A Star is Born

West Hollywood is bracing for a big premiere at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photography Courtesy of The James West Hollywood

Though not yet open, already The James West Hollywood-Sunset—the first new ground-up hotel in WeHo in nearly 30 years—is something of a celebrity, flaunting its sensuous 10-story façade at the iconic corner of Sunset and La Cienaga Boulevards.

In a show of civic camaraderie with its new home, the West Coast newcomer has floated a short film featuring vignettes themed “Connection,” “Consciousness” and “Community” that reflect the values of its boutique luxury hotel brand. If this seems like a slightly esoteric move, consider that The James partnered with the David Lynch Foundation on the project to support the cult director’s eponymous Transcendental Meditation organization, which will receive a portion of proceeds from every reservation made before the hotel’s May 1 opening.

WHILE THERE’S CERTAINLY A SENSE OF ADDRESS IN THE AIR, THE MOOD IS WARM, WELCOMING, AND SUGGESTS A KIND OF LIBERATION. IT’S A PLACE TO BE MORE THAN TO STAY.

Adding star power to this production is the cast behind The James West Hollywood-Sunset: designer Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; owner/developer the CIM Group; and manager Denihan Hospitality Group. Underscoring what its locally attuned brand represents, The James has translated the culture of its immediate environment into what is, essentially, a hub of cultivated cool in the heart of West Hollywood. Dubbing this chic yet centered sensibility “mindfully modern,” the hotel has a pleasing no-fuss tone, if not an intimacy that one doesn’t automatically, or even logically, expect from a 286-room project that is part of the seismically scaled Sunset and La Cienega residential and retail complex. And while there’s certainly a sense of address in the air, the mood is warm, welcoming, and suggests a kind of liberation. It’s a place to be more than to stay. Rather than hit one over the head with refinements, The James smartly and uniformly unfolds them. Contemporary touches include clean lines and commissioned art, such as a “Dreamcatcher” from acclaimed artist Janet Echelman that will be unveiled upon opening. Guestrooms, which comprise 35 suites, are sophisticated, trimly silhouetted spaces sporting natural accents and awesome outlooks of the Hollywood Hills and Los Angeles basin. The palette is neutral, continuing the hotel’s feeling of effortless, informal calm.

Event spaces are substantial yet refreshingly current, and public spaces congenial. Overseer of the dining scene, Disruptive Restaurant Group presents signature restaurant Fi’lia by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz; market and eatery Farmspoke, helmed by chef Chris Crary; and drink spots Bar Nur and Bar Nur Up (located in the lobby and on the rooftop, respectively). Concoctions from cocktail impresario Zachary Patterson of Melrose Umbrella Co. up the libations game. Adding sex appeal to the entire mise–en–scène, meanwhile, is a glamorous pool and pool deck. Suddenly, a Hollywood ending doesn’t sound nearly intriguing as a West Hollywood beginning.

 

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