Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playing It Safe

This is the beautiful view from my apartment balcony today. Too bad it took so long to look this pretty though; I was supposed to go to the beach but the sun was nowhere to be found earlier in the day, which is about the only time one of the six parking spots is available at the mostly deserted little cove we frequent. Still, with plans set to try again next week, the day beginning to wind away, and the Westside on my brain, we decided to trek out anyway to stop in a bar I've had on my "list" for years now: the Cameo Bar at the Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica. With an interior designed by Kelly Whearstler; known for her over the top use of prints and textures, luxurious details, and general quirky mix of goods and styles that makes her any eclectic's icon, I had high hopes for a visual stimulation that would kick-start a great day. While the experience was a pleasant one, my blood orange margarita was tasty, and the day did turn out nice, I must confess myself disappointed at the hotel's decor. I mean, look at what Wearstler has done in her own home:

Now, don't get me wrong, her style is aspirational in the sense that it evokes fantasy (and could eventually give you a headache if you had that much crazy all over your own home); but that's why it's perfect for hotel design with its short-term stays and association with getting away from the norm at home. If you look at what she did for the Viceroy in Miami in the two photos below, you see what I'm getting at and why for me, the Santa Monica location fell flat. While it's more cohesive than a lot of her looks and not as "maximalist," it's also not mind blowing in the welcoming way that works for a property you don't have to live with forever.

The funny thing is, I am sure the Wearstler haters love the SaMo hotel most out of all the properties she's put her delightfully tacky mitts on. Oh well. Make your own determination, here are some photos I snapped earlier today:

The Whist Restaurant.

Lobby seating area.

One of the poolside cabanas outside.

The ceiling view from our seats at the bar.

The ladies room, which felt like the most adventurous spot I saw (not a good thing).

Top image: Vogue October 2009, Second and third images: Design Crisis

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