Beverly Hills (Los Angeles)

The pink-walled Beverly Hills Hotel may be 100 years old, but that's no reason not to try a new classic lodging option that references old Hollywood if business or pleasure should take you near 90210's famously palm-lined streets. The contemporary white tower that is restaurant-royalty Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani's Mr. C Hotel isn't on trafficky Sunset Blvd., or the iconic (touristy and mall-esque) Rodeo Drive, which is actually a pleasant thing. So is the fact that its generously sized rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors and balconies, and the best with a view of L.A.'s brushy mountains, are located just across the building's south-facing street from Factor's Deli, one of L.A.'s storied shrines to corned beef, where comedy writing legend Sid Caesar and friends still have weekly lunches.

The Mr. C Hotel — which has nostalgically accented, hardwood-floored rooms; cabanas lining a teak-wood pool deck; and black-leather Eames chairs along with a glass billiards table in the marble-floored public space — is the sort of place to offer you a complimentary Bellini upon arrival. It also expectedly houses a restaurant with endearingly timeless Cipriani menu items (the chopped salad being the dish over which many a monstrous deal has been made), even if today's visiting foodie has a number of outstanding Italian choices, chief among them chef Scott Conant's Scarpetta, located in the Montage Beverly Hills, just down the road in the center of the city's shopping district.

But we're game: We'll head to dinner in the busy BH grid. We just like to stay on the edge — in this case, Mr. C's southern-BH edge. Not at the base of the actual hills, but closer to the people who live in L.A. with Beverly Hills as a facet of life: a place to have an important meeting, see your dermatologist, buy a watch, stake out a shifty art dealer, visit an old-school tailor, people-watch as the tourists go gaga over consumerism. The Mr. C Hotel seems hip to the notion that Beverly Hills is a simultaneously practical and funny place, and is a fine antithesis to the city's older (and perhaps overly familiar) hotels, at least for anyone who's forward-thinking and has a dash of Axel Foley in him. [Rooms from $349;]