Nothing says LA like the penthouse of the Chateau Marmont

Not that you ever need a proper reason for a road trip, but one of the best involves an occasion that is decidedly personal. I had such an occasion this past weekend which I credit with having given birth to this entire road trip extravaganza. That the occasion occurred in my own hometown of Los Angeles is beside the point…because, as I say, you never need a proper reason to take a road trip. Among the many extraordinary things about living in a city like Los Angeles is the fact that it is constantly changing and evolving to the point that you may well find yourself living in a place that you truly don’t know very well. Of course, we can all toss off lists of old faithful places in our hometowns to recommend to visiting guests, but how many times have you found yourself reeling off the same list over and over again to the point that you bore even yourself? It was this notion that got me to thinking that while I was exploring the rest of California I should do a little of the same in my own backyard. My first stop was at the Hotel Orlando on W. 3rd Street between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. In the last decade or so, W. 3rd Street has turned into one of the hottest and trendiest boulevards in Los Angeles, chock full of the hippest boutiques and eateries lined up neatly alongside each other for a stretch of several blocks between La Cienaga Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Hotels are, however, the one commodity in short supply on 3rd Street which is why the Hotel Orlando piqued my curiosity.


Pool at the Hotel Orlando

I have not only driven past the Hotel Orlando on many occasions but I have dined at and even written about the property’s popular Churchill gastropub which specializes in handmade cocktails and seasonal American cuisine. However, I had never set foot inside the hotel until this past Saturday. Boutique and lively, the Hotel Orlando is fun four-star hotel in the thick of the action on 3rd Street. Searing hot local faves like Joan’s on Third, Son of a Gun and Blue Plate Oysterette are all within walking distance of the hotel. As are shops including Trina Turk, Civilianaire and Duncan Quinn.  Having just undergone a renovation recently, Hotel Orlando, is a handsome, hip neighborhood hotel whose time has come. Another hotspot worthy of note from my weekend of exploration in the City of Angels is The Continental Club in downtown Los Angeles, which has all the au courant festiveness that has come to rep DTLA wrapped in the classic feel of a speakeasy right down to the downstairs entrance to the club through an alley. The ambiance is old-school, the music is eclectic and the vibe is definitely completely and utterly downtown (with a stylish dress code of course). Finally as I head out of Los Angeles, I do so with fond memories of yet another starry evening at Andre Balazs’ Chateau Marmont, which remains the king of cool in a city with many pretenders to the throne. As far as I’m concerned, you haven’t seen Los Angeles until you’ve had dinner at the Chateau and danced until dawn while peering out over the city from the balcony of the Penthouse Suite. Now, as Frank Sinatra sang…”That’s Life!” Next stop Palm Springs. In the meantime, here’s a little mini gallery from my LA adventures…

(Additional photography by Robert Musick)