This is a continuation of “Must See Art Hotels in the U.S.”
Following our Asia and Europe guides, the third installment of our Must-See Art Hotels takes on the United States. From the urbane, eclectic digs of the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City’s SoHo to the ambitious urban revitalization project of 21C Hotels in Louisville, Kentucky, intrepid urban explorers (as well as foodies and alcoholics) will be well taken care of at any of these!
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Opened in early 2014 in the Spanish Gothic-styled former United Artists building in downtown Los Angeles dating from 1927, this newest addition to the Ace Hotel empire deftly leverages the storied history of LA’s urban culture from the early twentieth century. The lovingly restored three-storey, 1,600-seat United Artists Theater, originally built for the United Artists motion picture studio, features an intricately detailed Gothic balcony and mezzanine and a vaulted ceiling whose mirrored surfaces give off an unearthly glow, and has hosted cult acts like Spiritualized and the LA premiere of Takashi Murakami’s feature film “Jellyfish Eyes.” In-house eatery LA Chapter, produced by the popular Brooklyn restaurant Five Leaves, serves modern Californian fare against a vintage, geometric interior backdrop that evinces the property’s Art Deco origins. And the rooftop pool, apparently inspired by that of Donald Judd’s in Marfa, Texas, is the perfect spot for a celebrity-ogling cocktail, or a languid gaze out at downtown LA’s rooftops.
The Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
As the redevelopment of downtown LA continues apace, Koreatown to the west is seeing a similar urban renaissance, thanks to another boutique hotel that also opened in early 2014, just next to the Wilshire/Normandie station. Housed in an understated, 12-storey modernist building designed by Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall, the 388-room Line Hotel is a creative, raw refurbishment that preserves the character of the original bare concrete and industrial cladding, envisioned by concept-hotel entrepreneur Andrew Zobler (of the Sydell Group, who also did the Ace and NoMad hotels in New York). Roy Choi produced the three nouveau Korean in-house restaurants, local designers Poketo curated the newsstand and boutique, while LA designer Sean Knibb took the upcycling theme and ran with it through a whole range of nifty touches, including a ceiling installation in the lobby cobbled together from old T-shirts, and quilted ottomans, Southwestern-inspired blankets, and laundry detergent bottle-shaped porcelain vases by artist Foekje Fleur in the rooms, and wallpaper created from photographs of the exposed concrete walls.
495 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Just a short walk from San Francisco’s Union Square, the 350-room Clift is the brainchild of Philippe Starck, offering a slick, high-gloss atmosphere with a steel grey, black, and ivory palette accented with velvet and leather, typical of the Morgans Hotel group, which bought the property from Four Seasons and restored its Victorian elegance before reopening in 2001. The dramatic, toned-down lighting is the perfect foil for the Surrealist theme, as demonstrated by the giant oversized lobby chair and coffee table by Salvador Dali, as well as portraits of toy animals by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. The carefully restored Art Deco Redwood Room, with its original wood paneling fashioned from a single redwood tree, shows off its Californian roots, while the adjacent Velvet Room restaurant, with Murano glass lamps and sweeping velvet curtains, provide a touch of requisite glamor to guests sampling executive chef Thomas Weibull’s local, sustainable Californian cuisine.