NINA RUGGIERO | Updated February 24, 2020
From growing up in Brooklyn to opening Manhattan’s iconic Studio 54, hotelier Ian Schrager is a New Yorker through and through — but he plays the part of an Angeleno more effortlessly than some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
“Each part is an official part of the whole, like a movie,” he says of producing his latest California project, the West Hollywood Edition, as he sits at an oversized picnic table in the all-white penthouse suite, sunshine pouring through the floor-to-ceiling windows. “The script, the visuals, the actors, the actresses, the setting… all of it comes together to make a good movie.”
Apt similes aside, Schrager just gets Los Angeles, a city with multiple personalities that isn’t particularly easy for visitors to get to know.
“West Hollywood is always a destination,” he says. “To me, when I come to California, I want to see movie stars. I want to see the ocean. A world-class city, LA has a lot of different areas now, but not all areas are equal. This is such a centrally located place, it’s got a geographical edge.”
His grip on what LA locals and tourists alike are looking for in a hotel is apparent throughout the property, from the minimalist design and refreshing outdoor space to the vegetable-forward menu at palm-covered restaurant Ardor and the old Sunset Strip glamour of the disco ball-clad underground nightclub.
This level of understanding is ultra-important in a place like Los Angeles, where hanging out in hotels is a local’s activity — and where the rich and famous only want to be spotted on their own terms. The service at the WeHo Edition is luxurious but never intrusive, allowing for the anonymity A-listers sometimes crave while simultaneously creating a scene so camera-ready, it might inspire them to tip off the paparazzi.
“All the public spaces in the hotel are geared towards the people who live in LA,” Schrager says. “It’s a new kind of gathering place. I think a hotel has more to offer — it’s not just a restaurant, it’s a restaurant-plus. Not just a bar, it’s a bar-plus. When you offer all of these things under one roof, when they all come together and alchemy happens, they become magical. It’s the secret sauce.”
Mirroring the distinctive and somewhat isolated neighborhoods that make up Los Angeles County, the hotel offers a siloed space to indulge every mood.
To satiate care-free, beachy cravings, head to the leafy rooftop pool area and sip a citrusy mezcal cocktail from a cushy white lounge chair among the clouds (though clouds rarely interrupt the perfect blue sky for very long).
To feel like a celebrity, meet for martinis at the sleek lobby bar and then head downstairs to Sunset to dance the night away with the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Ashlee Simpson, Janelle Monáe, Paris Hilton, and Post Malone — all of whom have reportedly busted a move beneath the disco balls.
The next day, nurse the hangover with a CBD facial at the spa and lunch at Ardor, where chef John Fraser’s shareable, detox-friendly menu includes artful vegetable dishes like beet petals and raw cauliflower cacio e pepe with an emphasis on farmers market finds.
All of this is assuming you ever leave your room — and if you opt for one of the suites that comes with its own giant outdoor patio and views of the Hollywood Hills from the bathtub, fair warning: you probably won’t.
In fact, you may never even make it out of bed.
“At the end of the day, you have to have a great bed,” Schrager says, and Edition hotels worldwide are known for sparing no expense when it comes to giving guests a great night’s sleep. “Not only the mattresses, and the box springs, but the pillows and the duvet and all that have to be the best possible.”
If you’re the type to give the tabloids something to talk about, you might be better off sleeping in anyway, because, well, Schrager says it best: “What you do in LA, the whole world knows about.”
The West Hollywood Edition provided support for the reporting of this story.