Concierge.com's insider take:
Sam Nazarian, the nightlife wunderkind behind some of L.A.'s buzziest venues (Katsuya, Area) has splashed onto the hotel scene with SLS, his 297-room shrine to high design and high jinks. Nazarian tapped design god Philippe Starck to give the former Le Méridien a $230-million gussying up that's both whimsical and clever. Love it or hate it, there's no denying that the details are impressive. The lobby is decked out with hundreds of mismatched chairs and chandeliers, quirky artwork, and acrylic-glass deer heads above the fireplaces. In addition to seven fitness suites (each with its own personal fitness center), there are 32 allergen-resistant rooms that come with air purifiers and charcoal-filter showerheads. The standard rooms are generously sized and (compared with the boisterous public areas) nicely restrained, with a muted green-gray palette. If you find the 40-inch Sony plasma TV is getting in the way of your room's aesthetic, it can be folded away behind a sleek mirrored wall. A communal pool table on every floor is the perfect place for party people to mingle. SLS guests—a mix of high-end scenesters and creative types—have their own private lobby entrance and dining room, safely tucked away from the hoi polloi. The public lobby is a bustling party space anchored by the hotel's restaurant (helmed by El Bulli alum José Andrés) and a retail space curated by Moss. The Bazaar—as this retail/dining point is called—is frequented by The Hills cast members and the people who can afford to buy them drinks. If sipping on liquid nitrogen cocktails and nibbling cotton-candy foie gras dispensed from custom-designed street carts isn't your scene, you can always hit the town. Guest status at the hotel means you get preferential ressies at Nazarian's other hot spots, including S Bar, Foxtail, and Hyde.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:This debut hotel collaboration between nightlife maven Sam Nazarian and designer Philippe Starck is meant to be sexy and fantastical, and for the most part it delivers. The atmospheric lobby has outsized white chandeliers, shelves heaped with glossy art books and vintage hardbacks, and alcoves with fireplaces. The 297 Baroqueinspired guest rooms seem a bit incongruous in the daytimeit's best to wait until dark to enjoy the deep soaking tub, the soft bed with faux fur throws, and the massive TV embedded in the glossy black wall. During the day, check out the rooftop bar, where slick producer types and blinged-out couples sip mojitos by the infinity pool. After dark, everyone wanders down to the Bazaar by José Andrés, a slightly convoluted restaurant/bar/patisserie that also has a Moss shop with dramatic glass vitrines housing quirky design pieces. Luckily, there's enough whimsy to make it all work. The service, if a bit inexpert, is friendly; and there's a high-tech gym and three cars at guests' disposal. 2009 Hot List
When to go: Awards seasonJanuary through Marchis prime time for poolside people-watching.
Which room to book: A high floor to avoid lackluster views of low-rise apartment complexes.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›