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Review – Andaz West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Sixties Reverb
The bad boys of rock ’n’ roll ruled this hotel in the 1960s, often blasting in from adrenaline-fueled sets at the neighboring Whisky a Go Go or the Troubadour. Here, Keith Richards hurled a TV from his tenth-floor window, Led Zeppelin’s crew rode choppers down the hallways and Jim Morrison dangled by his fingertips from a balcony high above the Sunset Strip. If the official name was Continental Hyatt House, to music insiders, this magnet for rock-star mayhem was known as the “Riot Hyatt.”

Now that the skid marks are gone and furniture-tossing is no longer a popular pastime, the hotel’s incendiary heyday lives on largely in films like Almost Famous. The lobby where a frenetic young Robin Williams once did impromptu late-night sets is now a sleek, open Andaz Lounge where guests are greeted by iPad-wielding hosts. Less “designed” than other Andaz hotels—unless you count the liberally tattooed staff—the West Hollywood property takes a minimalist route, with white walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel puts technology where it counts, offering free Wi-Fi for as many devices as you can carry, clever infrared sensors to illuminate the bathroom as you enter and an email to prompt online check-in, which I completed on the drive from the airport.

Amidst the Action
In the thick of the Sunset Strip, right at the crossroads of House of Blues and the Comedy Store, this is one of the few spots where visitors can do a short trip to L.A. sans car. Between the boldface nightspots are some of Hollywood’s favorite indie haunts, such as Book Soup, where studio execs come for their “print fix” of arcane backstage stories like Rebel Without a Crew by starving-filmmaker-turned-player-turned-author Robert Rodriguez. Down the street is the restaurant Night + Market, where the walls are plastered with Thai LPs and young Angeleans nosh on rootsy food-stall dishes like hog collar and chicken curry noodles with silky coconut cream.

Food, Drink and Recreation
The in-house RH restaurant favors local artisanal ingredients like deep burgundy Paso Prime beef produced in Old Argentine–style, and Mary’s Free-Range Chicken from Pitman Farms, raised in a “stress-free” environment. While the wine list is peppered with California’s hottest cult bottles, I chose Fireman’s Brew, created by two California firefighters, in part because Andaz donates a portion of profits to families of the Fire Department’s fallen brethren.

Working off meals is no hardship at the gym overlooking Sunset, where aerobic machines have personal TVs and the gratis water pitcher is infused with fresh mint. A flash of sixties decadence endures on the 3,600-square-foot roof, where the highest swimming pool in L.A. is surrounded by king-sized beds under Riviera-style sunshades, with ravishing views that reach from downtown to the beaches.

Meeting Space
Adjacent to the rooftop play area is a 3,000-square-foot ballroom facing the same jaw-dropping vistas. On the mezzanine, meeting rooms open onto a reception area lined with images of rock icons, dominated by a larger-than-life Robert Plant with cascading curls and outstretched arms on a hotel balcony proclaiming, “I am a golden god,” to crowds below.

While every Andaz is different, at first glance, aficionados of the brand may find this property a bit lackluster: Minibar goodies are pared down; no all-day treats or cocktail appetizers accompany the afternoon wine; and décor is largely plain vanilla, perhaps because this Andaz was remodeled from an older hotel, not built from scratch. Still, the price is reasonable for this location in the heart of L.A., guests enjoy the same ravishing views as multimillion-dollar homes in the neighboring Hollywood Hills and details that recall this hotel’s role during the heady dawn of rock ’n’ roll shower ample stardust for a memorable stay.

A standard Andaz King starts at $265.

Author: Janet Forman
Courtesy: Premier Traveler

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