Heralded by the vision of legendary architect Frank Gehry, Conrad Los Angeles is an elegant hotel framed by dramatic views of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and downtown LA. Newly opened this summer, Hospitality Interiors takes a closer look at the hotel design that pays tribute to both architecture and locale …
Conrad Los Angeles sits in pride of place, occupying an immense city block at the centre of the Grand Ave Arts District, a sunlit stretch of museums, performance spaces and outdoor public parks that define performing and visual arts in Los Angeles. Designed by Gehry Partners, the hotel is situated directly opposite Gehry’s own Disney Concert Hall and the Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Museum, and continues a wholescale regeneration of the area.
The interior design of the hotel, by Tara Bernerd & Partners, has taken inspiration from and responds to Gehry Partners’ unique, captivating statement architecture, mixed with the grand tradition of the West Coast Modernist movement, with its holistic design and links to nature, as well as the architecture and culture of downtown LA itself.
In the arrival lobby, the interiors provide a foreground to the backdrop of Gehry’s architecture – both the immediate backdrop of Conrad Los Angeles, and the stunning vistas across to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Here, it is all about the views and the drama of the architecture on display, creating a sense of occasion befitting the environment in which it is set.
The lift core has been dressed with Ceppo stone, which brings a dramatic, monolithic quality to the space, giving it a feeling of piercing through into the main lobby. Taking inspiration from some of the iconic buildings of downtown LA, the columns on each side of the room have been finished with a fluted, glazed tile. A feature double-sided fireplace greets guests upon arrival, creating an informal, yet chic and seductive, atmosphere. Echoing the columns, the fireplace has been finished in a fluted travertine. Set upon a Tara Bernerd & Partners bespoke-designed rug, the lobby sofas anchor the room and have been teamed with a considered mixture of tables and chairs. Throughout the lobby, the sculptural ceiling changes heights, undulating as it echoes the rhythms of the facade.
San Laurel is situated to the right of the entrance lobby. Separated from Sed [PF1] by antique brass-framed fluted glass screens, a large central bar helps to delineate the space, with tall sit-up dining stools on three sides of the bar. The front of the bar has been finished in a petrol-blue fluted, glazed tile. The counter top is finished in a pale stone. A dramatic ceiling-mounted, antique-brass frame holds double shelves above the bar itself, to store and display crockery and glassware.
Opposite the restaurant, a dedicated bar area links the front terrace and catwalk with the rear terrace and garden. It also brings energy to the area overlooking the building’s plaza below, hence a long counter bar draws upon the stunning views of the architectural composition beyond. It is a versatile space to enjoy throughout the course of the day, with coffees and juices served in the day, and cocktails at night.
The bar floor is a bespoke Tara Bernerd & Partners-designed, custom-cut concrete tile, that has been produced by LA-based manufacturer, Arto. The bar is fronted in fluted timber, with a dramatic petrol-blue pyrolave countertop.
Twin over-sized pendant lights in steam-bent timber hang over the bar itself. High bar stools are set in front of the bar, while to the other side of the room there is a curated mixture of banquette seating fronted by tables and chairs, and sofa and chair groups.
Agua Viva does not reveal itself immediately. Instead, it is a hidden discovery that unfolds as the guest moves along the Promenade, continuing to surprise and delight. Extending the theme established in The Garden, mixed-levelled seating and infusions of greenery evoke a notion of the organic, but also give structure and balance, zoning areas to provide a group of different experiences.
The Promenade opens onto the bar and upper dining. The front of the bar has been finished in a glazed tile with metal detailing. Above the bar, a bespoke-designed curtain of pendant lights adds drama and height to the space.
Beyond the initial entrance point, the open kitchen creates drama and impact. The upper dining area immediately in front of the kitchen therefore feeds off this energy. A terracotta raised tile in a modernist design fronts the bar to the kitchen.
Continuing the interplay of textures from the lobby, the bed has been set against a panelled wall of cerused oak, a contemporary take on traditional panelling, whose 3D pattern contrasts with the jumbo corduroy-covered bedframe and headboard.
The palette is a calming mix of wide-planked pale oak floors and natural linen walls, with rich petrol blues and light greys bringing a warmth to the room. No luxurious details were spared in the design of the rooms – the custom-designed mini-bar was inspired by a mid-century sideboard. Finished in a mix of ceruse oak topped with a calacatta marble top, with petrol-blue back-painted glass doors, the wood and smoked glass drawers have tan saddle-stitched leather handles.
The suites are the ultimate expression of luxury in the hotel. They have been designed to feel like a home from home, the guest’s own LA penthouse apartment. Situated on the top floors of the hotel, each suite has a large separate living room, leading out onto a substantial private terrace with unrivalled views across downtown LA.
The open-plan living room has been zoned, with both a dining room with six-seater dining table and a sitting room, with a large sofa. Two sides of the living room are fully glazed, floor to ceiling, so that there is an almost seamless link between indoors and outdoors. To make the space feel more welcoming and homely, the inner walls have been panelled in the same light oak as the floors, with a built-in bar in the dining room that is a contemporary take on mid-20th century modernist homes.
Two sets of double doors open out directly onto the main terrace, which has been furnished with a mixture of seating areas, from an L-shaped sofa to groups of armchairs. An outside dining table and extensive outside planting allow guests to take full advantage of LA’s beautiful climate and remarkable views.
The spacious master bedroom has a large five-piece bathroom, which can be accessed either directly from one side of the bed, or through the walk-in-wardrobe on the other side of the bed.
Continuing on from the living room, the bedroom is also panelled in light oak, similar to the flooring. The bed sits centrally on the back wall, on top of a Tara Bernerd & Partners bespoke rug.
The master bathroom has been designed to be the perfect complement to the rest of the suite. It is a spacious room, finished in pale marble, with double wash basins, separate rainfall shower and a freestanding bath, ideally positioned in front of the window.
Set on the 9th floor of Conrad Los Angeles, the spa is a relaxing haven. Continuing the design themes from the main 10th floor, a bespoke-designed reception desk, fronted in fluted tiles and topped in marble, greets guests as they walk into reception. Set among exquisitely designed timber boutique shelving displays, the reception area also doubles as a boutique apothecary.
The relaxation lounge is set behind a perforated metal screen, which provides discreet privacy, while still allowing an element of opaqueness. Each of the relaxation beds is separated by pale linen sheers.
Treatment rooms include a wave table that is perfect to refresh and revitalise. The Ashiatsu massage room is a flexible space, that has a full wall of mirror and textured carpets.
Throughout the spa, the palette is calming, with cerused timber flooring, Venetian wall plaster and pale marbles and tiles, contrasting beautifully with antique bronze metal details. Unique pieces of art can be found in the lift lobby and throughout the corridors.