I visit Venice, California several times a year, as my son and his family live out there. It has become quite a hot spot over the last years, with many of the old cottages along the canals and the walk streets being turned into mid-century modern palaces. You might even remember that I wrote a post about a fabulous house in Venice designed by the architect, Daniel Monti (see post) , which I am madly in love with.
The whole town has been turned topsy turvy with new stores and restaurants and just a general re-gentrification of a place that had been flying under the radar since it’s decline in the 1970’s to a surfer and skateboard heaven. Not that all of that alter-culture nature of Venice has disappeared. Walk along the beach and you will see many examples of establishments still catering to the ‘wilder side’ of Venice and many colorful characters selling their wares or simply hanging out in the glorious sunshine ambivalent to the changes taking place around them.
Nothing stays the same, no matter where you live. Some changes are for the better…some for the worse. In this case the upgrading of life in general in Venice is for the better, but it hasn’t totally eradicated that edginess that made Venice so famous for dropouts and people seeking another way to travel through life.
Enter The Rose, a wonderful new hotel developed by the famous fashion photographer, Glen Luchford. Luchford is noted for his dark and edgy photographs of innumerable models and celebrities…think Kate Moss and Dennis Hopper. Originally from Great Britain, Luchford has always been drawn to what he calls “…(the) gritty, realist element…” of Venice. Now he has decided to make Venice more of a part time home and to recognize a dream he has had for quite a long time.
The original building which is now the home of The Rose, was built by Abbot Kinney, in 1905. Kinney had a reputation for being somewhat eccentric and it was his dream of recreating a “Venice” on the beach in California that led to the creation of the well known canals and the Amusement Park on the pier. In it’s hey day, Venice was known as “The Coney Island of California” and became a huge destination for people seeking the enjoyment of the beach and the entertainment provided by the various establishments along the ocean walkway.
The building has had several reincarnations over the last century, the last of which being a hostel known as the “15 Rose Avenue Travelers House.” The place was in beyond general decline and Luchford and his friend and business associate, Doug Bruce, rescued the turn-of-the-centruy Arts and Crafts style building and turned it into a chic design haven. The ultimate goal was to provide a destination for discerning travelers who appreciate a ‘rough-aesthetic’ and would enjoy the authentic nature of the surrounding neighborhood.
The entire place has been overhauled and refitted with new bathrooms, fireplaces and even kitchens in some suites. Many of the furnishings were purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. The result is a casual elegance, very reminiscent of relaxed California style, with just the right amount of eclectic thrown in. Plus, you are treated to Luchford’s marvelous photographs, which line the walls throughout.
The Rose offers an chic alternative to staying at the beach in Venice and probably will become a hot ticket for Luchford’s cronies of stylists, photographers, models and the like. So, if you are heading out west to the Los Angeles area and want to beat the crowds and stay someplace on the cutting edge, I suggest you head on over to The Rose. Who knows, it might be something you will brag about in the future when the hotel becomes a hot spot for the stylish and famous!
Ciao, ciao ’til next time!