Hotels don't come much more storied than LA's just-opened Fairmont Century Plaza.
Cash-strapped in 1961 after a string of expensive movie flops, 20th Century Fox sold off 73 hectares of its Los Angeles studio lot, from which developers created a whole new suburb, Century City, 16 kilometres west of Downtown. The jewel in the crown was the striking arc-shaped hotel, the Century Plaza, designed by famed American architect Minoru Yamasaki, whose body of work included the original World Trade Centre in New York.
Glamorous from the get-go when it opened in 1966, the Century Plaza hosted the Oscars, astronauts and actors, harboured rock stars and royalty, and provided a home for US presidents – Ronald Reagan's frequent visits saw it dubbed "the Western Whitehouse".
Closed in 2016 after a $US2.5 billion development of the surrounding precinct as a mixed-use zone, and a significant renovation of its own, the hotel has reopened as the Fairmont Century Plaza.
Now with 400 rooms (a reduction from the 700-plus of the original), all with balconies, the hotel offers lavish suites and 63 privately-owned Fairmont residential apartments.
The mid-century beauty of the piece remains but architects Yabu Pushelberg (credentials include many high-end hotel and retail projects) pared back, opened up and brought green in.
The lobby now has floor-to-ceiling windows that retract into the floor, making the space open-air, while banks of plants, water features and extensive use of stone and timber create serenity.
There's still plenty of glamour, with a French brasserie on site, a seductive bar with a long counter made of zinc and a nine-treatment room spa as well as a requisite-for-Hollywood rooftop pool.
As to its star power, the hotel's massive ballroom has already hosted several award-season events and its celebrity guests can sneak in unseen via a private driveway.
From $978 a night. See fairmontcenturyplaza.com
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