It’s impossible to miss the Georgian Hotel. The refreshed landmark hotel makes its presence known—its quirky turquoise Art Deco exterior begging to be admired. The building appears brand new, so much so that even Los Angeles locals might not know that it’s been lording over Santa Monica’s famed Ocean Avenue for 90 years.
The Georgian Hotel has had many lives. After it opened in 1933 as the Georgian Hotel by female hotelier Rosamond Borde, it became a stomping ground for major Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and the Kennedy family. Over time, it was a three-star hotel, a senior living home, and an extended-stay hotel under different ownership—until BLVD Hospitality founder and CEO Jon Blanchard purchased the property in 2020. The L.A. firm’s past projects include Ace Hotel Broadway, Soho Warehouse, and the Hoxton in downtown L.A., to name a few.
“All of our past projects were amazing, and we were able to learn so much from visionaries like Nick Jones of Soho House and Alex Calderwood of Ace Hotels, but the Georgian is our baby,” Nicolo Rusconi, cofounder and president of BLVD Hospitality, tells Robb Report. “This is the first project where we’re in the driver’s seat on the brand, design vision, operations, and the overall hospitality experience. Typically with our previous hotel projects, we hand off the project at completion to the brand.”
Perhaps what BLVD Hospitality does best is perfectly execute every last detail. The service is intuitive and hands-on; the design is rooted in the property or L.A.’s history; and the amenities, restaurants, art, music, and even the custom scent are carefully considered.
To bring its vision to life, BLVD used a medley of well-known collaborators and top brands: Michael McFadden of Ubiquity Records curated a distinctive collection of vinyls, which you can play on your room’s Victrola record player; Kevin Barry thoughtfully chose the art; Lee Kaplan, founder of ARCANA, picked the books in each room from iconic authors such as Joan Didion and Eve Babitz, as well as Christopher Isherwood’s private collection. Plus, there are Harry Josh hair dryers, R+Co bathroom amenities, and large-scale floral installments by Jean Pascal that are refreshed weekly.
Outside your room, you’ll discover Gallery 33, which will celebrate the area’s culture and the arts by hosting local, international, and up-and-coming artists through rotating exhibitions. The space will also play host to specially commissioned exhibitions through historic and cultural institutions. Recently, actress Sharon Stone presented her first show, Shedding, a Prelude, and donated one of her works to the hotel, which now hangs in the lobby. Another room for you to enjoy is the Library, filled with games, books, and a space to relax at any time of the day.
It’s the interior design, however, that transforms the hotel into a veritable lifestyle experience. BLVD enlisted interior-design firm Fettle to create spaces that reflect the building’s history yet firmly plant it in the present.
“It’s a hell of a building,” Fettle cofounder Tom Parker says. “We weren’t looking at photos and trying to restore it architecturally back to what it was but more renovating the spirit of the building. What’s interesting about the Art Deco movement is that as it moved from East to West, it picked up more Latin American and South American touches, and we call the design of the Georgian “Havana Art Deco,” which is where a lot of the color influences come from.”
Many design details from the original building remain, such as crown moldings, ornate reliefs, ceiling medallions, arched doorways, and animal motifs, which Fettle paired alongside burnished brass fixtures, sumptuous weighty curtains, and delightful pops of color. There are yellow banquets on the ocean-facing Sunset Terrace restaurant; mermaid-blue mosaic tiling in the lobby bar; and pale-pink loveseats in most of the 84 rooms. Fettle sought to incorporate lighter hues as an homage to the original female founder. There are also many geometric elements, patterns, and curves, which identify more with the Havana-inspired Art Deco style. As far as the furniture goes, 95 percent of the furnishings are custom.
“We try to always source from as close to home as possible, especially when it comes to manufacturing,” Parker says. “We worked with a company called Phoenix out of San Diego, who did most of the custom pieces including the sofas and dining chairs.”
Fettle brings home the Art Deco vibe through specific installations, like the custom floor pattern in the lobby, and decor, like vintage bar carts. “We looked at a lot of the local buildings, like the Great Eastern building for example, that inspired the geometric patterns, millwork, and inlays seen throughout the hotel,” Parker says.
A highlight is the vintage call boxes in the suites, with buttons labeled “Champagne,” “Dessert,” “Book Club,” and “the Usual.” With a push of a button and the help of a bellman—in a Wes Anderson–style suit—a glass of crisp Champagne in a fluted coupe or your favorite dessert or drink (which the staff knows as part of the check-in process) will be delivered straight to your door. This is just one example of how design relates directly to the hotel’s top-tier service and experiential aspect, which Fettle helped curate.
“It was probably one of my favorite projects we’ve ever done as a company because of our relationship with BLVD and their attention to detail when it comes to art, dressing, and design,” Parker says. “You don’t often find clients who put as much time into the details as they did.”
Check out more photos of the Georgian Hotel below: