio Collection offer. Note that the H shares the building and restaurant with a Hilton Homewood Suites.
Shuttle: The H is located very close to the terminals at LAX, in between the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton Gateway. The property offers a 24-hour complimentary shuttle, and when I arrived at 3 p.m., I waited under five minutes for the shuttle to arrive outside the terminal, and was at the hotel just about five minutes after that.
Food: Dining options at the H were really nothing special during our visit. You could eat at the Waypoint restaurant on the ground floor, have room service with the exact same menu — though not 24 hours — and also help yourself from a mini-market in the lobby or go for coffee and other Starbucks-like offerings to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Cafe adjacent to the lobby.
Waypoint was, for dinner and breakfast, loud with unimaginative food, worthy of a passing grade but nothing more. At Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a blueberry scone and an Americano coffee, both OK, set me back $6.30.
Room: The H seemed designed for efficiency, and the room followed the model: plenty of outlets, a large shower with good water pressure and windows thick enough to seal off most of the airport noise. Finding an empty fridge instead of a minibar was a bit disappointing for an airport overnight, but there was nothing wrong with the room.
Amenities: The 12th floor is where the H shines. You’ll find a roof deck overlooking the runways, offering glorious views of LAX, and a gym where you can work out in full view of landing planes below. The small heated open-air pool is shared by the H and Homewood Suites and located on the ground level.
The views of the aeroplanes are truly exceptional.
The fast, stable, free hotel Wi-Fi never let me down, and even the basic option for non-elite Honors members was fast enough to stream video. And you may get to see Hannah, a robot that delivers small items to rooms.
— Alberto Riva
- Price paid: $175
- Cash price range: $120 to $249, including taxes, for the cheapest available room, depending on the date
- Points price range: Category 5, 30,000 to 40,000 Marriott points
- Time from terminal to room door: 1 hour, 5 minutes, 14 seconds
- Time from room door to terminal: 32 minutes
When looking for contenders for this best hotels at LAX competition, we ran across this brand-new and highly rated hotel so decided to give it a shot, despite it not being on the hotel row right by LAX.
Shuttle: The hotel’s website lists an airport shuttle under key amenities, which is a reason this hotel made the cut for a potential best hotel at LAX. However, when I arrived, I checked the shuttle details on the website and found that is said it didn’t provide shuttle service. Heading back to the hotel’s main page, I confirmed again that the airport shuttle was listed as an amenity. As I waited for my checked bag, I messaged the hotel to ask about this discrepancy.
As soon as I cleared customs, I called the front desk. After being transferred to the valet, I was directed to take the new LAX-it shuttle to the ride-hailing lot and then call back. I left the terminal at 1:50 p.m., and seventeen minutes later, I reached the lot and called back.
I was directed to the ride-hailing pickup zone and told I’d receive a text message with a confirmation. Six minutes later, I received a confirmation from Lyft that the hotel had booked a ride for me. It took 27 minutes for my driver to arrive, and then the drive took 11 minutes. I stepped up to the front desk over an hour after leaving the LAX terminal.
There was no line at check-in, but it took some rearranging for the front desk agent to find a clean room for me. Still, I entered my room five minutes after arriving at the hotel for a total of over one hour and five minutes from door to door.
Room: The modern and minimalist, grey-washed room was a pleasant sight after nearly 24 hours of travelling. The king bed was pleasantly soft but also shouldn’t be a problem for most who prefer harder beds. The bed was stocked with four long, feather pillows. Toward the large window, there was a large leather couch.
On each side of the bed, there were two U.S. power outlets, two USB outlets, a master light switch, a lamp, an adjustable reading light and a small bedside shelf. One side of the bed also had the room’s phone and TV remote.
There were no drawers anywhere in the room. Instead, across the room from the bed, there was a long shelf with open space underneath that served as a place to store bags. Further down was the room’s small desk and a tray containing the coffeemaker, condiments, ice maker and plastic-wrapped cups.
Breakfast: AC Hotels doesn’t provide breakfast for Marriott elites. However, elites can forgo bonus points for a $10 food-and-beverage credit. When I chose this at check-in, I was told to charge items to the room and the credit would be applied at checkout. At checkout, I again needed to specifically request that this credit be applied when I noticed it wasn’t in my folio.
When I went down for breakfast around 6:45 a.m., there was a nice spread laid out but no staff or indications that the breakfast wasn’t complimentary. A couple of other early arrivals were confused when they were charged the buffet price of $15.99 per person ($17.47 after tax).
In addition to the cold buffet, you could order one of two hot dishes from a menu that the staff member carried around. I ordered the egg dish with spinach and prosciutto and ended up being pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
Restaurant: There are two on-site restaurants, both only open for dinner. The sleek AC Lounge is on the ground floor and offers a combination of open-air indoor and outdoor seating.
On the rooftop, the hotel runs the Flora Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, which is where I headed for dinner. It’s clearly going for a chic nightclub vibe. The hotel ropes off one of the hotel’s three elevators for patrons of Flora, but I never saw a line for the restaurant downstairs or upstairs.
Exhausted and ready to crash, I was hoping for a quick and filling meal. I didn’t get either. The minimalist menu offered just 11 dishes plus a build-your-own cheese-and-charcuterie plate.
The more extensive drink menu offered 10 cocktails, eight beers and 25 wines. I ordered the $17 “smash burger” and a draft beer that cost $10, and I was underwhelmed by the size of both. The server confirmed there’s no discount for Marriott elites.
While Flora may be a great place to hang out, it wasn’t great for someone on a one-night layover. There’s a number of nearby and well-rated quick-service restaurants, including those with poke, sushi, pizza and Mediterranean, that I’d try if I stayed here again.
There’s no room service available at any time. Awake at 3:30 a.m. (thanks jet lag), I called the front desk about my options. The agent confirmed that there was no room service and said there was nothing available around the hotel. She recommended Uber Eats or Postmates.
Amenities: The Wi-Fi was good enough for most browsing needs, ranging between 4.8 and 9.3 Mbps download and 4.6 and 11.3 Mbps upload with 2 ms to 3 ms ping.
The gym is open 24 hours. There is no pool or elite lounge on site.
As the hotel is further away from the airport in a quiet neighbourhood, I had no issues with noise besides hearing the occasional door shutting in the hall. The blackout curtains kept the room dark enough when I needed a nap after arriving.
Though the “shuttle” situation from the airport to the hotel was a hassle and took a long time, the ride back was much more convenient. The front desk told me that I didn’t need to make arrangements ahead of time — I could just come down when I was ready to check out. After checking out, I was directed to the valet, who called an Uber. I made it from my room door to the Terminal 4 door in around 32 minutes, despite the first driver cancelling, the second driver’s struggling to find the hotel and significant traffic in the LAX loop.
— Katie Genter
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to a layover hotel in Los Angeles. Which hotel is best depends on your elite status levels, points balances and what is most important to you on your specific trip. The Sheraton Gateway is often an overall solid choice, though the convenience of the club lounge at the Hyatt or the plane-spotting at the H can all tilt the scales.
Keep in mind that if you’re a victim of a lengthy delay at LAX (or any other airport) that was out of your control, you may be entitled to certain benefits from your airline or credit card. If the delay was within the airline’s control (like maintenance problems), they’ll typically provide you food vouchers and overnight accommodations. But if it wasn’t, or the vouchers aren’t enough to cover all your expenses, credit cards with trip delay reimbursements will reimburse you for reasonable additional expenses, such as meals, lodging and toiletries.
Which LAX hotel is your favourite for a West Coast overnight?
Featured photo by kevinjeon00 / Getty Images
Reporting by JT Genter, Katie Genter, Alberto Riva, Nick Ellis, Summer Hull and Benji Stawski
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