Los Angeles has a hotel problem. Not that it has bad ones—between beloved old standbys like the Chateau Marmont, and popular newcomers like The Ace, the city practically swarms with hip hospitality. But most have something in common: design-wise, they tend to be somewhat on-the-nose, playing up their La La Land locale with a lot of self-conscious Hollywood atmospherics and funky-fabulous décor.
“I think designers can get trapped by the word ‘glamour,’” says Shawn Sullivan. A partner at New York-based firm Rockwell Group, Sullivan has just finished work on a new and different kind of LA hotel—the first West Coast location for the international Dream brand. Located right in the heart of Hollywood, just steps from the Walk of Fame and with a clear view to the famed hillside signage, The Dream eschews the usual Tinsel Town theatrics for something that bears an alarming resemblance to authenticity. “I think of LA as a city of neighborhoods, with all these great houses,” he says. For The Dream, he lets the public into one.
The domestic ambience begins at reception, less a lobby than an indoor-outdoor terrace with a wide-open entrance and sprawling plant-life; underfoot, the marble floors are interrupted by patches of remarkably lifelike artificial turf. The first thing the visitor encounters isn’t the concierge desk, but a bar, which is open late and sits opposite a decidedly living room-like lounge with cheeky original artwork and plush seating. Up the elevators and into the rooms, one finds remarkably spare interiors with dark bronze fixtures and wooden built-ins. It’s a nice balance of comfy and cool, and the only express reference to its LA-ness is easy to miss: wall-sized photos over the bed feature streaks of yellow against a black background, an abstracted image of cars on the freeway.
The lack of deliberate theme is exactly what makes The Dream feel more legitimately LA than its peers. It has the usual complement of amenities of course, including a new location of the Tao restaurant chain and outposts of New York nightclubs Beauty & Essex and Avenue, which bring out substantial evening crowds. But for guests, the place seems less sceney than homey. As Sullivan notes, “When you’re living here, your experience of the city is of house parties, not really bars or restaurants necessarily.” The Dream is a little touch of the local lifestyle, now bookable by the night.