The pandemic changed us, shifted our values, our affinities and what we consider essential. I felt the tremors of this seismic adjustment acutely when checking into my first hotel since lockdown began. I might have even been shaking a little bit. Thankfully, the calming authority of the West Hollywood EDITION concierge pleaded with me to put aside my doubt. They were getting used to the new routines, too, including a daily yoga class that had just been reopened to guests. Perhaps this was my sign to try it.
A relative newcomer to one of Los Angeles’s most storied strips, the EDITION rises to meet the billboards that speckle West Hollywood and waves back in kind with its ingenious façade. As each guest adjusts a Juliet window or slatted shades to suit their day, the face of the hotel changes to reveal slivers of the lives happening within. Seeing my own little window that I’d left open from the street made me feel like I had an architectural footprint in the city, even if it was only for a short sojourn.
Inside my room, the interiors were designed, in collaboration with John Pawson, with my sanity in mind. All the lines and corners felt essential and finished in that polished way that makes it possible to maintain cleanliness. The only exception to this hygienic aesthetic was the punctuation of museum quality interventions including an impressive mobile by Sterling Ruby, which hangs an oil barrel over the atrium-like lobby as a kind of cheeky threat.
The soul of the EDITION, however, was not the immaculate building but the company that filled it. In every encounter, I experienced a warmth that radiated through the minimalist design and gave a sheen to every surface. No place was this more palpable than at restaurant Ardor where the Michelin-starred chef John Fraser has created a plant-based ode to California’s natural bounty. A partnership between the Edition and Fraser’s own hospitality company, Ardor uses the woodburning grill as a hearth to bring both tourists and locals to its tables.
When speaking about the harmony between the hotel and the restaurant, Fraser notes that hospitality is about “providing an environment that is filled with generosity and a unique experience in a beautiful setting.” He continues: “Ardor is a symbiotic relationship between the masterful design of Ian Schrager, the creative culinary input of our team and the execution from the property talent. When these things come together people want to be in the room.” His emphasis not only on the planning but on the thoughtful follow-through characterized my experience from beginning to end. After a year at home, this kind of care was necessary to feel excited and safe to travel again.
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