A First Look Inside NoMad Los Angeles
The NoMad name may have New York roots—it’s shorthand for North of Madison Square Park—but the new NoMad Los Angeles is more than a West Coast outpost of the boutique Manhattan hotel. The 241-room property, which opened in January, has a swank, 1920s neo-Classical atmosphere that’s straight out of old Hollywood, writer David Hochman reports.
Originally the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, the gold and blue Italianate lobby has been fully restored, along with the rest of the building, by French architect Jacques Garcia. With elegant coffered ceilings, indoor potted palms and walls of purple velvet and gold, the sprawling space says as much about L.A.’s current heyday as a culinary, culture and tech capital as it does about days of yore. One glance around the NoMad says it all: These are boom times in Los Angeles.
Much of the hotel’s buzz revolves around Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad New York) 110-seat restaurant, Mezzanine, featuring modern classics from NoMad New York’s menu, including roast chicken for two, along with Cal-chic options such as a seafood platter with Dungeness crab, scallops and Santa Barbara uni. This is Humm and Guidara’s first restaurant venture outside New York.
A mirrored coffee bar on the lobby level is modeled after the 300-year-old Caffe Florian in Venice, Italy. The Library is for those who enjoy their craft cocktails under the steely gaze of taxidermied birds (the handiwork of downtown LA taxidermist Allis Markham), while the Lobby restaurant is an all-day dining spot with throwback menu items like a Cobb Salad. There are private dining spaces as well, and a rooftop bar set to open this spring.
Garcia’s 241 rooms (which begin at around $320 a night) include 31 suites with custom-designed furnishings and Bellino linens, original art, and, in some rooms, freestanding pedestal bathtubs. The 1,250-square-foot RWB suite features a spacious king bedroom, a large living and dining room, a pantry and a master bath with a walk-in shower and Terrazzo floors. Even the starter-level rooms have marble writing desks and original art. And should guests ever want to leave, the NoMad is walking distance from the Staples Center and L.A. Live, the Arts District, Fashion District, Flower District, and Gallery Row.
The World of a Five-Star Hotel Cat
If you think it’s good to be a guest at a five-star hotel, imagine how great it is to be the resident cat. Consider the life of Fa-Raon, a white Birman with bright blue eyes, who calls Le Bristol in Paris home. In addition to having his own apartment, Fa-Raon (below) has access to a three-Michelin-starred restaurant to indulge his cat fancies, a salon for his grooming needs, and a grand hotel garden to prowl.
Mostly, though, he is a head-turning presence at the concierge’s desk. Beloved by the fashion set, on a recent birthday, the venerable French accessories designer Goyard presented him with his own collar and dining bowls, while Christofle provided a specially engraved name tag.
South Africa also has a proud heritage of hotel cats. At the Oyster Box in Durban, Skabenga (which means “hooligan” in Zulu) is a hotel cat veteran. This imposing tabby (top) was originally a stray and moved in more than 12 years ago.
Hazlitt’s, the eccentric hotel in London’s Soho, has Sir Godfrey. The ginger-and-white tom, who swapped Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for the hotel’s 18th-century townhouse, has brought plenty of his charm to add to the hotel’s own. “He used to live with a load of students,” says Agnieszka Ashworth of Hazlitt’s, “so he was used to people, and he’s now worshipped on a daily basis.”
And arguably the most venerable line of hotel cats belongs to the Algonquin in New York. There’s been a resident cat at this classic Midtown hotel since 1923, when Billy arrived off the street to see out the Great Depression in feline splendor. Since then, seven Hamlets (named after former hotel habitué John Barrymore’s most famous role) and three Matildas have padded through the Algonquin’s corridors. The newest Hamlet (above) arrived last year from a shelter and took to his new grand lifestyle in a New York minute.
Style influencer Amber Venz Box has worked on all sides of the fashion industry — as an editorial stylist, a fit model, a retail buyer, a jewelry designer, a blogger and more. In 2011, at the age of 23, she conceptualized and launched rewardStyle—a platform for fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencers — as a solution to monetize her fashion blog. It blew up: By 2016, rewardStyle was generating more than $1 billion in sales through a network of 20,000 influencers. Laura Begley Bloom caught up with the jet-setting entrepreneur to get her essential packing tips:
1. Pack by look. “I pre-plan every look for the trip from head to toe, laying out each outfit with jewelry, bag, shoes and any other accessories,” Amber Venz Box says. “By planning, I avoid weighing my bag down with extra garments and ensure that I have appropriate attire for each meeting and event.”
2. Be strategic with shoes. “For trips that are five days or less, I try to pack only two to three pairs of shoes. I typically choose black heels or boots and then black flats.”
3. Aim for a carry-on. “I always challenge myself to pack within the confines of a carry-on bag. Don’t waste your time at the baggage carousel or risk the airline misplacing your bag. I went to China for a week with just a carry-on roller and a tote bag!”
4. Keep the expensive stuff in your carry-on. “If you must check a bag, keep your most expensive items (luxury handbags, laptop) in your carry-on.”
5. Carry the most important outfit with you. “Last summer, I went to a wedding in Italy and I packed my rehearsal dinner dress and wedding night dress in a carry-on. If my bag got lost, at least I would be prepared for these black-tie events.”
6. Bring your own conditioner. “Hotel conditioner is never good enough and just because you are on the road does not mean you need to settle for a bad hair day.”
7. Invest in nice travel bags. “Especially if you are a frequent traveler, invest in a nice suitcase. Pushing a rolling bag that glides is a luxury worth investing in (I love Rimowa). You never know when you will have to bring your bags along to a client meeting, and showing up to an office with a tattered bag is an embarrassment that you can avoid.”
8. Wear the heaviest/bulkiest garments. “It is much easier to wear heavy boots or a bulky coat than it is to carry them.”
9. Only pack one coat. “Coats take up too much space in your bag, so if at all possible, build all of your outfits around a single coat.”
10. Bring gifts. “Whether you are going on a work trip or traveling to a friend’s home, pack small but desirable gifts. Hostess gifts are a mannerly gesture and client gifts show thoughtfulness and help to build the relationship.”
Briggs & Riley’s Charitable Luggage Trade-In Program Carries On
When you’re ready to upgrade your luggage, why not give back at the same time? For its fourth annual charity trade-in event, Briggs & Riley’s “A Case for Giving” program provides customers with an opportunity to donate gently used luggage to those in need.
The philanthropic endeavor benefits more than 100 charity partners in the United States, Canada and the U.K. such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, local foster homes, women’s shelters, and coalitions for the homeless. All you have to do is visit a participating Briggs & Riley store during the month of February and drop off a gently used rolling bag. In exchange for your contribution you’ll receive a $100 credit toward a new Briggs & Riley bag if donating one of the luggage label’s suitcases or $50 credit for donating another brand’s bag. So get rolling.