Plan A Romantic Urban Getaway in a Luxurious Villa!
There is a beautiful anecdote in If These Walls Could Rock about Harry Connick, Jr. and Jill Goodacre falling in love at first site on the pool deck at the Sunset Marquis. Connick had checked in and was leaving the front desk to find his villa when Goodacre came up for a breath while swimming laps in the pool.
Lisa Hagen recalls in the book, “It was like a slow-motion scene from a movie…You could hear the violins playing.” Connick and Goodacre have been married for twenty-four years and are a happy family with their three kids. Amidst all the revelry in the book, this story stuck out to me because it does encapsulate an important exhilaration at the Sunset Marquis: romanticism.
A Hidden Oasis of Peace and Quiet
I remember the first few times I went to the Sunset Marquis; the visits each had a theme. My first visit was defined by amazement at this surreptitiously guarded hotel I was only just beginning to discover. When I stayed at the Sunset Marquis, peace and away-ness were the themes of the day; I couldn’t believe how far away I felt from the responsibilities and hustles of Hollywood. There was a visit where the food at Cavatina – with its variety and classicism and deliciousness – seemed to be the focus.
There was a Billy Bob Thornton day and a Lily Tomlin day – those were both inspiring. And there was one day in which my experience was captured by the phrase: “I’m going to meet my husband here.”
Nothing particularly romantic was going on that day. Perhaps the inception of the thought came from witnessing a couple very much in love at the edge of the villas by the staircase to La Cienega. Or the love of music that’s obvious when I think about the excellence and passion that has passed through The Nightbird.
However, I think it was one of those days in Los Angeles where I was looking around me, seeing bits of new graffiti and people dancing outside a coffee shop and an electric blue sky with bright colors in the hills after a rain. Those days I often end up at the Sunset Marquis to breathe in Los Angeles’s beauty and intricacies.
My Choice for a Romantic Getaway
If I had to pick a place to spend romantically with a boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, crush, lover, or any of the other partners one might want, I would select the Sunset Marquis every single time. I don’t want a place that beats me over the head with romanticism or luxury. I want a space to be exactly what it intrinsically is. When we are romantic, we have the privilege of being exactly what we are: present, open, and communing intimately with another.
The Sunset Marquis is a nuanced warren of romantic elements. Adorned in a robe and slippers, I drank a bottle of wine with a friend by the pool at dusk and could have fallen in love with a lounge chair if it had winked at me. I have been swooned by long dinners with people I love – friends and family – at Cavatina. I have cuddled with best girlfriends and a pot of tea in the garden seating. I remember my first tour of the Sunset Marquis included the phrase, “And we do weddings here.” Here, indicating a particularly private yet spacious alcove, away from the restaurant and the central pathway through the property. Another thought: “I want to get married here.” That was the very first time I ever thought about my own wedding; it took the whole Sunset Marquis for me to consider undergoing the white dress!
However, once the thought struck, my imagination did what it’s well-equipped to do. I pictured white orchids and lilies pressed lovingly into the foliage around and above, soft fabrics draped here and there to transform the space into a romantic sanctuary, and small white chairs with plush pillows meticulously organized into a rectangle in two halves. The middle parted to make way to an altar, which was elegantly decked with braided flowering branches.
Then, I took a step back and re-imagined the space unclothed in wedding apparel. Instead, it was brightly green and quiet, except for the pattering of birds above. To hold hands and press yourself against a loved one – your head on his or her shoulder – is the epitome of romantic. It’s miraculous to think you and a loved one can achieve this level of intimacy a step away from Sunset Boulevard.
Calling All Lovers
Boyfriends and ladies and wives and husbands, if you want to surprise your partner romantically, please take them to the Sunset Marquis and stay in a villa. It’s as if you’ve stepped into a bubble of clean air, quiet sounds, inspiring characters, wonderful history, and spacious escape directly in the heart of West Hollywood.
The moments pass here quietly and seem parallel to the rest of the world. Escape doesn’t do it justice; it’s more transportive than that. You are away, and you are alone with a dear one. You are in a space to touch and to hold and to be present and to be happy together.
The Sunset Marquis epitomizes what I love about Los Angeles. It is a shining jewel in West Hollywood that represents my love of city and love of home. Los Angeles is a place of great natural beauty, but this city also unpretentiously and naturally expands with its growth. With almost sixty years of slow expansion, collecting properties and neighbors as the hotel required, the Sunset Marquis grew organically too.
West Hollywood has an extraordinary historical district that it doesn’t sell tours and tickets to see because the people want to live; the people want to walk around Tara house with their dogs and keep F. Scott Fitzgerald’s apartment a home-known secret. The Sunset Marquis is similarly a historical secret with a gilded history saved for those who know.
Your Love Story Could Start in a Villa
This prioritization of West Hollywood’s home-ness marks a grander reverence for togetherness that I have found in Los Angeles.
Because our city is so spread out, it takes a little more effort to get together. This makes those times with friends and family and romantic partners all the more intense and special. I think of Los Angeles as a city of creative loners, and that breed of person adores the romantic more than anyone.
We dream all day of passionately telling stories about love, of one variety or another! We spend our lives peddling hard to inch forward towards hopes of film, fashion, music, dance, and a fulfilling life doing always what we love. When we slow down, we want to hold and savor the people with whom we have slowed down. The Sunset Marquis is a hollowed out haven for anyone to indulge in loving togetherness.