Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Mondrian

USA

The Sunset Strip's ultra-hip 5-star hotel

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Mondrian
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Mondrian

Location

Sunset Plaza, West Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Hills

Travel Information

30 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport

Top Tips

Head to Rodeo Drive for big named brands and one-off boutiques

5-Star X-Factors

Hollywood glamour up in the Skybar

Mondrian - Los Angeles

It's pre-Christmas and all is lit and wonderful. Los Angeles is unseasonably cold and dare I say it, a bit rainy. However, this winter wonderland in no way compares with the cold of the East Coast or Europe, so all I've really had to do is substitute my open-toed sandals for closed-toed ones. Knowing LA like I do, the rain won't last.

I'm driving along Sunset Boulevard. This street runs all the way from downtown to the beach, and it truly is LA's answer to city life. The Sunset Strip, in particular, runs over a few miles and is home to some of the most famous clubs and restaurants. The enormous billboards fill the sidelines with images of Hollywood's finest.

Sunset Plaza is an even smaller stretch of the Boulevard where the restaurants pour out onto the pavements for al fresco dining and the shops are classic LA chic. It is in this elite section of the Strip that you'll find the 5-star hotel, Mondrian.

The Mondrian has just undergone a complete refurbishment of its 237 rooms, all designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. He successfully combined the flavour of art deco with a slick yet comfortable style, and using predominantly white brush strokes and a taste of orange, giving each room a fresh, sophisticated feel.

Deluxe all the way

I stayed in a deluxe studio suite, which was fabulous. It had enough room to host an intimate drinks party and the king sized bed was well suited with Egyptian cotton sheets, down comforters, glorious pillows of all sizes and a flat screen tv for excellent movie viewing. The tv, it's worth noting, is disguised inside of what appears to be a mirrored piece of art in the middle of the room. After watching the husband swing it around a bit wondering what it was, I pushed the clicker and poof... "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" appeared through the glass.

The rooms vary from the Standard King, to King with Balcony, Studio and One Bedroom Suites where a wall separating the space is the distinguishing factor, deluxe studio and one bedroom suites - I recommend the suites ending in either 01 or 22 - an apartment and a penthouse. All rooms are wi-fi and don't forget to bring your Ipod to put into the complimentary Ipod speaker station as clearly, this is the future for guaranteed good tunes. There are some suites that have a double, see-through-to-the-bedroom shower if that appeals, and double sinks for great his/her vanity purposes.

We were famished when we arrived and ordered some food to tie us over to dinner. True to American fashion the biggest chicken quesadilla arrived not 15 minutes later and we had to stop ourselves from devouring it. Happy to report an exceptional room service was had, timely, friendly and tasty.

The lobby is airy and inviting, with a huge swing chair in the middle that you just want to go 'whupeeee' in, and houses the entrance to the renowned full service Agua Spa where you can get rid of your wrinkles and neck ache in comfort. To the side of the lobby is the Asia de Cuba bar where a sexy, velvet, orange sofa runs down the center with a snakelike swivel, perfectly positioned for an intimate tête-à-tête. It's all very cool indeed.

Dinner under the stars

Before dinner we had cocktails at the Sky Bar. Now here is a bar that has a strict guest list, (all hotel guests are on it plus three) and a who's who feel about it that never disappoints. I think LA does these bars best, with poolside banquettes, big cushions for lounging and a proper poser bar with sufficient eye candy in the bartenders and cocktail waitresses alone. The lighting is low and seductive with the pool as its centerpiece, and the music rocks. The Sky Bar has been on the 'best bar in LA' list for years and it didn't let us down.

Dinner was at the critically acclaimed restaurant, Asia de Cuba by Jeffrey Chodorow, located as an outside/inside venue next to the Sky Bar. The inspiration for Asia de Cuba is rooted in the Asian cuisine infused with the flavours of tropical fruits and vegetables and Latin spices. All dishes are served family style, in large portions intended for sharing.

Our extremely knowledgeable waiter advised us to get the chef's menu, which introduced the most popular items on the menu in one incredible meal. I absolutely have to mention the calamari salad, which best describes this combo-flavoured eating experience: crispy calamari with chayote, hearts of palm, banana, cashews, chicory, radicchio and frisee, with an orange sesame dressing! And the miso cured Alaskan butterfish with tempura shisito peppers (peppers with a kick) and the char sui beef short ribs served with avocado plantain fried rice. Oh my, it was all so delicious.

But here's the best part of not only the restaurant, and the Sky Bar but the hotel itself; no other hotel in LA can combine dining under the stars with a phenomenal city view of twinkling lights as well. We ate at a window table and could have spent a lifetime there.

Bedtime came late and with more stars. Twelve floors up, the city lights serenaded us to slumber, and the perfect mattress played host to our very tired bodies. We had an excellent night's sleep and were ready for final Christmas shopping the next day. I'd say this is a perfect adult hotel for combining business with pleasure, with efficient staff that can be hip without the attitude.

Shopping with celebrities

The Mondrian is ten minutes away from excellent shopping in both West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The husband and I went to Beverly Hills, where one can find everything from designer couture on Rodeo Drive, big named brands like Gap and Victoria Secret, along with boutiques and restaurants to fill every fantasy. Try Il Pasteo for a simple Italian lunch on Canon Drive, or the Brighton Coffee Shop for the perfect omelet or the new Lucky Fish sushi restaurant where the food goes round and round.

We found a parking spot next to a very pink Bentley - pink wheels included, think Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds - and Paris Hilton got out with her Chihuahua in tow. Flash flash went the paparazzi.

We managed to park, nearly taking out one of the paps, and walk about 100 yards when three black SUV's pulled up and the Governator, Arnold Schwartznegger, got out like the Terminator himself, full of muscle and four body guards looking left, right, left right. You would have thought we were standing in the middle of the set of Terminator 4.

It was all quite surreal until not five minutes later, and I am not exaggerating, more paparazzi outside of Barney's Department Store bombarded us. What is going on? They must have thought we were with the Governator and therefore famous. Or was it said husband's latest film getting us the attention? Well, it was almost my husband causing the stir because he was the one holding the door open for none other than Lindsey Lohan, Hollywood temptress. She smiled briefly and whisked herself in, leaving the paparazzi looking disappointingly at us.

Only in LA...

Jennifer Hamm
Jennifer Hamm


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer