The reception of the press-loaner BMW R1200GS Adventure and I rubs me the wrong way from the outset. From behind an imposing over-sized reception desk, meant to be reminiscent of an antique, Asian steamer trunk, there is a feeling of narrow minded homo-to-homo prejudice that finds me lacking for not fitting the “mold” of expected cliental. It’s a sure fire recipe to ensure that judgement becomes a two way street. Another visiting couple, who working much harder to fit the aspirational image, found the Chamberlain embracing.
For the public areas, David McCauley, a protégé of designer Kelly Wearstler of kwid, has crafted the interiors as an eclectic mélange of glass, mirror and ceramics from across eras and genres – giving a sense of a collection of artifacts collected though a series of travels and an overwhelming theme of business. The floor even the floor has been lavished with design intention, tiled with a herringbone pattern of tropical jade and patina green, finished to a dusky-matte. Indeed, there is an English Modern and neo-classical aesthetic here that I quite like. Where do I hang my pith helmet?
Or, in this case motorcycle helmet? Upstairs of course.
Open the door and the split level suit is spacious and resplendent in ivory, dusky grey and more subtle blue and green tones. A “calming haven” as the brochure-speak puts it? Perhaps, in a “Dear Gawd! Don’t slop that cosmo!” way.
Beyond that the bed linens high-thread-count, the soaps and body care hail from Neil George Salon, the bathroom Carrera marble bathroom floors and Italian bathrobes, and all suites feature a fireplace. Despite the marketing pitch, not all have the rooms have a balcony – mine was partially sub-ground with only window on the inner courtyard – and it’s here that the Chamberlain shows it’s underpinnings.
Like any West Hollywood facelift-queen the Chamberlain can’t escape it’s age and origins; the squeak of floorboards, the tromp of rhino-patrons in room above, the Motel6 loud air conditioning, the elevator that sticks between floors and a staff that couldn’t care less when being “trapped for a few minutes” is reported. Scratch the surface and the Chamberlain is an aging apartment converted to boutique hotel, and for the high-end price that doesn’t quite fit.
No matter how pleasant the contemporary roof top pool, the hotel doesn’t wear it’s infirmities as character or charm.
The Chamberlain trades on its convenience in the throbbing, nipped, tucked, entertainment as industry and appearance as paramount heart gay-bourhood of West Hollywood.
If that section of Santa Monica Boulevard has what you need out of a visit to LA, then the Chamberlain is one of the most stylish options for accommodations in a neighbourhood where the Ramada is a default choice. Really though, no one will be impressed if you stay there. Better to spin up AirBnB.com http://www.airbnb.com/ and find something interesting and unique.
That is the crux of the Chamberlain, if travel is about making a statement about your self assigned importance, then the Chamberlain will charge you appropriately to be seen to stay at the right sort of place. Just because you’re gay though, don’t expect it to be friendly.
1000 Westmount Drive