Revivals succeed when classics are given a contemporary spin that appeals to today’s audiences. Hotelier and developer Avi Brosh (Palihouse and Palihotel) boasts a history of breathing new life into tired hotel properties, chicly updating them for the in-crowd. In December, Brosh and investors bought the sleepy Embassy Hotel Apartments in Santa Monica; once it undergoes a major Brosh-supervised refurbishment, it will open it as the Palihouse Santa Monica on June 1.
Built in 1927, the 36 generously sized hotel apartments were designed by Arthur E. Harvey, architect of the chateau-inspired Celebrity Center in Hollywood (originally the Chateau Elysee) and the Los Altos Apartments on Wilshire. The building’s landmark Spanish Colonial Revival embellishments and architectural flourishes are becoming more apparent as Brosh and his team, as he describes, “wake it up a bit.”
Many of the building’s vintage details are evocative of other famed hotels of the era: the dressing rooms take a cue from the Art Deco-style versions at Claridge’s in London. The exteriors recall the gracious old Hollywood apartment-style digs and imposing facade of the Chateau Marmont, while inside, the ornately-painted interior surfaces of Downtown L.A.’s Biltmore Hotel come to mind.
Brosh says the Palihouse Santa Monica will provide the same sense of place, history and style as those old-school properties. One major difference: proximity. The location is closer to Westside industryites’ preferred neighborhoods of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood.
Of course, with many working pros here for extended stays, out-of-towners will find themselves situated at the western-most edge of a metropolis whose entertainment biz epicenter is closer to Hollywood and Burbank.
Nevertheless, the new Palihouse can trade on its proximity to the ocean, and features new contemporary-edged light fixtures and pedigreed architectural details. Crystal doorknobs, Malibu tiles, handcrafted wrought iron, art and leaded glass windows are all newly polished. Artsy wallpaper from L.A.-based Abnormals Anonymous adds a visual kick to rooms and complements the custom-made furniture.
Each studio, one- and two-bedroom suite (up to a two-story, 2,850-square-foot space) features a kitchen, sizable closets and picture windows — many with ocean views. Hard-wired, high-speed Internet and 40” HDTVs with Apple TV are the tech utilitarian improvements; rain-shower heads, plush bedding and overhead fans are provided for comfort’s sake.
The hotel’s location on a quiet residential street a few blocks from the Third St. Promenade, and a lobby, cafe, garden and patio that are open to hotel guests only adds to its air of exclusivity. “All our places are discreet,” says Brosh, “This will be uber-discreet.”