California dreaming is now reality. The West Hollywood EDITION arrives just in time to punctuate the Southern California landscape with an excitement and energy reminiscent of the cultural revolutions that took place there in the Sixties, Seventies and Nineties. Ian Schrager, in partnership with Marriott International, brings the first true luxury hotel experience to the Sunset Strip and also the only West Coast location in the EDITION collection, in addition to 20 one of a kind residences that sit atop of the property.
As Los Angeles continues its evolution into a world-class city for art, fashion, food and technology – in addition to its reign as the entertainment capital of the world – the spotlight is shining ever more brightly on one of its most fabled districts, West Hollywood. Nestled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, it was home to restaurants and nightclubs favored by movie stars in the Thirties and Forties; The Rat Pack’s stomping grounds in the Fifties (the site where the hotel now sits was once occupied by the restaurant Scandia, where Frank Sinatra once had a private office and his own shower upstairs); and where, as a college student, Schrager witnessed its first renaissance in the late Sixties and early Seventies. In 1996, Schrager led Sunset Boulevard’s second rebirth with the opening of the Mondrian, a hotel that defined the boutique hospitality category. Nearly a quarter-century later, he returns to drive its third renaissance with a luxury urban resort that represents California of today and tomorrow.
“It’s been 12 years since we began working with Ian Schrager, and The West Hollywood EDITION marks our 10th hotel opening together. Our organic partnership has melded the best of what each of us brings to the table. With Ian’s expertise and vision on this particular project, The West Hollywood EDITION is an oasis of sophistication and quickly becoming a part of the fabric of the city’s culture,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International.
“We are in the Mona Lisa business…we aspire to be the best hotel in California; that’s always our approach. With architecture, design, entertainment and service, we try to offer something that people have never experienced before,” said Schrager. “I was lucky enough to be part of West Hollywood’s second cultural rebirth, and now with a whole new wave of hotels, apartments and restaurants, I’m happy to be part of its third renaissance, recapturing Sunset Boulevard’s magic and immortalizing it with that same ethos.’
Sunset Boulevard cemented its status in the pop-culture zeitgeist in the late Sixties and early Seventies, as a gathering place for youth and the counterculture. West Coast musicians such as The Mamas and the Papas, The Doors, The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young, Stephen Sills and Richie Furay) and Harry Nilsson flourished in venues up and down the Strip such as Whisky a Go Go, the Roxy and Pandora’s Box. In 1965, The Byrds performed their iconic hit “Mr. Tambourine Man,” written by Bob Dylan, at Ciro’s Le Disc club. The next year, a clash between youth and police trying to enforce a curfew (“The Riot on Sunset Strip”) inspired Sills to write the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth” that became an anti-war anthem famous for the lines, “I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?/Everybody look what’s going down.” Meanwhile West Hollywood was also home to The Troubadour, where, in 1970, Elton John made his debut and Glenn Frey and Don Henley met and decided to form The Eagles. David Geffen’s Asylum Records signed that band, as well as artists Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown and many others helping to popularize the “soft rock” genre and create the ‘California Sound’ that became known worldwide.
Although the area experienced its highs and lows, The West Hollywood EDITION pays homage to its enduring history by reviving the Golden Age energy and creating a new kind of gathering place for visitors and locals alike on Sunset Strip. “The streets were filled with music and people from all over the country were pouring into California to be a part of it. Sunset Boulevard became the voice of a generation and we are trying to recapture that same magic and energy with EDITION – not by repeating the past but by evoking it and by steering the future with that same spirit” says Schrager.
Upon entering the driveway off Sunset Boulevard behind a wall of lush foliage that includes Alepo Pine, Arbutus, Camphor, Carolina Cherry Laurel, Olive and Ficus trees where guests are transported into what feels like a private home that’s both a part of the action and an idyllic respite at the same time. It took 850 tons of soil and 56 species of indigenous plants to create, but it was important for EDITION to reflect the literal nature of Southern California.
Famed British architect John Pawson created the modern building at 9040 West Sunset Boulevard from the ground up, employing dramatic proportions and rich materials such as the Western Red Cedar for the entryway and outsize front doors, and Italian travertine for the soaring lobby area. The entire three-story space appears to be cut from one stone, with slabs so perfectly matched that Pawson’s team decided not to fill the joints. Designed to convey a sense of timelessness rather than a decade-defining aesthetic, the setting also evokes the glamour of Old Hollywood movies, creating a fine balance between old and new.
Inside, the eye is drawn to a prominent installation by Los Angeles artist Sterling Ruby. As with each EDITION, the artwork reflects its unique locale, in this case, L.A.’s art-driven cultural scene. Ruby’s mobile “The Scale” incorporates industrial objects as a reference to the grittiness of the Sunset Strip while also implying the dense ecosystem of dangling foliage that covers much of the hotel. At the far end of the lobby, an outdoor courtyard and fire feature draw guests in, while casual yet refined seating areas throughout and an inviting bar encourage social interaction.
Every level of the hotel takes on different personalities, offering unique experiences, from the subterranean club Sunset to the 360-degree show-stopping vistas from the lush landscaped garden in the sky, to Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s Ardor restaurant on the main level, along with a state-of-the-art multimedia performance and event space and a spa blending wellness, mindfulness and beauty.
California native Fraser, who is spearheading the food and beverage experience at The West Hollywood EDITION, has created signature restaurant Ardor as a showcase for vegetable-forward healthy California cuisine with flavors inspired by local ingredients. Recognized as one of the best vegetable chefs in the world, Fraser’s menu features an artful balance of produce and meats, using techniques from around the world and products sourced hyper-locally. Each dish is made with organic ingredients and focuses on the essence of food, prepared simply and presented socially for a contemporary culinary journey.
Ardor’s greenery-filled garden was built for al fresco dining in the finest traditions of Napa, transporting guests from the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard to an idyllic respite. Inside, its rich wood interior, echoing the timber screens and ceiling beams used in the other public spaces, ensconces guests in an intimate, energy-filled environment. The cocktails, as well as those served in Lobby Bar, The Roof and Sunset, range from classic libations with a modern approach as well as bespoke creations emphasizing mezcals and tequilas. The wine selection will highlight Fraser’s connection with Northern California, where he trained before moving to New York in 2005.
One cannot think of the Sunset Strip without the dazzling views afforded by its orientation at the base of the mountains and high above the city and beaches. The Roof at The West Hollywood EDITION offers dreamy 360-degree vistas that stretch from the ocean of Santa Monica to the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles. EDITION is one of the few buildings that offers both bird’s-eye views of the homes nestled in the green hills to the north, and the city lights to the south, making it a must-see during the day and night, where it seats 130 in a soaring glass and beamed indoor-outdoor space.
By day, guests at The Roof can soak up the sun and views in chaise lounges beside the beautifully landscaped pool that sits flush atop a terraced deck adorned with wooden bench seating, mature trees and row upon row of terra cotta potted plants. The Roof’s menu offers Latin and tropical-inspired cocktails with Southern California flair. A deep list of mezcals and tequilas are met with fresh, vibrant, and colorful California citruses, along with wellness cocktails incorporating fresh pressed juices, Kombucha cocktails, a substantial list of rosés, and a selection of temperance and low-proof spirit cocktail options.
Creatures of the night will be drawn down below to Sunset, a highly anticipated modern and new kind of gathering place in the spirit of the dozens of clubs that dotted Sunset Strip in the 60’s and 70’s. With a focus on both great cocktails and great music, Sunset has been curated by acclaimed DJ Zen Freeman. The venue has an adjacent intimate room for smaller parties, where dark wood-paneled walls and deep green velvet seating evoke a speakeasy vibe rather than a dance club, with a pool table and a private room adding to the laid-back atmosphere.
Marrying the most advanced multimedia technology with the comfort and service of a luxury hotel, The West Hollywood EDITION will be a premier partner for unique events and entertainment junkets taking place in Los Angeles. The state-of-the-art technology, floor-to-ceiling glass and hardwood-floored multimedia performance and event space also transforms into a theater-quality screening room complete with JBL and Dolby speaker systems and retractable stadium-style seating. The glass and timber-screened space is built like a box-within-a-box, with a roll-down, 4K high definition video screen along one wall, blackout walls and 100 deployable seats on risers that create a light-free multimedia space in just one-hour of set-up. Additionally, there are four event breakout and meeting rooms and two floors wired for press junkets, including suites that have entrances accessible from the main level, away from other guestrooms.
Because every traveler ultimately judges a hotel by its guestrooms and its service, no detail has been overlooked in the private areas. The 140 guestrooms and 50 suites feature a soothing and sophisticated light neutral palette and whitewashed Siberian Larch wood throughout that reflects the unique light and lightness of Los Angeles. Floor-to-ceiling sliding screens filter the sun while providing privacy, and mimic the timber screens that surround the ballroom and Ardor. EDITION signatures such as freestanding tubs and Le Labo products are found here too, and the signature Le Labo fragrance that has become a cult favorite among guests is also present throughout the property.
The Spa at The West Hollywood EDITION is the first luxury destination in Los Angeles to weave together wellness, mindfulness and beauty from within, through treatments and experiences that embrace healthy lifestyles and ecological well-being. Services rooms include technology-forward treatments with sound and light, recovery therapies to restore the mind and body, and ancient rituals such as self-guided meditation. Inner health and nutrition are a focus with plant-derived products, including essential oils. Finally, a 2,077-square-foot, 24-hour gym caters to all workout needs and will have the latest state-of-the-art fitness machines including Peloton bicycles. Echoing the light neutral palette of the property, the 4,516-square-foot, six-treatment-room spa is enveloped in washed Siberian Larch wood and venetian plaster, which has a smooth surface with the illusion of depth and texture.