Munchkinland is real, and it’s in the L.A. area. Just over the rainbow sculpture at Sony Studios, in the heart of Culver City, you’ll find the very site where the Lollipop Guild made a home-away-from-home back in 1938: the Culver Hotel. You may have heard the rumors of wild, chandelier-swinging mischief here, but the actors who portrayed the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz worked long days and had little time for debauchery. It’s safe to say that the Munchkins did, however, enjoy the hotel’s plush rooms and first-class service – and you should, too.
When you walk through the hotel’s heavy, wooden double doors, you step back into the era of grand old Hollywood, as if a young Judy Garland herself might scamper by. Opulence and charm await in the Grand Lobby, with its gilded paintings and chandeliers set beneath a 20-foot ceiling. Elegant as it is, however, this 46-room hotel is boutique to the core – if you’re after sleek lodging in a behemoth skyscraper, look to downtown L.A. instead.
Each type of room at the Culver has unique decor, but all blend modern, sophisticated pieces with timeless classics. A warm, soothing gray palette prevails, with accents in bolder hues – rich purples and greens. An antique oak dresser might mingle with an angular, contemporary sofa.
The rooms’ generous windows overlook downtown Culver City, where bars, restaurants, and a movie theater are all a short stroll away. You may want to dine in, however, as the hotel kitchen serves up fresh, seasonal American cuisine sourced from local farms. Pick on a California cheese plate or dig into wild salmon steak. Guests have the run of the space, and you can savor your meal on the patio, in the Grand Lobby, or in the more formal dining room.
The Culver Hotel even comes with its own nightlife, too. Every evening at 7:30, the Grand Lobby hosts live music – typically jazz – while the bartender mixes innovative signature cocktails as well as old staples. Snap your fingers, click your heels, and order yourself a sweet, tart yellow brick lemonade: It’s Pisco, lemonade, and passionfruit purée. If jazz isn’t your style, sip your beverage in the Velvet Lounge, which is designed in the tradition of ’20s speakeasies and plays a variety of music.
The best way to absorb the full Culver Hotel experience is to book a long weekend. But even if you don’t have an overnight to spare, take a day to treat yourself to a scrumptious meal, an expertly crafted drink, and a walk through the hotel’s richly decorated public space. And the moral of the story is: There’s no place like the Culver Hotel.