When the developers of Dream Hotels migrated westward, they brought with them a recognition not only that what works in New York needs to be adapted in order to make sense in laid-back Los Angeles, but also that today’s luxury travelers are a different breed from those of just a decade ago. Thus, new west coast flagship, which opened in July in a newly spiffed up section of Hollywood, has a relaxed but nonetheless glamorous vibe.
Designed, like the rest of the Dream Hollywood, by the well-regarded Rockwell Group, the lobby sets the stage, with a welcoming, high-ceilinged space that on most days is completely open to the outdoors. There’s none of that red carpet, velvet rope, “am I underdressed?” feeling you get when entering certain boutique hotels. (The velvet ropes are around the corner, in front of the hotel’s Avenue nightclub, and upstairs, at the rooftop Highlight Room bar, at least by night.)
The 178 rooms are handsome and stylish, full of rich black walnut, plush textures, midcentury details and sinuous little love seats. The designers weren’t afraid of color, and they deployed some retro hues with a skilled hand. As the floors get higher, the views get better, as it’s one of the taller buildings in the neighborhood. (I recently stayed in one as a guest of the hotel.)
The most luxurious room, the Guesthouse—”penthouse” is so last-decade—is an oversize (1,750 square feet), sun-drenched urban retreat with dining, drinking, lounging and screening areas, plus a dreamy bedroom and one of the sexiest hotel bathrooms in Los Angeles. Its walls are clad in black marble and an ostrich-egg tub sits in front of one of the picture windows. The windows, by the way, wrap almost entirely around the suite.
This being 2018 and this being Hollywood, there’s a solid wellness component. The 24-hour gym is stylish and serious, designed by Gunnar Peterson—the trainer who has been responsible for the physiques of J. Lo, Angelina Jolie and the Kardashians—and filled with the latest aerobic and strength equipment. There’s no spa, but a partnership with beGlammed brings guests on-demand hair and makeup services, and the rooftop, poolside dining area—which has some of the best rooftop views in the city—serves a menu that’s heavy on SoCal clean-eating food: açai bowls, avocado toast, wood-oven-roasted cauliflower and English pea hummus.
But all the food and drink venues, all overseen by the TAO group—known for its opulent restaurants—have the capacity to be somewhat more indulgent. The Asian bistro TAO is a 300-seat see-and-be-seen venue with a wide-ranging menu drawing on China, Japan and Thailand. Beauty & Essex, which you enter via an unmarked door in a suspiciously stylish pawnshop in the hotel’s narrow London-style alleyway, has an intimate, low-lit bar for inventive cocktails and a grand dining room serving dishes that range from tuna poké wonton tacos to “chile relleno” empanadas. And the fast casual Luchini Pizzeria & Bar offers by-the-slice New York–style pies, Sicilian slices and market salads. (The designers craftily made it the exit from the Avenue nightclub, and it’s open late.)
The house cars are a Continental and Navigator from Lincoln, a brand that’s morphing into a more modern, hipper incarnation. To paraphrase another carmaker aiming to appeal to new audiences, the Dream Hollywood is not your grandfather’s luxury hotel.
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