The design-centric boutique hotel? That’s Ian Schrager’s doing.
Given Schrager’s professional origins launching Manhattan’s legendary Studio 54, it makes sense that the brand new West Hollywood Edition hotel and residences continue this cultural legacy in some key respects while offering an evolved, grown-up experience in others.
“I get an instinctive feel for a place,” Schrager said while nursing a Coke at the Roof pavilion restaurant and bar that caps his latest project. Located at 9040 W. Sunset Blvd., at the southeast corner of Doheny Drive, the quietly dramatic property with commanding views of the L.A. basin and beyond comprises 190 rooms — including 50 suites — and 20 luxury residence units.
As with other Schrager efforts, the Edition both blends seamlessly with the streetscape and makes a statement of its own. And as to be expected, the 10th location of the brand is already making its mark as the L.A. hotspot to see and be seen.
The Edition boasts an intimate subterranean club simply called Sunset, for instance, where singer Janelle Monáe performed at the preview bash last month. Other hotel facilities include meeting and event spaces, a spa and Ardor restaurant, helmed by chef John Fraser, the dining room of which is lined with enough lush potted greenery to keep interior plantscapers consistently occupied.
The opening festivities kicked off earlier this month and continued for five days, with a parade of boldfaced names — from Lenny Kravitz to Demi Moore to RuPaul — attending events at Sunset, Ardor and the Roof.
Schrager made his mark with then-business partner Steve Rubell at Studio 54 until 1980 before pivoting to hotels with properties such as Morgans and Royalton Hotel. L.A.'s hospitality scene felt Schrager’s impact when in 1995 he purchased the Mondrian on the Sunset Strip and subsequently tapped Philippe Starck to transform the venue with the French designer’s inimitable whimsy.
Everywhere you look, there are design world marvels, from the meticulously selected and matched travertine slabs to the soothing Siberian larch wood in the spa. That rooftop pavilion, for example, is all clean lines, filled in with bursts of royal blue seating cushions. Classic Pierre Jeanneret teakwood Chandigarh chairs are juxtaposed with furniture upholstered with white linen that would seem to tempt fate, given the placement at a buzzing hotel bar perched above the Sunset Strip.
It’s a big step in the evolution of the Sunset Strip’s brash rock ‘n’ roll reputation, this time complete with an original Sterling Ruby mobile called “The Scale” installed in the Edition lobby.
The West Hollywood Edition’s unveiling also introduces a wider West Coast audience to the work of London-based architect John Pawson, who is known for his mastery of space and rigorously pared sensibility.
At the West Hollywood Edition, which is operated in partnership with Marriott International, “I think the materials that John chose are very appropriate,” Schrager said.
“I just love his aesthetic,” Schrager added. “It’s a good envelope for me to take what he does and add layers onto it. I’m not interested in things being categorized.” (Schrager is quick to note that the Edition, with its expanses of unadorned surfaces and open volumes, is not simply “minimalist.”)
The 20 units of the Residences at the West Hollywood Edition, developed by the New York City-based Witkoff Group with New Valley, were almost entirely sold upon completion. Apartments range from approximately 1,600 to a lavish 6,400 square feet, and all showcase Pawson’s preference for calming palettes and meticulous geometry, with elements such as Molteni kitchens, sliding glass walls with louvered teak shades, and interior teak details that carefully conceal outlets and systems.
“I tend to design what I personally would like for my family,” the architect explained. “A lot of love has gone in.” Amenities include a full-time concierge, high-tech smart features galore, and lobby, fitness and pool areas separate from the hotel, as well as art curatorial services from the Residence Concierge Art Program by Creative Art Partners.
Until now, Pawson’s sole Los Angeles undertaking was a private residence in Bel-Air. The positioning of the tower and floor-to-ceiling windows, plus the outdoor spaces, achieve the goal of maximizing this storied setting.
“We all dream of it,” Pawson said via telephone from his London offices about his relationship to this quasi-mythical area of Los Angeles. “We’ve seen the movies and been along Sunset Strip — for the good and the bad,” he said drolly. To a European, Sunset is “so intimate, because you can walk.”
During the final days leading up to the Edition’s soft opening, Schrager recalled how his interior design team swept through to make select tweaks in the public spaces. Changes meant sumptuous green drapery, furniture and accessory switches, and incorporating discerning pops of color into Pawson’s exactingly proportioned, travertine-clad lobby.
“It’s like making a soup. You adjust the process. You don’t know where you’re going to end up,” Schrager opines. “I know how people react to a space. I know what creates the sparks, and that’s what I’m out for.”
The Roof at the West Hollywood Edition
Where: 9040 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., with an all-day menu