24-hour room service: The Redbury, Los Angeles
Saturday 18 June 2011
LA can be hard work, whether you're a movie mogul or a tourist. Whatever it is that's worn you out – jet lag, the need to drive everywhere, the relentless positivity and frozen Hollywood smiles, not to mention foreheads – you need somewhere to "take time out".
The Redbury's selling point is that every room is designed to feel like a home from home, in the form of a self-contained flat. Each has cooking facilities, a breakfast bar, living room area and sleek bathroom. It's about as far from the old-Hollywood hotels of Beverly Hills as you can get, and certainly more homely than the hipper retreats along Sunset Boulevard.
The style that the hotel's creative director, photographer Matthew Rolston, has gone for is that of a bohemian flat in 1960s London. Yup, that's London, England. The vibe evokes an aristocratic gent who's fled his country pile and set himself up in a groovy pad on the King's Road. Think Beggar's Banquet via Austin Powers.
You can imagine hipsters lounging on the sofa sipping wine from the odd assortment of tumblers and listening to the vinyl selection of Don McLean, Supertramp and David Bowie on the player provided. The walls are covered in vintage posters and an odd assortment of eclectically framed art; beneath this higgledy-piggledy assemblage is some of the most avant garde paisley wallpaper ever designed, extending down to the varnished cork tile-covered floor.
Given the cosy atmosphere, you might just want to hole up and order room service. I had an excellent take-away from the hotel restaurant Cleo, which included mezze, flatbread with merguez and Greek salad. There's also in-room dining from the Philippe Starck-designed Katsuya Hollywood, a fashionable Japanese restaurant just down the street that's also part of the SBE group behind the Redbury and a host of other LA clubs and restaurants.
Should you want to explore the hotel, however, there's also The Glade, a decked courtyard with smart outdoor furniture, or the Library Bar – a pristine white lounge stocked with books (as one would expect) and a bar (which all good libraries should have). Downstairs, the lobby bar can get particularly lively at weekends with crowds of aspiring LA model and actress types descending to sip cocktails.
As the emphasis is on hotel-as-apartment-block, and many guests stay for a week or more, iPads, laptops, printers and fax machines are available on request. Wi-Fi extends throughout the hotel (though it's not free, $10 for 24 hours) and in-room pilates is on offer. Beyond the hotel, if you want the merest glimpse of what it would feel like to be a Hollywood star, guests get "VIP" preferential access to clubs, bars and restaurants in the SBE collection.
From the balcony of our room in this red-painted brick building (endearingly adorned with a relief of "Home is Where the Heart is" above the top-floor windows), the view was more about street life than romantic vistas, albeit with palm trees and blue skies thrown in. There is a nightclub next door, and if the jet lag wakes you up early, watching LA's beau monde doing the walk of shame back to their 4x4s in cocktail dresses is entertaining.
Across the street there's the Capitol Records building, which looks like a stack of frisbees with an aerial, and a short walk south there's one of LA's most iconic addresses: the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Here you'll find the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with the names of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to commemorate their Apollo XI Moon landing. At weekends a farmers' market nearby provides a fittingly super-sized selection of fresh fruit and veg perfect for taking back to cook in The Redbury rooms' "European-style" kitchen area.
The 57 rooms are each decorated in the same bohemian style. A red, orange and yellow colour scheme provides the background for Persian rugs, antique furniture, a washer/dryer, mosaic-tiled walk-in rain shower, and a vast and incredibly comfortable bed with pillow-topped mattress in which to sleep off the jet lag.
There's also a proper bar with cocktail shaker and mixers and a well-equipped kitchen with fridge, stove, plates, cutlery and cooking utensils – perfect if your taste for burgers is starting to wane. And they'll even arrange grocery deliveries.
The Redbury, 1717 Vine Street, Los Angeles, California, US (001 323 962 1717; theredbury.com).
Flats start at $341 (£227), room only.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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