Byline: Emily Holt
If you spend too much time surrounded by traffic between Doheny and Fairfax and it becomes easy to forget that once upon a time, Sunset Boulevard had a personality.
The term “old Hollywood” evokes to a greater degree visions of Greta and Marilyn than images of SkyBar and the crowd trying to get in.
With the opening this June of the new hotel The Grafton on Sunset, the glittered Pacific tide may be beginning to shift.
Thanks to a $5 million facelift, the Sunset Park Hotel, which originally opened in 1956, was transformed into The Grafton on Sunset.
Hotelier John Fitts, also responsible for Le Parc and Le Montrose in Los Angeles, is the power behind this 107-room boutique hotel. Each of the four floors is named for a different section — geographic and cultural — of Los Angeles: Malibu, Melrose, Sunset and Hollywood. The rooms are arranged according to the art of feng shui and are a balance of the luxurious and practical.
On the top floor, four executive suites are each themed for legends of Hollywood lore: the “Jayne” suite (as in Mansfield) evokes Fifties starlet glamour; the “Rat Pack” suite is reminiscent of infamous lounge days; the “Babylon” suite is the reincarnation of the true bachelor pad, and the “Urban” suite is a starting point for the new millennium.
The restaurant and bar are under the direction of noted restaurateur Rande Gerber of SkyBar and his brother Scott. The 24-hour eatery serves Italian and American cuisine amid an Old World atmosphere. Countering the quaintness of the restaurant, but not losing sight of the intimacy, is the ultra-dark bar. Although the decor is black on black — the only light emanating from the glowing bar — the hotel insists it still serves great drinks sans attitude.
Quality personal service remains the hotel’s priority, evident in some concepts that are still in the works. Ideally guests would have access to a “Best Of” menu, according to a spokeswoman, featuring everything from the best in couples counseling to the ultimate pilates instructor.
And the fun doesn’t stop when the hotel features designated “Swimming Cinemas” nights, when films are shown by the pool for guests floating in inner tubes. Such ideas give way to the mantra of “cool, edgy, hip, but comfortable.”
And just in case it’s so comfortable in the room that the thought of going outside is atrocious, log onto the hotel’s Web site featuring a live Web cam of Sunset Strip.
Rooms start at $135. The Grafton is at 8462 West Sunset Boulevard; 800-821-3660 or check out graftononsunset.com