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Hotel Angeleno — A Perfect Fit

By Bob Page

It has been said that the mark of a savvy and successful businessman or woman is one who has an uncanny ability to see around corners.
Chip Conley, who is the founder and CEO of  Joie de Vivre Hotels, has built his collection of unique emporiums by staying a step ahead of the bulldozer.
One of his 40 award-winning hotels is the Hotel Angeleno, a left-for-dead Holiday Inn in Brentwood at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and the 405.
Conley’s creativity turned it into a posh, ultra-modern boutique hotel with both an award-winning day spa and the West restaurant with its panoramic views on the hotel’s penthouse level.
West is billed as an Italian steakhouse but its culinary diversity ranges far beyond traditional steakhouse fare of meat and potatoes. There is a wide range of Italian dishes, including its house-made gnocchi and risotto as well as a wonderful selection of fresh seafood. The wine list is extensive, offering some superb Italian wines along with a nice selection of wines from Napa and Sonoma counties.
We like to travel outside the routine, you know taking the easy out by booking into any one of the major chain hotels without giving  a second  thought to what you might find by doing a little research on the Internet.
That’s how we found the Angeleno and learned  about Joie de Vivre. We were also looking for a place which would be convenient to our weekend plans: a visit to the J. Paul Getty Museum and a university alumni dinner in Pacific Palisades.
The Angeleno was the perfect fit. Our room, while a touch on the small side, nonetheless offered some nice amenities, such as complementary high-speed Internet access, a large writing desk, cable TV with free HBO and pay-per-view movies. The neutral-colored décor would best described as upscale casual.
One of its nicest amenities is complementary valet parking.
While it sits within a baseball throw of the 405, the double-paned windows make the traffic noise negligible. We had a West-facing room, although the best views face east beyond the freeway and toward UCLA.
The Joie de Vivre hotels , all located in California,  employ over 3,000 with revenues approaching $250 million. It all began when Conley took a 1950s seedy motel and turned it into a “rock ‘n roll” hotel that catered to celebrities from David Bowie to Linda Ronstadt.
The location of the Angeleno makes it a perfect location for visiting the Getty, UCLA or even Rodeo Drive, whose shops are no more than a 15 minute drive from the hotel.
The Getty is an illustrious landmark and shouldn’t be missed. Two of its current exhibitions are “Paris: Life & Luxury” as it was lived in the mid-18th century and “The Gods of Angkor,” bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia.
One can never get enough of Paris and with only one prior stop in Siem Reap, the lovely  little Cambodia town near the Angkor temples, the exhibits cannot replace the joy of being in either. Regardless, the exhibits are well worth the short trip north as is an overnight stop or two in the Hotel Angeleno.
The Paris exhibit runs until Aug. 7 and the Angkor through Aug. 14.

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