The World’s Most Famous Architect Designed LA’s Newest Hotel

The world is full of star architects like Tadao Ando, ​​Renzo Piano, Jeanne Gang, David Adjaye – even the ghost of Zaha Hadid is still going strong. But the most famous, the one who most often sits in the upper reaches of lists of the greatest of all time, is 93-year-old Frank Gehry.

While his buildings are renowned the world over, the Canadian-born architect first made his mark in his adopted hometown of California. Our latest selection for Room Key takes us to his latest work in his hometown, the new Conrad Los Angeles.

The hotel is on the outskirts of the city center and is part of a two-tower complex designed by Gehry called The Grand. It sits across from its famous Disney Concert Hall and diagonally across from The Broad art museum. The hotel building isn’t a frenzied deconstructivist work like the Concert Hall or his recent metallic Weasley-house-like LUMA Arles, but it’s still a sculptural tower of stacked rectangular boxes.

The hotel is the first on the west coast for the brand. For those unfamiliar, Conrads (along with the Waldorf-Astoria Collection) is the luxury group of Hilton hotels. So, rooms here start in the low $600s and an extensive spa, pool, and gym are available. But what sets this hotel apart (and the price) and why there was so much anticipation for its opening is that Gehry isn’t the only megawatt star involved.

The hotel’s interior was overseen by Tara Bernerd, whose designs fill hotel brands like Four Seasons, Belmond and Rosewood. Here she managed to soften what could have been a cold tower. In the hall and in the bedrooms, the floors are covered with wide planks of white oak. In the lobby (which is on the 10th floor of the tower), textured Ceppo di Gre stone accents an array of wooden furniture and wall coverings. Don’t miss the polished lava rock bar top or the curved ceilings mirroring the lobby across the street. The bedrooms are understated, with linen walls and not just an open wardrobe but open bathrooms which thankfully close with rolling doors. For those who pay close attention to the selection of health and beauty products, the hotel rooms are filled with products from the always chic Byredo.

Courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

The other megawatt star involved in the project is restaurateur José Andrés, who has four places in this hotel. One is the bar called Beaudry Room with the aforementioned lava bar top and the second is the poolside Airlight, which serves hand bites. Agua Viva is a rooftop poolside restaurant that feels like you’ve been transported to Miami, and that includes the music. For those looking for something light (it’s LA after all), you can’t go wrong with the beefsteak burger which is made with tomato instead of meat.

Courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

The signature restaurant is called San Laurel and it opens onto a terrace overlooking the Disney Concert Hall on one side and Dodger Stadium to the mountains beyond on the other. It’s one of those classic spaces here that Los Angeles does very well, creating sleek green space in urban environments like office towers, busy roads, and parking lots. The food here is Spain meets California, and if almond crab soup is still on the menu when you go, order it. It’s nutty and sweet and sour at the same time. But no matter what you eat, it’s hard to beat sitting on a terrace of this restaurant at sunset, while the metal of the concert hall glistens and the endless sprawl is bathed in this misty light of Los Angeles.

Comments are closed.