The Chateau. The Pink Palace. The Riot Hyatt. L.A.’s big and buzzy glamour-puss hotels have served as sceney backdrops for the indiscretions of nearly a century’s worth of A-listers. But now that paparazzi lenses and cell-phone cameras rule the roost, privacy has become the real luxury. “No one likes coming down to breakfast only to have to take a selfie with a clueless fan,” hotelier Jeff Klein says. Klein should know: his Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood is a beloved hangout for regulars like Jennifer Aniston and Tom Ford. But his newest project, a renovation of the historic San Vicente Bungalows, is a decidedly under-the-radar affair, with just 29 rooms, no bar, and a small, shaded pool area. And it points to a growing trend in Los Angeles of discreet, personalized bolt-holes, often in historic buildings, where celebs and civilians alike can cocoon in privacy. “Any city is isolating—L.A. even more so because of the car factor,” Klein says. “Now people are craving these intimate hotels.” Here are four new favorites.
Once-desolate Bree Street has become a microcosm of South African cool and a showcase for the region’s bounty.
Heston Blumenthal protégé Frank Marks brings serious culinary cred to the strip with Borage, a loftlike bistro serving breakfast and lunch only. The blackboard menu rotates frequently; arrive early to secure one of the deconstructed chicken pot pies, a curl of pastry encircling perfectly roasted bird, peas, and onion petals drizzled in gravy. 7B Portside Bldg.
A string of Golden Era theaters in downtown Los Angeles are taking a second bow. The Ace Hotel acquired the Gothic-Deco United Artists Theater, renaming it the Theatre at Ace Hotel and cleaning the murals commissioned by previous owners Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Acts on the eclectic bill range from the L.A. Dance Project (Oct. 24–26) to Glaswegian folksters Belle & Sebastian (Oct. 6). Two blocks north, a thorough renovation of the Globe Theatre is giving new life to the Beaux-Arts vaudeville palace as a venue for everything from concerts to film premieres. And the once-tawdry Regent Theater is now a multiuse performance space that includes an Italian gastropub and a cocktail bar with a vintage-vinyl soundtrack.
In Melbourne, the latest wave of buzzy restaurants and bars share a common menu item: virtue.
One more reason to love Australia’s second city: a string of new establishments that are on a mission to pay it forward—without force-feeding the matter. Boho-chic hangout Shebeen serves up a globe-trotting menu of craft beers and cocktails, then hands 100 percent of its profits to charities in developing countries. Order a Sri Lanka–made Sinha Stout, for example, to support Room to Read, which helps develop children’s literacy skills throughout Asia and Africa.
From Maine to New York, these new East Coast properties are making a splash.
Kennebunkport, Maine: Housed in a charming Victorian mansion on secluded Goose Rocks Beach, the 21-room Tides Beach Club(doubles from $325) recently opened with several brighly accented suites decorated by Jonathan Adler.
The Hamptons, New York: With a Cynthia Rowley boutique, a Nobu restaurant, and a poolside Bathing Club, the super-stylish Capri(doubles from $295) is a Southampton standout. For a haute-summer-camp vibe in Montauk, there’s Ruschmeyer’s(doubles from $475), complete with 19 cabins (dubbed “crash pads”) and an on-site beer garden.
Shelter Island, New York: Between the patisserie and the pétanque court, not to mention the Côté Bastide toiletries in the eight airy suites, Francophiles will love La Maison Blanche(doubles from $295), just a short walk from the shore.
Andaz 5th Avenue general manager Jonathan Frolich keeps it chic from takeoff to touchdown.
“I believe flying should have an air of glamour,” says Jonathan Frolich, the Australian-born general manager of the super-stylish Andaz 5th Avenue, in New York City. “So I dress for the occasion.” While crisscrossing the globe up to 30 times each year during his previous stint as director of operations for Andaz, Frolich learned to balance style with practicality. “Being minimalist works best,” he says. Here’s what makes the cut. “I can scrunch it, throw it in the overhead, and it still comes out looking great,” Frolich says of his wool-blend Scotch & Soda blazer($212). “My J. Crew cashmere cardigan($218) is ideal for layering. It’s also durable.” Frolich sports a cotton button-down($164) by Sydney-based brand Herringbone for “an old-English style with a modern twist,” as well as slim-cut Acnejeans($270) that are “forgiving in terms of wrinkles.” His calfskin Prada shoes($650) serve as two pairs in one: “Add laces to dress them up, or slip them on alone for a more casual style.” He’s “not a big accessories guy,” but Frolich’s Tom Ford glasses($350) complete the look. As for his leather Mulberry carry-on($1,450)? “I love that it has a flap instead of a zipper—it looks good, and it’s that much easier to use.”