Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX), is renowned as a planespotter’s happy place. It boasts a seemingly endless stream of aircraft, many from airlines not often seen elsewhere in the U.S., along with several very good public viewpoints from which to watch them all parade past.
Occasional fare sales allow a weekend trip down the West Coast to be an accessible avgeek treat, so Francis Zera (AirlineReporter’s associate editor) and I grabbed a couple cheap seats and headed south.
There are several hotels very close to LAX. The runways are aligned east-west, with standard traffic flows arriving from the east; there are two parallel runways, separated by the airport’s terminal buildings. Off-site, there is a cluster of hotels to the east of the terminals, and this is where the H Hotel is situated. It seems purpose-built for planespotters, with an amazing roof deck that allows great views of arrivals on both of the airport’s runways.
The hotel’s official name is a mouthful: H Hotel Los Angeles, Curio Collection by Hilton. With no wait at the front desk, we were greeted with a smile, quickly checked in, and sent on our way to our room up on the 12th floor. The first impression of our room was that it was spacious with a very tall ceiling and spectacular views of the airport. Just like the room, the bathroom was also comfortable and had a nice-sized shower. The supplied shower amenities were also pretty nice we wound up smelling lots better than usual.
Getting back to photography, which is why we traveled to LAX in the first place, the hotel has a most excellent rooftop terrace on the 12th floor that provides great views to the north, west and east, with a peek-a-boo view to the south. The terrace is surrounded by five-foot glass barriers, and it has plenty of seating and tables. IMHO, it’s worth the price of the room just for the ability to spend time up there.
There were two queen size beds in the room, and they were extremely comfortable. We slept very well during our stay. Of course the comfortable beds helped, but we were also very tired from an early morning flight and from a full day of spotting around LAX.
Also noteworthy was the lighting in the room; there were individual reading lights on each side of both beds and a nice accent light along the top of the headboard. We also made good use of the many outlets throughout the room, including two outlets that each provided a pair of USB charging ports.
The outlets sure came in handy at the end of the day when it was time to charge our camera batteries, phones, and laptops.
Per usual in nice hotels, the room had a giant flat-screen TV, which we did not use during our stay, but we did make use of the Nespresso coffee machine the following morning. Not being familiar with the various colored, yet unlabeled, Nespresso capsules, we did not know what color meant coffee, so our luck had that on our first try we made tea. Overall no big deal, but there were only two cups in the whole room, so that left us with only one cup. Sure would have been nice to have a couple of extra cups in the room, and perhaps for those Nespresso capsules to be labeled so for those of us who are not proficient in the apparently secret language of Nespresso machines. We did survive the ordeal, though, and there’s a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop down in the lobby as a backup.
Ours was room 1229, on the 12th floor, which is the hotel’s highest level, and sported a fantastic view of the airport and its runways. The view was equally impressive at night, with nice views of the taxiway and runway lights. It was too bad that the windows on the outside were extremely dirty as photographers this was something we noticed right away.
There is a restaurant in the lobby, which we did not visit, but we did patronize the coffee shop. There is a free airport shuttle for guests that runs every 20 minutes or so, 24/7. Parking is available, too – self-parking for one night costs $35.20.
All in all, we were very impressed with our stay. For spotters, the access to the rooftop terrace is reason enough to choose the hotel, and, if you choose to use the shuttle and not to rent a car, it’s only a 10-15 minute walk to the park by the In-N-Out, which is a pleasant spot to pass a couple hours or even a whole day.
Editor’s note: The H Hotel provided one complimentary night’s stay at their LAX property for the purposes of this review. Our opinions remain our own.