Luxury Hotels: For those unfamiliar, Andaz West Hollywood hotel is a key part of Hyatt's burgeoning boutique brand that also boasts properties in San Diego, New York and London. Located in the heart of Los Angeles on the legendary Sunset Strip, it's no wonder Andaz West Hollywood — a former Hyatt hotel — was once a notorious hangout for rock stars the likes of Jim Morrison, Keith Richards and Axl Rose.
But, alas, the landmark hotel has since been completely renovated, remodeled and redesigned into an elegantly cosmopolitan and environmentally aware retreat catering to high end travelers who expect nothing less than exceptional service. With this, I of course had to book a visit of my own to experience, first-hand, the changes ushered in with the Andaz re-branding. And change it has.
The hotel's redesign-the brainchild of New York-based architecture and interior design firm Janson Goldstein LLP-has resulted in a myriad of engaging and intimate open spaces throughout the property, sans walls, that make it feel airy, comforting and inviting. The suites and rooms are chic, modern and entirely clean in their design, further propagating the hotel's overriding laissez-faire Southern California sensibility. Indeed, throughout its 238 rooms, 14 stories and all public spaces, the hotel's style aesthetic dutifully exudes a sleek and sophisticated simplicity that beckons guests to come in, relax and leave their cares behind.
Far from a cookie cutter hotel chain experience, walking into Andaz West Hollywood's spacious lobby — with its breathtaking glass garden pavilion featuring an 11-foot metal sculpture — gives you the sense you're at a thoughtfully designed, one-of-a-kind destination with a self-imposed higher standard. The distinctive experience ensues with the a check-in process unlike most — sitting comfortably on a lounger or couch, sipping wine, coffee or juice offered as a welcome amenity. Counters need not apply.
Also of note in the lobby, and throughout the property, is the "Art Seen at the Andaz" — a rotating public art exhibition featured throughout the hotel. There is currently a wealth of Ozzy Osbourne photographic art that I could not get enough of. The Lounge area where guests can sit to check in, or just take a rest and repose, is designed with casual seating vignettes that sit atop a rather psychedelic-looking wool carpet of ochre and berry. Off to one side is a dramatic bronze-glass staircase that leads to a mezzanine level where the fitness facility, meeting and event spaces are located.
Room options at the property are plentiful, and include the Andaz Queen, Andaz King, View Queen, Andaz Suite Queen, Andaz Suite King, and the Penthouse Suite. All of the guestrooms and the 20 expansive suites — one of which I was lucky enough to occupy — offer a notable range of amenities. My favorite is the incredible panoramic views of Los Angeles and its dramatic skyline. Even the regular rooms feature an impressive lot: a custom Sealy Posturpedic bed set with Pacific Coast down blanket, luxurious Frette bathrobes, iHome stereo with iPod docking station, one or more LCD flat screen TVs, mini refrigerator, iron and ironing board, two cordless phones, in-room safe, in-room movies, extra feather pillow and blanket, blackout shades and drapes and individual climate control. Other distinct perks for guests include a mini bar with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a "sleep menu" offering eye masks, sound machines, ear plugs, loaner iPods, and books and magazines.
I checked into one of the hotel's expansive one-bedroom, two full bathroom suites offering a full 800 square feet of space. It had a striking modern décor with a muted color palette that was punctuated with colorful rock memorabilia artwork (authentic album covers and the like), which duly inspired me to jam the in-room Geneva Sound System. The suite also boasted a separate living room and sunroom sitting area with floor-to-ceiling windows — each space, including the bedroom, with its own flat screen television set. The Penthouse Suite raises the bar with a whopping 1,500 square feet of space, offering a separate bedroom with King bed, private dining area, wet bar and wine refrigerator, living room, two flat screen TVs, a Geneva Sound System and a second half bathroom. The main bathroom has a separate marble rain shower and soaker tub.
If you can bear to leave your lavish room, a great space to unwind with a cocktail or two is on Andaz West Hollywood's 3,600 square foot rooftop sundeck. Here guests will find a heated pool (the highest rooftop pool in L.A., in fact), private cabanas, plush chaise lounges, daybeds, a full bar, and one of the city's best views of downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills. The rooftop bar offers signature cocktails and victuals from the on-site RH restaurant. Read my full review of Andaz West Hollywood's RH restaurant here.
During my stay I did find the time to hit the hotel fitness facility, which has state-of-the-art cardio equipment (treadmills, bikes, ellipticals), nautilus machines, free weights, medicine balls and other gear. The space is bright and airy, with large windows overlooking the Sunset Strip.
For those seeking an avant-garde event space, the Panorama is a stunning 3,000-square-foot rooftop ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breathtaking views. Andaz West Hollywood also has a professional staff of meeting, event, and wedding planners at your disposal. Past events at the property include Vanity Fair's Hollywood Domino Party, the Weinstein Company's 2009 Pre-Oscar Bash, LG's Rumorout Night with Heidi Klum and Rolling Stone Magazine's "Rock the Roof" Party.
As mentioned, Andaz West Hollywood adheres to green business practices. As an example of the property's eco-friendliness, sunroom windows have a special coating that reduces solar heating (resulting in less air conditioning usage), and wood floors used throughout the property are made from sustainable materials. The hotel also utilizes water-saving technologies and employs a number of other environmentally responsible practices throughout the hotel, terraces, dining and entertaining spaces.
In all, I was not only impressed with Andaz West Hollywood for it's stylish surroundings, but also for the highly personalized and attentive service from personnel throughout — from the valet, to the lobby "hosts," to the food service staff and housekeeping personnel. It was apparent they were all ready, willing and able to make my Andaz experience to be the best it could possibly be. And it was.
Merilee Kern is JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor. She scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating product, service and travel "musts." Submissions are accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com. View all of Merilee's Luxe List articles from here (scroll to page bottom) and follower her on Twitter here: twitter.com/LuxeListEditor.