The Pendry West Hollywood is the Self-Indulgent Arrival Summer Needs
With a decadent art deco–style design by Martin Brudnizki, a private member’s club, and a fine-dining rooftop restaurant serving Shanghai lobster, the hotel is an ode to Hollywood’s golden era—and pre-pandemic good times.
Pendry Hotels knows how to stage an arrival experience. At every property, a showpiece art installation exploring light and space is the first thing guests encounter. In San Diego, it’s Adam Belt’s rainbow projection “You Deceived Me and I was Deceived.” At the Baltimore outpost, South Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn’s “Infinity Piece” offers up an illusory trip down a seemingly never-ending tunnel of opalescent circles. Amsterdam-based artist Arnout Meijer’s sculptural spheres play with luminescence and perception in the lobby of the recently opened location in Chicago.
West Hollywood, however, ups the ante: hometown artist Anthony James’ mind-bending geometric globe, “Icosahedron,” will take you for a spin. Peering into the portal, as he calls it, repeating LED equilateral triangles throw the senses into a disorientating vortex—especially after a few martinis. The work is exactly the kind of psychedelic fuck-your-mind energy we need after the mental toll of the pandemic.
At the Pendry West Hollywood, fun is back. It begins at check-in, where the staff encourages you to take a welcome juice infusion to the rooftop bar for a complimentary spike after sharing details of the house Cadillac or Gibson guitar available for use during your stay. While fellow neighborhood newcomer, The Edition, brims with Ian Schrager’s cool cache, the Pendry brings back the glam of Old Hollywood. Credit Swedish architect and designer Martin Brudnizki who spearheaded the interiors and imbued the 149-room property, housed in a contemporary glass shell by EYRC Architects spanning an entire block on Sunset Boulevard, with art deco touches, playful moments, and lively social spaces that evoke the Before Times.
“A sense of escapism pervades a lot of my work. That sense of transporting guests to another world, but one that isn’t too literal,” says Brudnizki, whose riotous style can be seen the world over at revered hangouts like Annabel’s in London and Miami’s Surf Club Restaurant. “We’ve harked back to the golden age of Hollywood and a sense of bold art deco with a rather opulent color palette, dazzling gold ceiling, lacquered finishes, and just in case it wasn’t theatrical enough, ostrich feathers and Marylin Monroe lamps spread across some of the spaces. The result is a place that has a sense of old-school glamour while feeling modern.”
Whether you strictly adhered to self-quarantine policies or ventured beyond your door and joined the great migration to the American wilderness, it feels damn good to travel to a city and sit in a room full of chattering strangers eating and drinking again. And who better to welcome us back than stalwart chef Wolfgang Puck? Not far from the restaurant that put him on the map, Beverly Hills’ Spago, the ubiquitous chef runs the ambitious culinary program.
Bar Pendry is a jewel box of a cocktail lounge on the ground floor that serves elevated pub grub and classic cocktails with a twist such as the black fig & walnut Manhattan and blood orange Sbagliato. There’s Ospero, a French bakery meets Italian trattoria with a casual grab-n-go cafe and a menu of wood-fired pizzas and housemade pastas.
But the standout is Merois where a mashup of French, Japanese, and Southeast Asian flavors is served inside an atmospheric rooftop dining room with a dramatic tented ceiling and striking views of Los Angeles, which are both upstaged by the menu’s extravagantly prepared Maine lobster cooked Shanghai style and dry-aged Peking duck.
“The days of a celebrity chef phoning it in from New York are over,” says Pendry Hotels & Resorts co-founder and creative director Michael Fuerstman. “We definitely wanted a chef who is based in L.A. Wolfgang is here every day. He’s shaking hands. He’s taking photos. He’s telling stories. He gets behind the line, starts with the team. Like he’s legitimately here. I love that. I don’t expect that to last forever, but it’s really impactful right now. He’s setting the stage.”
He won’t be the only one. On the site of the former House of Blues, a new state-of-the-art music venue will host intimate industry shows and afterparties with big-name talent playing Staples Center. It will also moonlight as a screening room, makeshift nightclub, and events space for the return of in-person awards season.
While the communal spaces are charged with voltage and buzz, the rooms exude a sense of residential calm with plush seating, neutral tones, and sumptuous materiality. Sanctuaries away from the Tinseltown madness. “West Hollywood has an identity that is as much about comfort as it is glamour and so the interiors had to feel soft and tactile while at the same time a little decadent. I always like my interiors to appeal to different moods and be capable of transition throughout someone’s stay,” says Brudnizki, who also designed Pendry’s 40 private residences on the southern side of its sprawling plaza. “In the evening the mood changes and the whole experience becomes more lively.”
Indeed. The after-dark scene is showing a pulse again. Dinners, drinks, dance parties— the pandemic athleisure uniform is being replaced by soigne clothes and an insatiable appetite to experience life again. Tits Out Summer is here. “What we really want to do is to get a 70’s DJ once a month, remove all the furniture, and no one can come in unless they’re in 70’s dress. No phones. No tagging. Just community,” says Estelle Lacroix, managing director of the on-site private members club, The Britely. Bathed in bubblegum pink, the subterranean boîte is a maximalist wet dream. Retro Hollywood Regency feather lamps, gold lamé pillows, and glimmering chandeliers adorn the restaurant, also helmed by Puck, and the bowling alley and live music lair in the back.
Upstairs, banana leaf plants and jade palmeral-tiger sofas appoint The Britely’s cordoned off section of the rooftop terrace, also home to Merois and the hotel’s pool lined in salmon sun loungers and sky blue scalloped chairs. “Part of our ethos is celebration and Martin really nailed it,” Lacroix says. “When people walk through this space they can’t wait to get a cocktail. It’s happy time. My biggest worry is: how many drinks can I handle a night?”