When ever I find myself in LA, my must do is touring the latest boutique hotel interiors. This is where designers can push the boundaries to create unique environments to draw the hip crowds, especially when your in a city with the population and cache of LA. Taking these cues can help inspire you in creating your own spaces and, more importantly, show you how it is possible to make an interior relevant to its exterior without making it a restoration.
Our first stop was the beautiful new Palli House Property in Santa Monica. The spectacular Moorish-influenced, Mediterranean revival architecture has been retained and enhanced. Designed to be more a exclusive club-residence for the guests with opulent, unobtrusive service. The lobby has deep teal walls with stencilled exposed beamed ceilings. It’s full of vintage furniture and contemporary pieces with a wink to the past; then layered with a myriad of decorative objects including, my favourites, taxidermy and porcelain animals. The rooms are more like small apartments with kitchens and sitting rooms that contain a masterful blend of furnishings and fabrics. Toiles, florals, plaids and velvets are all at home here. A must do for an extended stay in Santa Monica.
Next stop, Downtown LA. This area is full of beautiful architecture that has been long neglected. Downtown is now pumping. The Hotel de jour is ACE Hotel, Downtown LA. Situated in the historic United Artist building, this is a renovation that highlights the existing architecture and, at the same time, creates a visual platform for the artists involved in designing the interior.
Having only opened this year, it is the place to introduce yourself to the hip crowd at the fab restaurant and pumping roof top pool bar. I love the cleverly inserted art pieces throughout the common spaces. The back wall of the lobby desk is clad in wool and a sketch artist has been commissioned to do intricate pencil sketches intermediately around the walls and ceilings in the public areas. A collection of the old chains and pulleys from the buildings original days as a theatre have been used to make a cool installation above the pool bar. Love it, but this is not a place to find seclusion and quiet.
Our final stop for this trip was the LINE Hotel in Korea-town. This mid-century building had had some connection to the old train line, hence the name. Now this is a creative use of materials by the first time hotel designer Sean Kibb. He has definitely played upon the theme of the original structure with travertine floors and exposed concrete walls. Like the ACE, artists have been commissioned to incorporate interior elements that are more like art instillations. Behind the lobby desk that is clad in burgundy coloured metal, is a beautiful sculptural piece made from recycled plastic bottles.
The lobby furniture, predominately formed from a mauve stained wood veneer with matching velvet upholstery, resembles a mountain landscape that meanders around the space. Punctuated with hessian covered arm chairs with orange piping and, perhaps the most creative use of materials of all, a ceiling made of decoupaged T-shirts painted in accent colours. Also love the gold balloon installation above the bar, where you must order the house drink called the penicillin. Delicious!
Like all the latest venues, this hotel also has the mandatory pool deck, restaurant and bar. I love the concept for the restaurant. There is some alfresco dining and the rest of the seating is in a glass house like structure; ready for all weather conditions. The styling is casual / industrial. The rooms follow the theme of raw industrial meets mid century with a killer floor to ceiling view over the hollywood hills. Furniture in the rooms is either mid-century or custom designed with a definite deconstructed style. This hotel is like nothing else you will see and will definitely open your eyes to creative uses of materials. Be inspired.