True Green

A lot of hotels say they’re environmentally responsible. Most of the time that consists of not changing the sheets or towels unless you ask them to. That’s not really being green in my book. I recently had the pleasure of staying at a genuinely environmentally conscious hotel – 1 Hotel West Hollywood.

Into the Woods

The front desk took me by surprise.  The woodsy scent of freshly carved Aleppo pine took the whole check-in experience to a new level. Two massive tree trunks have been sculpted into a curved reception desk operated by the friendly and helpful front of house staff. As Bella Costa, Director of Guest Services, explained to me, “1 Hotel West Hollywood is the largest reclaimed wood project in North America.  Over 72 tons of pine and olive trees were picked up for us after the storms of 2018 by Angel City Lumber. It’s been reused all over the property in various ways from furniture to serving trays. We tried not to waste any of it.”

The freshly carved front desk at 1 Hotel - photo Debra Smith

The freshly carved front desk at 1 Hotel – photo Debra Smith

From the rough-hewn built-in seating in the expansive lobby to the poker-chip sized wooden room “keys”, every effort has been made to keep nature front and centre. A moss wall that recreates the Hollywood sign dominates the first-floor entrance. A sandy path leads to a shady outdoor garden and waterfall with planters made of reclaimed wood creating a quiet pocket park alongside busy Sunset Boulevard.

The lobby of 1 Hotel feels like a comfy living room - photo Debra Smith

The lobby of 1 Hotel feels like a comfy living room – photo Debra Smith

1 Hotel is the first new build in the West Hollywood area in 30 years. After a brief stint as the Jeremy (all linens and toiletries were donated to charity after it closed), the building was rebranded as a 1 Hotel.  Spearheaded by the visionary chairman of Starwood Capital and the creator of the W brand, Barry Sternlicht, it joins sister properties in Brooklyn, Central Park, South Beach, and Cabo with more on the way.

“1 Hotel… is more than a hotel – it’s a philosophy and a platform for change.” – Barry Sternlict – CEO and Chairman, 1 Hotels.”

Show Me the Way to Go Home

One of the things I enjoyed the most about 1 West Hollywood was its location.  It sits at the highest point of La Cienega Boulevard where it meets the Sunset Strip with views of downtown Los Angeles or the hills of Laurel Canyon through floor to ceiling windows. You can see all the way to Santa Monica on a clear day while lounging by the rooftop pool or watch the bright lights of LA twinkle at night from the terrace of one of the hottest patios in town, Harriet’s on the eighth floor.

Poolside views of LA from 1 Hotel - photo Debra Smith

Poolside views of LA from 1 Hotel – photo Debra Smith

It’s an easy walk to the Design District for an afternoon of window shopping or to Santa Monica Boulevard for its lively LGBTQ+ nighttime scene. There are also two original 50’s diners that kids will love within walking distance: Mel’s Drive-In and Norm’s Restaurant. They’re both open 24 hours a day. There are plenty of upscale options close by too, including 1 Hotel’s own Alice, a marketplace and café, and 1 Kitchen, Executive Chef Chris Crary’s take on farm-to-table California cuisine. He often creates zero-waste menus using produce and honey from the 2,000 sq. ft. In-House organic garden and beehives.

A few blocks down La Cienega you’ll find fantastic shopping in and around The Beverly Center at Beverly Boulevard. Take advantage of the house car and arrive by Tesla anywhere within a two-mile radius of 1 Hotel. That includes spots like The Laugh Factory, The Viper Room and the Whiskey a Go-Go.

The Green Room

How have you greened up your rooms, 1 Hotel? Let me count the ways. Hallway carpets are woven from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. Every room has a minimum of three live plants, cared for by an army of gardeners. Headboards, armoires and tables are left unvarnished, so there’s no off-gassing. There are no plastic cups, stir sticks, or cutlery to be found. Glasses are, happily, made of glass. Soft furnishings are made of pure, natural fabrics.  Even the cords on the lamps are covered in cloth, not plastic. The house brand toiletries come in large size containers, not single-use plastic and are 100% natural and scented with cedar, oak, eucalyptus, musk and moss. The combination of all these things plus the incredibly comfortable beds, created by the designer of Westin’s Heavenly Beds, had me slipping into dreamland immediately upon touchdown.

Room at 1 Hotel West Hollywood - Photo Courtesy 1 Hotels

Rooms at 1 Hotel West Hollywood are serene and full of life – Photo Courtesy 1 Hotels

Families and their furry friends are very welcome at 1 Hotel with doggie beds and dishes available upon request. There are several connecting rooms and rooms with baths. Fitness buffs can enjoy complimentary boxing, abs and yoga classes with Performix House, a fitness studio from New York that trains the Victoria Secret Angels.

1 Hotel West Hollywood is a showcase for what a truly environmentally conscious luxury hotel can be. Grab your shades; the future looks bright.

The writer was a guest of 1 Hotel West Hollywood and Visit West Hollywood. As always, her opinions are her own. For more photos of West Hollywood and Los Angeles, follow her on Instagram @Where.To.Lady