West Hollywood Travel Guide
Nearly two years ago, news came out that Sunset Tower hotelier Jeff Klein had purchased a "clothing optional gay motel" in West Hollywood. At the time, the spot was known not just for its lax clothing policy but also for the drug habits of its guests. Its nickname was "Sin Bin."
But a year after purchasing the property, Klein had done significant upgrades to the 29 bungalows and the pool they surround (the jacuzzi was removed) to warrant a feature article in the NY Times. Today, the hotel goes by the name San Vicente Bungalows and looks like a chic little oasis in the middle of WeHo. But it is by no means luxe.
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The Oscar Awards were so last week, but just as the water cooler talk about which movies won and which movies should have won, so continues talk about someone's glamorous dress. Only this is so much more complicated than, "Who are you wearing?"
Just before the weekend, news came out that last year's Oscar winner, Luptia Nyong'o had her expensive Calvin Klein pearl dress stolen from her suite at The London West Hollywood the day after the awards show. At the time, the hotel issued a statement saying the "unfortunate" incident, first reported by TMZ (of course), was true and that they were helping the police in their investigation.
Things took a weird turn on Friday when the dress was RETURNED to the hotel, stuffed inside a garbage bag and left under a bathroom sink in one of the public bathrooms at the hotel. Making the return of the beautiful dress even stranger was that the thief called TMZ (of course) to say that the dress was not worth the estimated $150,000 talked about in the press, because a jeweler told him the pearls on the dress were fake.
You would think that despite the fakery and despite not catching the thief, the case of the missing dress would be largely shut. After all, the dress was returned, no harm, no foul, except maybe two easily replaceable pearls were missing. But no, it gets even weirder.
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Since its opening in 2008, The London West Hollywood has always been a hot hotel in Los Angeles for celebrities such as Kevin Spacey, David Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow and chef Gordon Ramsay, who has a restaurant there (Sorry, Amanda Bynes.)
But with the opening of The London's new Screening Room, celebs won't have to go far to promote their movie as the press junket will be just an elevator ride away.
The sophisticated 110-seat screening room is located off the main lobby, across from Gordon Ramsay. Designed by Gonzalez Architects with interiors by Richmond Design, it's the largest screening room for a hotel in Los Angeles. And as Hollywood rides out the rest of the 2015 awards season, the room will be in hot demand.
But unlike a lot of things in Los Angeles, there's actually something beneath the pretty surface of this room.
When Amanda Bynes was placed under psychiatric care last summer after some outrageous incidents in NYC and LA, we thought, "Good. The girl is going to get the help she desperately needs." We also made a mental note that her best celebrity performance in hotels would be just a one-off win. We were wrong.
escaped was recently released from a second stint in a psychiatric hospital the other day and immediately took to the streets of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. That adventure alone signals she is still not well.
TMZ reported that Amanda was looking to find a place to stay in one of the hotels that line Sunset but was turned away. So she settled for chowing down at Mel's Diner, where a waitress promptly
asked for money first then told TMZ everything Amanda ate and what she said.
Now, today TMZ reveals it was The London West Hollywood where Amanda was turned away. But she didn't take the diss lightly.
Sources tell [TMZ] Bynes attempted to snag a room at the London hotel as she meandered the streets on the Sunset Strip Thursday, but when she got there she was turned away. Amanda has stayed there before and caused big problems.
[TMZ was] told Amanda became angry, grabbed a giant wad of cash, and tossed the bills into the air in the direction of the front desk.
Despite how badly we feel for Amanda, we completely agree with the hotel on this blacklisting.
UPDATE: We've been told this is NOT the rendering for Edition WeHo. Phew! We'll let you know when we've got a real one to share.
The Edition West Hollywood won't be opening until 2017 but when it does, it might look very similar to this rendering put forth by Eric Owen Moss Architects.
We first took notice of this design back in 2012 when it was revealed that an Edition hotel would open on the Sunset strip at Doheny. The hotel would take over the space occupied by the Scandia restaurant which served Scandinavian food to the stars before being replaced by a Mexican joint, Senoritas, in the 90s. (That place eventually closed in the early aughts.) Now, a tipster tells us there's more information about the design of the building:
A new, two story, 26 foot high retail building meets the intersection with a series of transparent, irregularly sloping glass planes – a “flying” glass ensemble. A 7,000 square foot ground floor restaurant with office on the second floor above, occupy theopening extends Sunset Boulevard into the site horizontally [in plan], and into the housing above, vertically [in section], visually associating the courtyard and retail spaces with the housing above. A variety of balcony sizes and configurations presents an irregular building volume, with clear glass and anodized aluminum panelized walls to the street below.
Um....ok. There's not much about the hotel component of the project to see, but we do know the property will have a courtyard, a pool and a spa, along with living gardens on the walls and the roofs. Still, with the opening about three years away and nary a construction crane in sight, we bet the design will change before then.
Now we wonder if there's a way to preserve some of the old Scandia restaurant's retro design? Or maybe Schrager will bring back the Scandia restaurant somehow? Ooo, we just got the shivers.
[Rendering via Eric Owen Moss Architects]
We first heard of the grand hotel aspirations for Los Angeles' iconic Sunset Boulevard way back in 2010 when the news came out that the House of Blues would be replaced by a crazy hotel condo complex. Two years later, we learned an Edition Hotel was opening up at Sunset and Doheny. And now, it looks like both of these projects are coming to fruition, along with a few others.
Bloomberg News reports that the House of Blues will close down in the near future and make way for a 149-room hotel which will open sometime in 2017. The property will also have residences attached.
But the House of Blues is not the only spot to lose their presence on the Sunset Strip. Larry Flynt's erotic Hustler Store will also be closed up and replaced by a luxury hotel. Meanwhile, Ian Schrager and Marriott are still working on plans for their Edition Hotel at Sunset and Doheny. And a James Hotel is set to open at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega some time in 2016. Also opening near the Hustler store is yet another luxury hotel hotel with about 190 rooms.
We're not so good at math but to us, that looks like 5 new hotels for West Hollywood within the next three to four years. Way back when in 2010 we wondered if West Hollywood could even sustain two new hotels. But now with the area's hotels reporting 82 percent occupancy, we guess we have our answer.
For a better understanding of our Sunset Strip is being colonized by hotels, head over to Curbed LA which put together a nifty map.
Just last week, fans of British boyband, One Direction, were lining up outside the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood hoping to get a glimpse of their teen idols. This week, another West Hollywood hotel is under siege from fans--The Chateau Marmont.
This was the holding area for Gaga's "Little Monsters" outside the hotel's valet entrance. As you can see, the Chateau is a pro at dealing with fan mobs and paparazzi crushes.
Gaga is staying over at Andre Balazs' super exclusive hideaway while she finishes up her new album. But her fans clearly already knew this as Twitter is littered with pap photos of Gaga leaving the hotel yesterday.
As for us, we didn't get to spend the night at Chateau (sigh) as it's entirely sold-out but we did manage to sneak in a quick breakfast meeting at their famed courtyard restaurant. Sadly, we had no Gaga or any other celeb sightings. Next time perhaps.
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The Andaz West Hollywood on Sunset is once again The Riot Hyatt, thanks to One Direction.
The British boy band is staying at the hotel this week during their Los Angeles tour stop and hoards of clever groupies have already staked out the hotel. Here's a snapshot of what the modern-day "band-aids" look like thanks to a tipster who's staying at the hotel.
Before the Andaz became the Andaz it was a regular old Hyatt hotel that hosted dozens of rock stars during the 70s and 80s and whose crazy antics (throwing a TV out the window, riding a motorcycle down the hall) gave the hotel its moniker, The Riot Hyatt.
Today however, it's more the fans that are doing the rioting rather than the boys themselves. Our tipster writes:
There are a bunch of bodyguards all over the hotel, especially the top floor, but these guys are extra friendly, they sort of remind me of Kevin Costner instead of the mean, scary bodyguards that I've encountered at home in New York.
Interestingly, the hotel is sold-out for the rest of this week. Rooms open back up on Monday at $325 a night but by then the boys have already left town. Meanwhile we hear that One Direction's rival group, The Wanted, is staying across the street at The Mondrian. Meow!
[Photo: HC tipster]
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We've always wanted hotelier Jeff Klein to open more hotels. After all, his Sunset Tower Hotel is one of the best hotels in LA, loved by celebs like Jennifer Aniston. Not to mention, with his City Club Hotel in New York City, he was a firm believer in offering free Wifi to his guests at a time when most hotels were still sending folks down to the business center to get online. But we're not quite sure about his latest acquisition.
Curbed LA reports that Klein has recently purchased a "a clothing-optional gay motel" in West Hollywood that's more known for being a drug haven. Eeek. The place is also adjacent, ironically, to a rehab facility called Klean. (Yes, that is correct.) But while Klein plans to keep the clothing optional aspect of the inn, he has now enforced a "zero tolerance" drug policy. Thank god.
However, he still has his work cut out for him. Check out this recent review of the inn on TripAdvisor reviews:
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This may look like a quiet, tranquil bench on the property at The Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood but it's actually played a role in rock and roll history.
Cyndi Lauper has often visited this bench while staying at the hotel and considers this spot one of her fave places to write music. Want proof? If you visit Sunset Marquis' website, they have a picture of Cyndi lounging on the bench. Told ya! But, this being THE hotel for rock stars, having musicians around the property is considered just a normal day. Everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Joan Jett, John Lennon and Steven Tyler have all called the Marquis their home away from home at one point.
Fancy yourself a rock star? Rates at the Sunset Marquis start at $249 a night.
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Last week, we learned that The Bachelorette, Desiree Hartstock, filmed one of her numerous dates at the Ojai Valley Inn, much to guest Johnny Jet's dismay. This week, we learn that Des and her men took over the Andaz West Hollywood and what a date it was: Our tipster writes in:
I was meeting a friend for lunch on the Sunset Strip this Thursday when we noticed a crowd in front of the Andaz hotel and a production crew with three or four cameras. We looked up and people were dancing on the facade of the building. We stuck around until the dancers came down to the ground and saw it was Des (The Bachelorette) on one of her dates. Here's a pic I snapped while they were rigged up on wires.
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...the Sunset Tower Hotel.
What can only be described as one of the most thrilling events of last night's Golden Globe awards was President Bill Clinton taking to the stage and introducing a clip from "Lincoln", the nominated film from director Steven Spielberg.
It was apparently an unexpected appearance, and we're certain there were more than a few swooning ladies (and men) in the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.
So, we're even more delighted to come across this Instagram photo from the hotel saying "Proud to have Former Pres Clinton with us after the #goldenglobes last night."
Normally the STH is home to Vanity Fair's post-Oscar party, so we're not sure if there was a post GG soiree going on, but we're impressed with the prez's choice of digs (it's Jennifer Aniston's go-to) as it's full of character, moderately priced at around $300 a night, and a pretty class act, to boot.
[Photo: Sunset Tower/Instagram]