A $50,000 electric bill? The cost of cooling L.A.’s biggest houses in a heat wave? A $6,000-a-night hotel bill? Sure, why not? These are the realities of Los Angeles’s costliest hotels, which sometimes charge triple-digit prices for basic amenities like bottled water and laundry service in their rooms.
And that doesn’t even factor in the exorbitant rates that often come with the business itself. According to surveys, as much as 50% of guests consider the hotel and the experience an asset rather than a cost. They’re typically drawn in by the “wow” factor of a celebrity or a political figure staying at the hotel, or by the promise of a suite with views of the sunset and/or ocean.
Of course, you’d have to be more interested in views of the sunset and/or ocean than in seeing a celebrity. But it’s part of why the celebrity experience is appealing to many people. And it’s part of why the costs of the hotel business have increased so steeply in recent years. A study conducted by the Hotel Trades Council of Greater Los Angeles found that the average per-night cost of a hotel room in the city had increased 40% in the last five years. The cost-to-income ratio at the city’s more than 900 hotels now averages 15.6 times.
Los Angeles doesn’t seem like the kind of city where you’d pay much for a vacation, the kind of place where tourists would flock for a weekend. Yet those aren’t the people who are being drawn to L.A., and it’s easy to see why.
Tourists come to L.A. for the weather. They come for its food, its culture, its night life. They probably won’t stay for the sights of the city. But the people who do stay are the ones who aren’t drawn to the city’s culture or its views. When they’re not staying in a hotel, they choose the spot they have for dinner or the place they are taking a ride on a bicycle, or they will seek out an inexpensive motel rather than stay in a full-service hotel because they prefer the “comfort of a hotel” to “the comfort of a home” — if any of that is even possible.
Even without the lure of the celebrity experience, I can imagine that travelers feel like they’re getting more out of