Sunset Marquis Hotel Says Hello To 2000 and Beyond!
As the proliferation of cell phones made mischievous deeds accessible to the public – and thus more potentially career-harming – rock stars were forced to cool. The internet was stealing from the coffers formerly entirely controlled by records labels. These record labels could now only put established bands up in luxury hotels. So, while musical stars such as Kings of Leon, Lady Antebellum, and Amy Winehouse flipped over to their less sunned sides by the Sunset Marquis pool, the raw prowess of up-and-comers and youngsters was no longer fueling the mad familial oasis. This all compelled further maturation of both the Sunset Marquis’s family and its perimeter.
The Whiskey Bar Matures Into Bar 1200
First, in 2005, the Whiskey Bar necessarily became Bar 1200. The rebranding tweak was an important adjustment to the madhouse The Whiskey had become, which was threatening the prized haven-ness of the Sunset Marquis.
Second, the self-proclaimed “Phantom of the Marquis,” Jed Leiber, recognized that recording studio tech was becoming ubiquitous, and noted that, “If everyone is going out, I’m going deep.” With a fury, he used his immense style and knowledge of state of the art recording technology to make the NightBird Recording Studio, an inimitable, top-tier music studio. As Madonna, Lil’ Wayne, Rihanna, Seal, Drake’s pivotal album, and 30 Grammy nominations rolled through the NightBird Recording Studio, it was clear he had been right and had succeeded.
New Villas Are Here!
Third – and finally! – the expansion was finalized, and the Sunset Marquis grew into the eden it is today! Forty new villas! A new internal bus garage for artists coming off the road! A stunning new restaurant, Cavatina, surrounding by waterfalls! The garages lowered five feet to breathe new life into the boisterous gardens! And the infamous hot tub (and sauna) removed to make way for a spa. Some fans of the hot tub’s scandalous memories petitioned for a plaque to be erected in remembrance of the hot tub; however, everyone who truly revisited the hazy memories made there would ultimately shake that idea off with a shiver.
The Nashville Bar
The Sunset Marquis was growing into new niches too. Cavatina’s bar affectionately began being called “The Nashville Bar,” because of its country music attendees, and chefs delighted in the restaurant. Batali, in particular, calls the Sunset Marquis his “El Lay Home.”
Kelly Cutrone was the gallant knight of PR at the Sunset Marquis since the mid-1990s. Her response to the economic downturn was to seduce new facets of Hollywood’s elites to this centrally-located, luxury haven: fashion industry moguls, infantile twenties-something tech men and women, editorial creatives, single women looking for lux and fun, and families with nannies flocked to the hotel in new numbers.
Slash said of the expansion, “They’ve added to it, but the vibe is the same. I have to tell you, years ago, the fucking decor of the rooms was atrocious. You dealt with it but, you know, that sort of floral, orange shit they had going there was not that cozy. So it actually got better. They managed to make it cooler.”
Our Musical Family of Guests
Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, John Oates, Jed Leiber, and Stevie Wonder played at the 2007 opening of the Sunset Marquis expansion. Privacy was reclaimed! This rock and roll home of the past forty years became internalized once again, and the protection its musical family expected at the Sunset Marquis was reinstated.
“The evolution of this hotel has seemed to come more from function. By opening up that space in the back, you create a safe haven for a lot of people, private from the street,” said Terence Blanchard, a twelve-time nominee and five-time Grammy winner, “but it’s just enough where you can have a number of people there hanging out and enjoy the open air and a great meal” (pg 166).
That’s right – a space for hanging out, open air, and a great meal – the Sunset Marquis had officially turned fifty.
Fifty Years of Rock and Roll History
George Rosenthal’s vision for West Hollywood’s first purpose-built, all-suites hotel could not have had a more fabulous and historic journey. The Sunset Marquis remains West Hollywood’s home and haven for the greatest artists of all-time. And a superstar in its own right.
The Sunset Marquis has been in the same family for over fifty years. So, throw the financial latitude of a corporate machine out the window and enjoy the hotel’s freedom to be unique, which was earned by the hotel’s personal relationship to the “family” of rock and roll. The Sunset Marquis’s eclectic perspective on Hollywood’s changeability was garnered by years of being in the Los Angeles trenches alongside her guests. It is a place where hotel is synonymous with home, and colleagues synonymous with family.
This lovey dovey relationship to her inhabitants, however, does not mean that the Sunset Marquis has gone soft – far from it! However, why tell more stories when you can go have those adventures for yourself…
Unspoken Promise of Discretion
Stars continue to wrap themselves in the warm embrace of the Sunset Marquis’s unspoken promise of discretion, while the hotel simultaneously provides lively and ever-new environments and groups to inspire and creatively collaborate. A network of the best of the best both fuels the ambiance of the hotel, while also continuing to write the hotel’s future lore.
“It’s almost like the place itself has a beating heart and a pulse and soul. When you walk in the door, and you come in that awning, it’s like you actually are going into this magical world,” says “Mayor” Billy Bob Thornton. “I wasn’t looking for a place to fall in love with. But you walk in here and you do.”
Fall in love with the home that inspired, spanked, sequestered, and mothered the legends of rock and roll and of Hollywood…the Sunset Marquis!