The Sunset Strip has always been home to an unique community of creative arts often spear-headed by passionate locals. Over many decades The Sunset Strip has produced comedy legends like Richard Pryor, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Cheech and Chong and musical acts like The Doors, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses and Frank Zappa (to name a few). And through it all there’s always been a spirit of individuality, of community, of creating something different together in a way only the vibe of The Strip could.
However, as of late, it seems that spirit has died: The Roxy brought in a larger promoter to handle their club bookings (and thus not curating many local band shows), The Whisky has been pay-to-play for many years which doesn’t always lend itself to – well – talent, the Sunset Strip Music Festival is being run by an outside-The-Strip promoter this year, The Key Club shut their doors and it appears the House of Blues (although already corporate entity) is being torn down soon as well. It’s been many decades since masses used to flock to Sunset Blvd at night and even the community-building tweet-crawls started in 2009 have ceased to continue (it’s like a pub-crawl with Twitter as your leader). Sure, The Comedy Store is breeding a new generation of comics about as well as The Viper Room is raising the next generation of rock ‘n roll, but where’s the spirit?
Enter: Andaz West Hollywood. Formerly, the Continental Hyatt House (or maybe you knew it as the Riot House). Yes, THE infamous hotel where Keith Richards threw the TV out the window. Don’t let all the name change fool you, this is still a Hyatt owned property that takes pride in preserving the rich entertainment history of the hotel. You want spirit? Here it is!
Every room features little rock n roll touches, like a couple of old school vinyls and an available amenities list printed on a CD. The info binder even says “Vive Le Rock” and tells the rock n roll story of the hotel. Even the staff are trained with as many stories as possible to provide inquiring guests with. For example, Little Richard lived in the hotel for 17 years! And when Led Zeppelin would come through Los Angeles, they’d take over six floors of the hotel at a time. Maybe that’s why Robert Plant yelled, “I AM A GOLDEN GOD,” from the Riot House balcony? Or how about the time Keith Moon dressed as a waiter and climbed up a rope to serve Robert Plant a drink on his balcony?!
If that’s not enough, the Andaz actively cares for their West Hollywood neighbors providing community spirit in a place where society has been extremely self-focused. With gallery exhibits from local artists (currently a photo set by John Russo), participation in neighborhood functions (farmer’s markets, Sunset Strip Music Festival, etc) and, in this reporter’s case, lending a hand to a neighbor who was in need of some comfort (and a gesture of good will); the Andaz has soaked up several decades of The Sunset Strip spirit and is dishing it out at a time when hope is needed most. Not just in the West Hollywood community, but worldwide.
As it happens, Andaz West Hollywood is offering guests two weekend passes to the Sunset Strip Music Festival on September 20-21 with a reservation on the same weekend. So, if you’re planning a visit to the city of West Hollywood to trace the footsteps of many legends before you make your stay at the Andaz: not just for the exceptional comfort, but for the stories, attitude and community spirit.