Sunset Tower’s multi-million dollar transformation includes spa housed in John Wayne’s former apartment

by Jane Kitchen | 06 Jul 2018

The iconic Sunset Tower hotel – considered the one of the best examples of Art Deco design in Los Angeles – will emerge from a multi-million-dollar renovation this August that will include a new 7,000sq ft fitness centre and spa.

Led by owner Jeff Klein, who has owned the property since 2004, the hotel is located on Sunset Boulevard and first opened its doors in 1931.

Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, Sunset Tower has long been a favourite with Hollywood clientele; its former residents include the likes of Truman Capote, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

Along with the Hollywood clientele come stories that add to the rich history. John Wayne, whose former apartment is now the hotel’s spa and gym, kept his pet cow on the balcony so that guests could have fresh milk with their coffee.

Notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel’s apartment is now The Tower Bar and Restaurant. Howard Hughes kept several apartments at Sunset Tower for his various mistresses – some at the same time – while Frank Sinatra, who owned a bachelor pad at the hotel, would often propose to Ava Gardner from the edge of his terrace. Iggy Pop would dive from his balcony into the pool and Diana Ross couldn’t work the lift as her nails were too long so made actor Tim Curry play elevator operator.

In 2004, the hotel embarked on a new journey when hotelier and restaurateur Jeff Klein became owner. Klein’s vision for the Sunset Tower’s refurbishment was to let the hotel design itself. He wanted to restore its heart and soul without losing its character or having a named designer take over such a landmark building.

Klein has worked to ensure the hotel’s classical cachet remains intact, staying true to the Art Deco influences and offering classic interiors in a palette of muted pinks, creams, and salmon.

A spa by acclaimed New York aesthetician Joanna Vargas offers a wide variety of treatments in a glamorous setting. It is home to cutting-edge technologies such as LED light bed, radio frequency and microcurrent machines, but will also offer facials, massages and anti-ageing treatments.

The new Mansion Fitness centre, which includes 3,000sq ft of outdoor space, will be home to Cybex equipment, free weights, a stretching area, state-of-the-art treadmills and elliptical cross-trainers. Personal training and fitness classes will also be available, including yoga, meditation and boot-camps.

Sunset Tower’s 81 bedrooms and suites have been decorated in a style described as ‘chic and elegant’. While Klein has respected the original palette and direction that interior designer Paul Fortune created when he first acquired and restored the hotel in 2004, each of the rooms has been enriched with dusty pinks, soft creams and brown accents.

Overhead spotlights have been replaced with warm cove lighting and bold pieces of art can be seen throughout. Vintage-inspired lamps have been reproduced from originals Klein found in a Paris flea market, while leather benches inspired by a Hermès version and individually designed ottomans can be found in each of the rooms.

The bathroom walls are papered in custom-created drawings by the fashion and beauty illustrator Donald Robertson in a playful design featuring metallic gold background with black and gold scenes inspired by the hotel.

Sunset Tower  John Wayne  Los Angeles  Jeff Klein  spa  Art Deco 
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