The Standard Hotel, Hollywood Celebrates 20 Years

Kelly Phillips Badal | October 3, 2019 | Lifestyle

The Sunset Strip’s most boundary-breaking hotel hits the 20-year mark—and doesn’t miss a beat.

The cobalt blue AstroTurf-coated pool deck is a signature design element of The Standard Hotel, Hollywood.

The upside-down sign. The blue AstroTurf pool deck. The “secret” club. The titillating live art. Cheekily misnomered, The Standard Hotel, Hollywood strived to be anything but standard since its opening two decades ago. The avant-garde original of what has grown to seven boutique hotels, it’s in good company with a second DTLA location and newer ones in London and the Maldives.

From the beginning, this was a place that catered to a clientele craving something beyond traditional definitions of luxury. There’s the art—most famously “The Box,” a glass enclosure where models lounge, never making eye contact with guests, that spawned a 2014 memoir by Lilibet Snellings called Box Girl: My Part Time Job as an Art Installation and was featured in Sex and the City’s third season. There’s the design: The wavy facade originally built in 1962 as the Thunderbird Motel is an ode to midcentury modernism. The aforementioned electric-blue pool deck was camera-ready long before Instagram arose; the floor-to-ceiling shagged lobby walls still stop guests in their tracks, and rooms feature curtains printed with Andy Warhol’s famous flowers. And then there’s the buzzy vibe, driven both by the clandestine club Mmhmmm, screenings and unconventional performances (ukelele night, anyone?). “We question everything, we experiment, we push the boundaries, we take risks and we have fun,” says Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International. “We pride ourselves on the ethos that though we may not be for everyone, everyone is welcome.”

From top: The building’s iconic curvy midcentury modern facade; rooms feature silver bean bag chairs and Andy Warhol floral print curtains.

What’s changed most in The Standard’s 20 years? Plenty, particularly Hollywood itself. “[The area] was considered fairly undesirable but with an emerging edge,” says Lalvani. “Then came an era of models and bottles, and now it’s actually settled in as an established residential neighborhood.” These days, there’s a resident tattoo artist on-site for guests feeling spontaneous, and Giorgio’s, a Saturday night discotheque where everyone from Mick Jagger to Leonardo DiCaprio parties. Currently on view is “Champ,” a 43-foot art installation by Zoe Buckman that features the white neon outline of an abstracted uterus with fiberglass boxing gloves, a fitting sign-of-the-times for female empowerment. Soon, The Standard, Hollywood will launch the first-ever hotel cannabis dispensary with luxury brand Lord Jones, a bold move that’s as L.A. as it gets. “We are always evolving,” says Lalvani. “But we still encourage guests to kick their shoes off and enjoy the blue AstroTurf. It never gets old, even if these days the drink of choice is frosé.”

Photography by: balcony photo by chris mosier | Pool deck and room photos by spencer lowell