Review: Kimpton La Peer Hotel, Los Angeles

Bar at Kimpton La Peer Hotel, Los Angeles (photo Joanna Tricorache)

 By Ron Bernthal

I have always liked the Kimpton brand when it comes to urban boutique hotels, and the new Kimpton La Peer Los Angeles property, opened in 2018 in West Hollywood’s Design District, did not disappoint.

Interior design and artwork (photo Laure Joliet)

For this property Kimpton partnered  with  award-winning,  Icelandic-born  interior designer  Gulla  Jónsdóttir  as  lead  creative  designer. Jónsdóttir studied architecture in Los Angeles and runs a noted design studio in the city.  She said about her work at La Peer,  “With  this  project, we’re taking design  cues  from  our  neighbors in West Hollywood, from  fashion people to  high-end  furniture designers, artists and  poets.”   This is a design-centric hotel that evokes the trendiness of the neighborhood (on La Peer Street, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue) as well the Art Deco style of 1930’s LA.  The hotel offers 105 guest  rooms, a  4,000 square-foot rooftop  terrace, indoor  meeting  and  event  facilities, a poolside  fitness  center  and  indoor  and  outdoor  dining  and  lounge  spaces.

La Peer Hotel King Room (photo Laure Joliet)

My room, with its Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” décor, colored in charcoal greys, beige and black, did not have a great view, but the wood desk, framed wide-screen TV, plush bedding and large glass-enclosed shower made up for the non-view.  On a shower shelf were large plastic bottles of toiletries from Atelier Bloem, including oolong tea shampoo, geranium conditioner, and a mandarin & citrus body wash with eucalyptus, lemon, white flower and sandalwood, fragrances inspired by the floral mosaic of Amsterdam’s floating flower market the Bloemenmarkt.

The hotel’s small pool, accented by lush landscaping and handcrafted lanterns, is outside under the warm California sun, and like many outdoor spaces in LA, it merges easily with the indoor environment of the lobby lounge and bar. Custom  designs  are evident in the lobby with curved  brass  ceiling  details,  a  leather  cocoon  wall,  and  six-foot  round  light  sconces  that  emit  a cozy glow  in  the  lounge.  The  patio  bar  and  pool  lounge  are quiet,  and exude  a casual  European  atmosphere, a  nice vertical garden wall is adjacent to the pool.

La Peer Hotel Swimming Pool (photo Joanna Tricorache)

Although there a few works of art in the guest rooms, a gold Jeff Koons balloon rabbit sits on every bedside table, site-specific works by Los Angeles artists Tanya Aguiniga, Guerin Swing, Elena Manferdini and Retna are scattered throughout the property and are evocative of the city.

Within walking distance (yes, walking in LA!) is a collection of interesting boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, bars, outdoor cafes, and movie studios. Newer venues in the area, a 10-15 drive from the hotel, include the LA outpost of the bar/restaurant Employees Only, often voted one of the best bars in the world; the speakeasy Bathtub Gin, tucked away behind a coffee bar; and a branch of the acclaimed Milk Bar, the award winning bakery from chef/owner Christina Tosi, soon to be located on Melrose. The La Peer is presently the only upscale hotel in the Design District, and despite its somewhat pricy room rates and museum quality artwork, the staff is friendly and casual, and the ambiance is definitely unpretentious

Kimpton La Peer’s Art-Filled Interior (photo Laure Joliet)

Adding to the mix of eclectic art and design in the public areas the hotel’s dining venue, a trattoria called Viale dei Romani, is where noted chef Casey Lane overseas the breakfast, lunch and dinner service. Although a delicious continental buffet breakfast is mainly for hotel guests, locals will come by for the chef’s wood fired seafood and house-made pastas offered at lunch and dinner. And, like at all Kimpton properties, the La Peer offers guests complimentary wine during cocktail hour