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Nighttime at Los Angeles's Top Hotels

Andaz West Hollywood

Robert Whitman

Nighttime in L.A. comes as a welcome respite. The relentless sunshine yields to moody chiaroscuro. Traffic on the I-405 accelerates from tortoise’s pace to hare’s. The little black dress comes out of the closet, refuting California’s insistence on color. The spurious custom of double-cheek air kissing gives way to actual flirtation over one last nightcap in the hotel lobby. And the hotel takes on a night life of its own. These are hours of invisible and unacknowledged activities, hours of transition to business as usual. The hotel’s public face may be highly polished, but much of that polishing happens after midnight. A housekeeper lowers the chandeliers for dusting, like the staff of Gosford Park. A porter’s brass trolley delivering newspapers to sleeping guests fills in for the traditional kid on a bike back home. And the guests who aren’t asleep play out their own noirish roles. A VIP checks in, underground and unobserved except for security cameras. The poolside chaises are swaddled in their evening attire, but a frisky couple turns the moonlit water into a private oasis. And why weren’t we all invited to the party in Room 312? Here, photographer Robert Whitman’s portfolio shot over the course of a week in glorious non-Technicolor reveals the night shift in six of the city’s most splendid hotels.

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