Best Hotel Opening :: SLS at Beverly Hills
We know: you thought we were gonna with the Thompson LES as the best hotel opening of 2008, weren't you? Not this time we've given the LES lots of the love and attention (and fair criticism) it deserves, but in awarding this particular honor we looked West to SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.
Last year, if you'll recall, we bestowed the honor of Best Opening upon NYLO Plano, for whom we had very little criticism after a rather enjoyable overnight stay fairly soon after the property opened. Our choice of SLS for the best hotel opening may be a little bit surprising considering we've heaped a fair bit of criticism their way, but we praise SLS for what it is for what it has done for LA: injected a kickass hip new life into the getting-stale-quickly LA hotel scene, littered with copycat boutiques, big box hotels and old-ass luxury hotels in Beverly Hills.
When we went into the SLS on a pre-opening tour, we loved what we saw: there were three separate common areas (and guests-only hangouts see ya later, scenester celebutards). And we liked what we saw in the guest room something different:
Inside the guest rooms, prepare to have your vision of the traditional hotel room turned on its head. If you like predictability in your hotel rooms, then you should not stay here. The focus of the room is the bed. Apparently, [Phillipe] Starck wanted to create a sort of floating hotel bed. Thus the bed sits in a clear, but sturdy frame with two shelves jutting out from each side where a Macally Tune Pro iPod dock/alarm clock sits on one and a pen and pad sit on the other.
The desk is located behind the bed and all that is in front of you is a 40" Sony plasma TV placed within a floor-to-ceiling black light box. It's crazy.
Sexy, except for the low-ceilings. Let's hope the entrance of an unusual hotel like SLS happens in major markets beyond just LA to stir things up all over the hotel world in '09.