Hollywood is mourning after news broke late last week that a beloved Hollywood landmark ceased operation after more than two decades. The Standard Hotel in Hollywood announced Friday that it was closing its doors permanently after they failed to reach a favorable agreement regarding the lease of the building, and the celebrity-backed hotel shuttered after 22 years. Its sister property, The Standard in Downtown L.A. also permanently closed on the same day after 18 years in business. Hotels in Miami, Maldives and New York remain open.
Rumors have begun to swirl in hospitality circles over who will acquire the prime property as several groups are apparently vying for the address.
History of The Standard Hotel
Although The Standard hasn’t been around as long as many other beloved Hollywood landmarks, it has left its mark in many ways. The hip place to be for young Hollywood for over two decades, The Standard Hotel has been privy to some wild celebrity sightings and was even financed by some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Founded in 1999, the Hollywood Standard was the first of six boutique hotels in the chain. The Standard opened in what was once the Thunderbird Motel, then briefly became a retirement home. Hollywood giants Leonardo DiCaprio, Benicio del Toro, Cameron Diaz, D’arcy Wretzky and James Iha were among the high profile investors that got on board to open The Standard as the hot spot it would later become. For the past 22 years, The Standard Hollywood and its accompanying lounges like Mmhmmm and Giorgio’s have been the place to be for young Hollywood looking to connect with fellow stars, and for those seeking to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite.
DJ Adam 12 [Adam Bravin], along with event producer Bryan Rabin, crafted the super exclusive Giorgio’s disco party—named from genre pioneer Giorgio Moroder—at the Standard in 2013, one of its most legendary legacies.
“The way Bryan approached how we kicked it off was let’s invite all of our friends and let’s just make it about the music. It was about who’s going to bring something beautiful to the room. And that could be the way they dress, it could be the way they dance, it could be their energy in some way, they need to bring something beautiful, to the room. And so it was just this great combination. You know, rich and poor, straight and gay, black and white. Every shape and size. It didn’t matter, none of that mattered. It was like a gumbo, you know, and stir it up. It was a slow build. A few of his friends who were journalists and writers came in, and they wrote about it. Photographers came, they started bringing their friends, a couple celebs came, they brought their friends, some dancers came and brought their friends. And then our friends came, they brought their friends, and it was just this like, small room that exploded. And no one was on their phone. Everybody would come in and talk to each other and really just focus on dancing and having the time. We had this unwritten rule, like, no phones. You couldn’t take pictures in there, which would also force people to put their phone away and do what we grew up doing, which was, dance and talk and flirt and have fun. It was a really, really special combination of things that happened. And that doesn’t happen very often.”
Visit West Hollywood describes the hotel’s unique decor and amenities; “A modern lobby gives way to a bright pop of color in the adjoining Cactus Lounge where cocktails can be enjoyed in a space that conjures desert vibes. The hotel’s restaurant, Croft Alley, serves an all-day menu with an emphasis on local ingredients from Chef Phuong Tran. Some menu options: an acai bowl or shakshuka for breakfast, a cauliflower grilled cheese or burrata salad for lunch, and Scottish salmon or chicken schnitzel for dinner. Feel free to go off-schedule, too; Croft Alley is open 24/7.”
Within its signature blue astro-turf pool deck and, “secret” club, guests at the hotel could at any moment expect to see someone famous stroll through the doors.
What Made The Standard Such a Hot Spot?
Since news broke of The Standard’s closing, Hollywood has been fondly reminiscing on the hotel’s place in their history.
Vanity Fair‘s Chris Black explains the charm and appeal of The Standard; “The property has been featured many times in films and TV shows like Sex and the City (season three’s ‘Escape From New York’ and ‘Sex and Another City’); Ocean’s Twelve; and Entourage (season three’s ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’). The women of Sex and the City choosing it for their trip was a testament to how iconic it was, even then. Carrie Bradshaw sashaying through the lobby smoking a cigarette is burned into my brain forever.
Like any hotel birthed on the eve of Y2K, the property, its blue carpets, shockingly low ceilings, platform beds, orange tiled showers, and strange silver bean bags needed an update. Luckily, it never got one. That is why I continued to stay there even after I could afford the other legendary and more upmarket hotels on the block, Chateau Marmont and Sunset Tower. The Standard, Hollywood, was a warm hug; it reminded me of my youth, of having 15 people crammed into a tiny hotel room doing drugs until the wee hours, of being hungover. There weren’t iPads, acoustic guitars, or record players in the rooms, just a classic minibar, a landline, a small selection of magazines, and an ashtray. It was charming, lo-fi, and unfussy.”
Others share similarly intimate stories of their experiences with the hotel.
Announcement About Closing Their Doors
The Standard made the announcement about their plans to close on Instagram on Friday, January 22. The announcement reads, “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the closure of The Standard, Hollywood, which will shut its doors indefinitely on Friday, January 22. Despite 22 years of unconditional love for our hotel, our guests, our team and our community, the hotel was unable to prevent a significant increase to its lease, which makes operating the property impossible.
Alive with personality and personalities, and the backdrop of countless legendary tales, Hollywood was the birthplace of The Standard’s culture. It came to life through its timeless design, live music performances at Desert Nights, blue Astroturf pool scene, living art in ‘The Box,’ and the many late, hazy nights at our nightclub incarnations: Purple Lounge, Mmhmmm and Giorgio’s. While there are and will be more Standard hotels, there will never be another Standard, Hollywood. And though it is painful to say goodbye, we know that the community we inspired will live on.
To help us bid a fond farewell, please post your favorite Hollywood memories in the comments below, and DM us photos of your time there. We’ll compile everything into a digital scrapbook to enjoy whenever you could use a little California sunshine. Thank you for everything. We are eternally grateful.“
Although they did not go into detail about why such a successful location would close over something as seemingly minor as a rent increase, the past year has been a trying time for the hospitality industry. With COVID-19 grinding travel to a halt in many places, hotels have been making staff and amenity cuts to try to slow the financial hemorrhage of 2020. A rent increase during such a vulnerable time could be enough to spell the doom of many hotels—although it’s safe to say that most people assumed the Standard would not be one such.
What Hotel Will Be the Next Standard?
With the void left behind by The Standard, it’s hard to guess which locale will be the new hot spot to see and be seen. There’s no shortage of famous hotels and landmark locations for stars to rub elbows in Hollywood, but it was The Standard’s relatable charm that made it unique. With 22 years of fame and beloved memories, it will be an uphill battle for any hotel to step into the big shoes The Standard is leaving behind.