Step through the looking glass at Mondrian Los Angeles


Where a glance in the mirror can put you on TV.

"But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here."
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

The traffic, the spectacle, the smog, the sunsets: Los Angeles can be everything you never knew you wanted. And the Mondrian is a voice of reason (or nonsense) in a world gone Hollywood.

A British rapper is staying here and, judging by the bronzed bodies by the pool, any number of almost-starlets are too. My two winters tan and lack of celebrity (deserved or otherwise) means I stick out like a fourth Kardashian. Until I check in.

To the staff at Mondrian Los Angeles I am as important as the owner of the Ferrari in its driveway despite the fact that I arrived in a Super Shuttle; I am greeted by name despite it not appearing in the tabloids; and despite a lobby full of maybe someones, I’m the most important person in the room.

The Mondrian sits astride the bustle of the famed Sunset Strip and is homage to Californian cool. As guests enter through its signature thirty-foot high mahogany doors, they exchange Los Angeles’ traffic and subsequent smog for an eternal sunset and smiling faces.

The lobby, in whites, oranges and a sudden purple is a So-Cal take on Alice’s Wonderland, complete with a mushroom-inspired Concierge desk and lucite swing. The staff rushes past in crisp whites and neutrals, so I, in my black Smiths t-shirt and frayed jeans suddenly feel very Seattle (ca.1991) and wished I packed (or owned) more pastel.

There’s a moment of confusion as I look for the elevator buttons and then I’m off through the rabbit hole to my room on the eleventh floor.

The hallway is dim bar from a blinking screen (it will be a few days before I realize that I can put my hand through to an empty room) and when I open the door, the sudden blast of sunlight blinds me.

The floor to ceiling windows in my room proffer a stunning view of Los Angeles (and a gauge of the day’s smog status), while the furniture within smacks of sophisticated whimsy, care of designer Benjamin Noriega Ortiz.

Like the Malin+goetz bath products, I want to pocket the pot plants (yes, real living plants) and the ultra-comfy daybed.

Dominating the room is an almost full-length mirror in an ornate frame, which swivels on a pole that separates the bed from the rest of the room. The mirror reveals a flat screen television.

“In another moment Alice was through the glass…”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

I breakfast at Mondrian Los Angeles’ Asia de Cuba and end each day at its Skybar, all the while feeling more and more like I belong.

Because when you strip away the Starck design and the cool TV casing, the swing in the lobby and the stories of who did what here, the Mondrian Los Angeles is as warm as it is cool and everyone is a superstar.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

All images courtesy of the Mondrian Los Angeles.

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: Gaya Avery
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