WeHo, as it is known by locals, is a small town with a glamorous name, but like a lot of the movie stars that have either lived there or helped make it ‘chic’, it is often misunderstood. It is not a neighbourhood of LA but its own city, a tiny enclave of 1.9 square miles tucked between Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

What to expect

This is not the Hollywood of the movies either – the famous Hollywood sign is in Griffith Park, LA - nor one big movie set (although OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network is based there). Famous icons in West Hollywood include the Sunset Strip, Pacific Design Center, and restaurants and nightclubs where celebrities are regularly spotted. It offers an alternative to downtown LA or the beaches, a cool and just a little pretentious enclave within easy reach of LA's major attractions.

Unusually for a part of California known for its freeways, the city is easily walkable and strolling is the best way to discover its art galleries, cafes, juice bars, 24-hour fitness centres and health shops – just watch out for the dog water bowls left by many properties.

WeHo is also on the Red Route of Starline Tours’ Hop-On Hop-Off double-deckers, whose four routes and two shuttles connect 100 miles. There is cheap bike hire with WeHo Pedals, while The PickUp invites bar hoppers to jump aboard for free trolley rides at the weekends.

There are other bonuses of staying in West Hollywood: less chance of beach fog and hotel rates are about 25% lower than similar properties in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Some 40% of West Hollywood residents are LGBTQ and WeHo is home to The Abbey, one of the largest gay nightclubs in the U.S. LA Pride in June and Halloween Carnaval in October, showcase the city’s diversity.

Hot stuff to head for

West Hollywood is known for its rooftop bars, many with pools and sublime views. Top spots include The Grafton on Sunset's Bar 20 and Skybar at the Mondrian, for hip poolside cocktails, live music and best views of the city.

Or, suggest The Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel, which was once the apartment of Bugsy Siegel. There’s an elegant piano bar and poolside terrace, with more sweeping views.

Others include the Chamberlain West Hollywood, Sunset Tower Hotel and the famous Viper Room (co-owned by Johnny Depp when it opened in 1993), plus The Standard, Hollywood, and The London West Hollywood.

One of the city’s hottest dining spots right now is Gracias Madre on Melrose Avenue, a Mexican spot that serves only plant-based cuisine and small-batch tequila and mescal-based cocktails.

What's new

Over the course of 2018, The Jeremy will be transformed into the 1 West Hollywood with 286 rooms and views of the Hollywood Hills and LA basin; La Peer Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel in West Hollywood’s celebrated Design District; and coming in 2018, West Hollywood EDITION which will have 190-rooms, trendy restaurants and a pool.

Where to book it

Gold Medal has five nights at the four-star boutique-style The Garland, on a room-only basis, are priced from £859pp, valid for travel January 16 and March 23 2018. The hotel offers free extras like wifi and trolley services to Universal Studios, Universal Citywalk, LA Metro Redline Universal City.

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