LA stargazing

As you pull up to the Chamberlain West Hollywood in LA it is easy to feel that you might have come to the wrong address. Having researched ahead of my trip on the hotel’s website and seen glamorous interiors, an azure rooftop pool and enormous suites, I was a little surprised by the very missable entrance on a quiet, leafy residential street.

Were it not for the fact that I had typed the address into the taxi driver’s satnav myself, on account of his being unable to understand a word of English, I would have thought I was at the wrong place. There are no uniformed porters standing to attention outside, and only a sign for valet parking gave me the hint I needed that I had arrived at the correct destination.

Once inside, however, there was no mistaking that I had come to the right place. The opulently mirrored foyer with plush grey sofas, green glass 1950s bubble lamps and monochrome marble floor were a tonic to my eyes after the eleven hour flight, and immediately reassured me. We were due to shoot Hollywood star Ewan McGregor there the next day and I was pleased in equal measure by the stunning interiors – which I knew would give us the pictures we needed – and by the subtle location and quiet nature of the hotel, which would surely keep his publicist happy.

My very friendly porter Eric showed me up to my room, which was sumptuously decorated in the hotel’s characteristic muted grey tones, and I was thrilled to see that even standard suites feature a private balcony, perfect for a little LA stargazing – of the astronomical kind. The suites also feature luxurious monochrome bathrooms and a separate living space with its own fireplace and carefully curated objets d’art.

I was keen to explore the hotel ahead of our photo shoot and headed straight out to find potential shooting locations. Back in the foyer once more, and slightly more relaxed, I noticed for the first time that even the music the hotel was playing was incredibly cool, and I was informed that they have their own house mix which features everything from Bob Marley and Leonard Cohen to Lil Wayne and The Doobie Brothers.

I headed down into the semi-basement where the hotel’s restaurant is located and my eyes lit up at the retro style long bar stocked with every imaginable beverage. My only regret is that I’m not staying long enough to try more of their tempting house cocktails. I did hang around long enough, however, to sample their signature Bikini Pom-tini – Stolichnaya vodka, pomegranate juice, and organic agave nectar and a squeeze of lime – divine! The Bistro and bar share the same space and the feeling created is a cross between retro bar and 1950s diner, understated and simple, but stylish enough to make you feel as though you are in a Hollywood movie yourself.

From here I head up to the rooftop to see the much-anticipated pool; I am not disappointed. The vantage point allows for fantastic views of the city and the luxurious white canvas cabanas flutter dramatically in the breeze. Everything in the hotel, quite simply, feels like a movie set. You feel transported to a more glamorous era where at any moment a movie star of old will walk in and strike up a conversation with you.

It’s not just within the hotel that the movie world feels so present. Just a few minutes away are the famous Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Sunset Strip, immortalised in so many films. For me it was a particular thrill to see the streets where the movie of my childhood, Pretty Woman, was filmed. Sadly I had no time for re-enacting Julia Roberts style shopping scenes. I did however have time for a spot of dinner at the hotel’s bistro, which looked even more romantic in the gentle evening light.

The hotel’s chef Emilio Noselotl came to chat with us and told us eagerly of how his rich culinary family heritage shaped his early ambitions. His grandfather was a butcher and his mother an excellent Mexican cook, but Emilio fell in love with French Cuisine and after studying at a prestigious academy he cut his teeth in Southern California’s finest restaurants. It’s clear that each night he serves up his heartfelt passion on each dish he sends from the kitchen.

We have an early start the next morning so it is with a heavy heart that we must bid farewell to the warm bar staff and resist their entreaties to sample another cocktail.

Due to the time difference I have not been to bed in 30 hours so it is with great relief that I lay my head down on the sumptuous goose-down pillows, enjoy the feeling of crisp, cotton sheets and smile with delight. The hotel has provided the perfect Hollywood set and now I must get some rest as tomorrow a real Hollywood star will walk through its doors.

by Nicola Kavanagh

Chamberlain West Hollywood 1000 Westmount Dr, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States
Tel: +1 310-657-7400
Fax: 310.854.6744
Reservations: 800.201.9652