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Grounded on the Sunset Marquis Grounds

Villa Walkway
Sunset Marquis Blog

By: Audrey Wooster
Edited: Sam Miller

February 4, 2022
Villa Gardens Walkway

The Sunset Marquis has been referred to by many as Los Angeles’s hidden “oasis.” An infamous hideaway for rockers, artists, and celebrities. Inconspicuously tucked into the heart of WeHo, it’s difficult to imagine the extensiveness of the property unless you see it firsthand. When you enter the Sunset Marquis and start to explore the lush grounds, it is easy to feel as though you’ve stumbled off a desert path and fallen victim to an alluring mirage. Over 3.5 acres stretch out before you, decorated with various palms, bamboo, vines, and flowers. We prefer that hallways are gardens rather than wallpapered tunnels. Between the two pools, a mesmerizing koi pond awaits the eyes of wandering guests. A bridge crosses overflowing waters. A jungle landscape in a concrete jungle? Wild, lush, and expansive. Seemingly impossible yet somehow made possible.

Well this oasis, like many beautiful creations, began with a vision. That of the hotel’s founder, George Rosenthal. He “wanted to emulate the Garden of Allah, the environment they had there, at least psychologically. It was a regeneration of what I’d only read about: a wonderful gathering place for the exchange of ideas for writers, musicians, people in the film business.”

And over the years, the Sunset Marquis has been a watering hole for creatives, in more ways than one. The hotel did become that “home away from home” it set out to be since its conception in 1963. Numerous stars such as Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, Roger Daltrey of The Who, Blondie, U2, Joan Jett, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Billy Bob Thornton, and many more have escaped to the Sunset Marquis. A haven amidst the flashing lights. Privacy and freedom. Some, such as Steven Tyler, describe the more wild side of the green jungle: “[The Sunset Marquis] is where we’d come in the old days… we never went to bed… and if we did it was down by the pool… And if you hung out at this pool in the 60s or 70s, you made sure you had nights you didn’t remember with friends you never forgot.”

But the Sunset Marquis has continued to beckon not only the rock ‘n’ rollers and celebrities but also guests who are craving their own, unique getaway. A staycation that transports them to another country without the need for a passport, for example. Between the endless foliage and the Mediterranean architecture, the Sunset Marquis accomplishes just that, and seamlessly too. As soon as you walk onto the property – along the stone pathways etched with memories of lightened feet – or walk uninterrupted through the pendulous palms, the city around you melts away. Leaving the gentle hum of meandering relaxation. A positive “Hotel California” effect, guests ask if they can never leave because they find themselves immediately feeling at home when they check into our hotel.

This “right at home” feeling was a pivotal element of inspiration in the newest updates of our 40 villas. Eric Rosen and Lesley Graham – the architect and designer behind the renovations – shared that their inspiration was “balancing the idea of the Sunset Marquis Hotel as a place that is ‘unique even by Hollywood standards’ with the idea that the spaces should feel like a guest’s home away from home.” They mastered this by “capitalizing on the relationship between the interior spaces and the outdoor garden environment,” maximizing the natural light during the day and reconfiguring layouts to elevate views to decks, patios, and the garden outside. Even the “eco-friendly dimmable LED lighting gives the guests the opportunity to brighten their space or create a more intimate environment with ambient lighting washing across textural surfaces,” shared Eric. Like many elements of the Sunset Marquis, the goal of the villas’ renovation was to design something “far from the typical big box hotel prototype.” Eric Rosen Architects did just that, ensuring each villa is unique and incredibly comfortable.

When asked which villas were their favorites, we had both Eric and Lesley stumped. It was impossible to land on just one: “Villa 51 is quite special with high ceilings, exposed beams, and floating decorative panels along with a fireplace, piano, and kitchen… Villa 1007 has amazing light flowing in… The patios in Villa 1105 and 1106 are both very large, and the living rooms have special bar seating… Villa 63 has incredible views of downtown… Villa 71 feels like you are floating in a treehouse.”

Before they spoil all of the villas’ secrets, we challenge you all – our Sunset Marquis family – to discover which villa is your favorite. Which villa will become your “home away from home.” After all, we created grounds that are designed to leave you grounded. So whether that means feeling more centered than when you arrived or Steven Tyler-style face-down sleeping on the ground next to our pool, the Sunset Marquis has the space and design to be whatever our guests need