A Chic L.A. Hideaway with Frette Sheets For Only $99 a Night? We Found It!

Yahoo TravelMay 19, 2014

(Courtesy: San Vincente Inn)

When most people step foot in a dilapidated drug den, they might see a doctor afterward. When hotelier Jeff Klein visited West Hollywood’s infamous San Vincente Inn, he rang his broker—and then an architect. And now for the low, low price of $99 (up to $169 per night, a steal for the area), you can share in his vision of a high-end hideaway smack in the heart of the Santa Monica Boulevard action and worthy of his celeb-fave Sunset Tower Hotel.

Sort of.

First he needs to sort out the permits.“They’re the oldest bungalows in WeHo, built for railroad workers in the 1880s, arranged around a pool and an enchanted garden,” explains Klein, on the allure he saw in the property. “I don’t think this is overstating it—they’re magical.” But that historic component led to a maze of preservation permissions and building permits, which will be taking another 18 months or so to figure out.

(Courtesy: San Vincente Inn)

Till then the re-christened San Vincente Bungalows is operating as a “pop-up” hotel, a shabby-chic middle zone that offers 23 bright cottages draped in white linens and Cote d’Azur stripes. Malin+Goetz products are stocked in the newly refreshed bathrooms and there are comfortable nooks and mod settees hidden amongst wisteria and palms. A free continental breakfast offers fresh-baked pastries, local cheeses, and strong coffee. In short: its scruffy yet stylish present couldn’t be farther from its salacious past.

Klein—himself a gay man, so let’s not cry hetero-gentrifcation too quick—invested over $300,000 in renovations to scrape the (literal) sweat, blood, and tears out of what used to be a clothing-optional, men-only gay resort nicknamed the Phallus Palace.

(Courtesy: San Vincente Inn)

“I changed the name to Bungalows from Inn—it was so marred with its history,” Klein says. What was a relic of West Hollywood’s history as a liberal gay ghetto in the 70s and 80s had become an anachronism to its multiculti P.C. present.

“The reality of West Hollywood is much like [NYC’s] West Village in the 90s, it’s pretty straight even though there’s a lot of gay bars,” says Klein. “All the big WeHo bars are within walking distance but Robertson Boulevard is also one block away, where you’ve got Chanel, Polo, Tory Burch, and the Ivy Restaurant. It’s all right here.”

You’re as apt to find a junior decorater plotting a day in the Design District in the patio gardens as you are a French couple pouring over their Beverly Hills purchases before heading to Hollywood, or a young agent sunning by the pool. There’s board games and cards, and lots of little nooks, plus a mostly 20- and 30-something crowd that tends towards the social. It’s easy to see where Klein’s vision is heading once the pop-up becomes permanent.

It’s funky, it’s secluded—and amid the Andaz and The Standards and Chateau Marmont area alternatives—it’s special. Not to mention affordable.

“You could feel like you’re in Palm Springs or a great little hotel in Italy,” says Klein. “There’s nothing else like it in L.A.”

(Courtesy: San Vincente Inn)

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