Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A Sunset Strip institution for more than a decade, the sceney Mondrian still buzzes with a preening crowd, outlandish design, and a party that goes until the wee hours.
Morgans Hotel Group opened the 239-room Mondrian in December 1996 with an over-the-top design courtesy of Philippe Starck, who directed the styling of the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, which opened in 2009. The intention, according to the hotel, was to bring the beach to Hollywood, with blond wood floors in the lobby standing in for sand and a massive slatted pool deck playing the part of beach. The open-air Skybar, renovated in 2012, to this day is a fixture of L.A. nightlife, and recalls a surfside drink shack -- albeit one slinging cocktails for double-digit prices and bottle service for even more.
In 2008, Morgans, of the Mondrian South Beach and the Delano in Miami, unveiled an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired refresh from designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, who also designed the Mondrian Scottsdale and the Mondrian SoHo, which opened in February 2011. While keeping many Starck elements, the lobby was refitted with banquettes, Noriega-Ortiz says, inspired by Parc Güell, one of Barcelona's most beautiful parks.
Guest rooms were warmed up with bamboo floors, oversize potted plants, and oversize mirrors that double as TV consoles. Despite the emphasis on outlandish design elements, rooms are still very comfortable, and touch-sensitive lamps and plenty of are thoughtful, useful additions. Bathrooms could use more light -- and some guests might miss having a tub -- but the dual-head rainfall shower is one of the nicest in West Hollywood.
While the staff is refreshingly attitude-free, the Mondrian is still very much a part of L.A.'s who's-your-cosmetic-surgeon scene -- which for many guests is part of its allure. (Guests are automatically on the list at Skybar.) Those looking for a more relaxed scene in the same neighborhood and price range might prefer the still-cool Standard Hollywood or the low-key-but-fashionable Sofitel Los Angeles.
Good service for the price, including a plugged-in concierge and eager valets
From housekeeping to the concierge, service was prompt and delivered with a smile. While you won't be addressed by name -- a high-end touch available at the nearby Sunset Tower -- you'll appreciate a concierge on call 24 hours a day and swift parking valets.
In the heart of West Hollywood, on the Sunset Strip
Located in the heart of West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, the hotel counts among its neighbors the Standard Hollywood, the Sunset Tower, and the Chateau Marmont. The London is a mile down the road. The signature 30-foot-tall mahogany doors marking the entrance make the otherwise nondescript exterior impossible to overlook. The Sunset Strip, which has long been known for its music clubs like the House of Blues, the Roxy, Viper Room, and Whisky a Go Go, has gotten significantly more upscale than its strip club and head shop days in the '70s and '80s -- though some seediness remains.
Some of the most stunning rooms in L.A.; the high design doesn't interfere with comfort
Rooms, by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, who also designed the Mondrian Scottsdale, are some of the most impressively designed in L.A. (Only the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills can compete.) The cutting-edge style of the standard rooms doesn't interfere with comfort, while the massive windows let in plenty of light and, on the south side of the building, overlook the pool. At 325 square feet, rooms are slightly bigger than what you'll find at the Standard Hollywood or Maison 140, but smaller than those at the SLS Hotel.
While the pool isn't as big as the one you'll find at the Hollywood Roosevelt, the Mondrian has a top-notch gym, a lobby bar that's fantastic for people-watching, and one of L.A.'s premier lounges in Skybar, something the Standard Hollywood can't offer. The spa is more modest than what you'll find at the Sunset Tower.
Not a family hotel; the Magic Castle is a better choice
Overrated food is nonetheless popular, and Skybar is one of L.A.'s most exclusive night spots.
For some reason, the ill-conceived and overpriced Asia de Cuba restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating, is wildly popular with guests and locals despite the so-called fusion menu that features a pricey lobster pad Thai and an expensive entree of rum-glazed pork served with bok choi and plantains. The lobby bar, ADCB, also serves the hit-or-miss Latin and pan-Asian fare but at comparatively lower prices, with tiny appetizers and sushi rolls. Breakfast is, thankfully, much more down to earth, with eggs, pancakes, and other morning standards all at prices similar to what you'd pay anywhere on Sunset Boulevard.
This ornately designed Sunset Strip hotel, already an icon less than a decade and a half after opening, has an exclusive poolside lounge and more scene than even the Sunset Marquis. A 2008 renovation, polishing rooms that are second only to those at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills for cutting-edge style, keeps the pretty people coming back -- and keeps commoners satisfied too.