The recently renovated Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles has followed a familiar path for many once-glorious hotels of the early 1900s. Heyday, then decline, then a rebirth. At the time it opened in 1926, the 15-story Mayfair towered over the rest of L.A. It hosted the after-party of the first Oscars, hosted by Howard Hughes. This was during Prohibition, but there were starlets and movie moguls to please so the bourbon was flowing…
In the revamped version there’s a secret bar here with a speakeasy-type entrance to honor those days (now a fake elevator with a secret code to punch in) and Roaring 20’s Hollywood was the inspiration for the look and feel. The Mayfair Hotel wows you from the first step inside, with sculptural lights that create a tin ceiling effect above and a bar in the center with a sculpture that commands attention. There was no reproduction on the columns and the floors though: those are the originals.
In the lobby bar you can get classic cocktails, including the favorite of Raymond Chandler. He lived here while working on one of his books and was fond of gimlets.
Behind the lobby bar is the Library Bar, lined with books and featuring a fireplace and piano. Many nights there’s live music or a DJ here and judging by the packed crowd on a Saturday night when I was there, this hotel has definitely become a nightlife hotspot.
The hotel is filled with rotating artwork, though unfortunately the high school project looking piece behind the reception desk will stay. The mezzanine level has permanent Los Angeles photos on the walls lining the staircase going up, then pieces that are on exhibition and for sale on that floor. An artist in residence works out of a dedicated studio space room. Much of the artwork is around a wall garden and mature olive tree.
The creative vibe filters into other areas too: there’s a communal writing room with a long table and a podcast room for recordings off the library bar. Past that is a licensed smoking lounge for cigars.
The main restaurant, Eve American Bistro, is stunning at night, with an artistic carved wood ceiling and dramatic lighting. The decor is cool and modern without being too pretentious and there are some nice surprises in the presentation. One of these is that when you order a steak, you can choose from an array of interesting knives from around the world. Eve, named after a Raymond Chandler character, often features special tasting menus that have gotten some rave reviews.
There’s a Fairgrounds Coffee cafe connected to The Mayfair from an interior door and you won’t want to go anywhere else if you’re a serious coffee fan. Besides the usual array of morning java, they’ve got cold brew on tap in multiple varieties, plus you can get healthy (or not so much) food items for breakfast and lunch.
Rooms are well-designed and comfortable, though you’ll feel like you’re in Manhattan when you step into the diminutive bathrooms with showers that are definitely not meant for two. The wall-mounted TV is large though, plus the room feels uncluttered with its eggshell walls, patterned carpet, and matching furniture in grays and blacks. Beds are covered with white duvets and there’s accent wallpaper behind the headboard.
Lighting is ample and there are plugs all over, including regular ones in the lamps and USB ones in the alarm clock. There’s also a Nespresso coffee machine and an electronic safe, though you’ll have to fork out $4 if you drink one of the bottled waters shipped all the way from Scandinavia.
Upper floors have a great Los Angeles skyline view, with twinkling downtown lights at night and a few hills visible on a clear day.
Eventually there will be a roof deck, sun patio, and small gym here, but for now you have to visit a nearby Gold’s Gym to work out. The hotel does have a large ballroom for weddings or meetings, however, plus a smaller board room on the mezzanine.
More effort seemed to go into the design of this property than the staff training, with obvious lapses in service throughout our stay. One person’s room was not cleaned, glasses stayed on tables for hours, and my bartender had to look at a menu to see what one of the supposed signature cocktails had in it.
It’s hard to complain too much though for a newish hotel that’s still reasonably priced. Rates generally run $128 to $180, which is quite reasonable for a nice hotel in Los Angeles these days. Thirty bucks more can get you a junior suite. Since you can walk to the convention center for a conference or the Staples Center for a basketball game, even better. There are 296 rooms at the Mayfair Los Angeles, so availability is often good. (Just be advised you’ll pay a hefty sum to park here.) See more information at the official hotel site or check Mayfair Hotel rates online at Expedia.