VINTAGE LA: The Mondrian Hotel

Alison Martino’s Vintage LA takes us on a groovy trip down memory lane into the legendary past of greater WeHo every Thursday.

THE MONDRIAN

The hotel was converted from a 1950s apartment complex to a hotel in 1984 by the L’Ermitage Group.

It was styled as an homage to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian commissioned by artist Yaacov Agam entitled L’Hommage a Mondrian.

The 9 story exterior featured black lacquer, mod colors, chrome and glass.

The hotel attracted rock stars like Keith Richards and Elvis Costello, who practically lived at the hotel bar.

I remember getting my picture taken with Billy Idol in the parking lot and attending a party for The Beastie Boys after their concert at the Greek.

Ian Schrager known for running the 70s disco, Studio 54, and a number of hip Manhattan boutique hotels, bought the Mondrian in 1995 for $17.5 million. 

He partnered with designer Phillipe Stark to create the look today: completely ‘stark’ white.

On the other side you can see Midway Rent a Car, Butterfield’s restaurant and a Sunset Tattoo. That was all torn down to build the now closed House Of Blues. 

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Weho Independent
Weho Independent
7 months ago

The Sunset Tower is vintage Los angeles. This ugly looking architectural mess is not vintage anything. Just something you tear down. As a hotel, every time I visit friends there, from out of town, it looks like it’s very busy with hookers. Did she write this to get a free drink for promoting it?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
7 months ago

I hope your “friends” paid the hookers well.

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

It’s Phillipe Starck, not Stark

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
8 months ago

Useless “article”, other than I agree with another commenter, it was a great way for the author to get her picture published. Seriously, of what journalistic interest or benefit is there in 2022, to have weak evidence that this author was in the parking lot of this hotel presumably in the 1980’s? Was the purpose of that to convey, “Look at me, look at me you low-life nothings, are you looking at me yet? I posed with a rock star for a photo for 2.5 seconds 40 years ago, and you didn’t. BTW, my daddy was in The Godfather, and… Read more »

Michelle D.
Michelle D.
8 months ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

Agree with most of what you and someone else said; scant, pointless article written for the sole purpose of including a picture of herself. A few bullet points you could get from literally anywhere and a photo. Great. Got it. Hardly a groovy trip down memory lane!

She’s amassed a great treasure trove of history and I appreciate the chance to look through it. But she is not a writer! Not sure I’d call her blog ‘excellent’. Interesting yes, but mostly youthful reminiscing sprinkled with pictures and some history.

Mike
Mike
8 months ago

I used t love dining at Butterfields.

Eleanor Cohen
Eleanor Cohen
8 months ago

Rather sparse and mostly useless article. I remember when it used to be the Sunset-Lesser or maybe the Braemar. Then people called it the Sunset Apartments in the early 70’s.

No mention of developer Ashkenazy, who also developed Le Parc on Knoll and L’Ermitage. Left out the whole mess with the Mondrian removing laundry facilities after it opened!

And artist James Turrell? And the Mondino videos in the elevator? The Sky Bar?

But gee, thanks for getting the photo you in there!

Last edited 8 months ago by Eleanor Cohen
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
8 months ago
Reply to  Eleanor Cohen

Eleanor, Thanks for the reminder. I thought this sorry chapter of the City’s history had been forgotten Severn Ashkenazy was allowed to evict hundreds of tenants who lived at what is now the Montrose, Le Rive, Le Park, Sommerfield Suites and the Mondrian by the new City of West Hollywood, which rationalized this mass dislocation on the promise that the City would receive a windfall in hotel tax. Jeanne Dobrin pointed out this hypocrisy and was in the thick of opposing what she called a “commercialization” of residential areas. As many as a thousand people lost their homes. Our then… Read more »

Strange City
Strange City
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thanks for the details on the beginning of “hollowing out” the city under false pretenses.

Missing Info
Missing Info
8 months ago

Seems to have completely skipped the Ashkenazy Brothers Era when they made many conversions. Where are the details about that murky era also usurping tenants?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
8 months ago

I thought it was converted from housing to a hotel sometime after incorporation of the City. I remember Jeanne Dobrin engaged in an ongoing battle with the City of West Hollywood to preserve the housing and that tenants were still being forced out in the late 80’s. Hundreds of tenants were displaced so the City could reap the benefit of the hotel taxes.

Jon Ponder
Jon Ponder
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

In May 1984, the Times reported that Le Mondrian was scheduled to open that July, in time for the opening of the Olympics.

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