Shine with stars in West Hollywood

Tom Kiely

West Hollywood is the destination for stars to get red carpet ready. Whether it be through innovative exercise gyms or wellness spas for the perfect red carpet facial glow, visitors are welcomed year-round to experience West Hollywood’s pioneering facilities to receive the same treatment alongside the stars.

We talk to Tom Kiely, President/CEO of the West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board, about the latest news from ‘the heart of Los Angeles’.

“Our West Hollywood lineup for awards season is stacking up to be the most star-studded in years. (January: Emmy Awards; February: Grammy Awards; March: Academy Awards).

“Exclusivity is a hallmark of West Hollywood. With the introduction of Hwood Group’s Bird Streets Club (opened 2022) and the Britley, located inside the Pendry West Hollywood (opened Spring 2021), these amenities complement the existing San Vicente Bungalows and Soho House, where membership grants access to party like the stars, including Harry and Meghan, Justin Bieber, Drake and Leonardo DiCaprio.\

When travellers are in West Hollywood, there is a sense of retreat and walled gardens that make the city such a revitalizing haven to enjoy privacy for wellness or nightlife
– Tom Kiely

“Since the pandemic, a shift in culinary culture has swept West Hollywood - a renaissance of plant-based diets in the Design District (Gracias Madre, Butcher’s Daughter, Zinc). West Hollywood media darlings, Casa Madera (located inside the Mondrian Los Angeles), serves up Mediterranean dishes since 2023, and new openings of a floral sanctuary serving French and Mediterranean at Arden Restaurant or the first restaurant of Top Chef Middle East & North Africa winner, Chef Charbel Hayek, serving modern Eastern Mediterranean dishes with Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails.”

Louis Vuitton joins West Hollywood’s Design District lineup in 2024, alongside the recently opened Ulla Johnson women’s boutique for elegant ruffled dresses. Kim Kardashian is slated to open her first brick and mortar for Skims, her shapewear line, in 2024 on Sunset Boulevard, a neighbourhood that already launched a Supreme store in February 2023. These shops decorate West Hollywood essential shops like Maxfield’s, H Lorenzo (now with three West Hollywood outposts).

“The first new music video for the Rolling Stones in 18-years was filmed exclusively on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, complimenting the city’s legacy of rock ‘n roll. A haven for musicians is the famed Sunset Marquis hotel, which celebrates 60 years of business in 2023 while music venues The Roxy Theatre and the Whisky A Go Go are celebrating 50 and 60 years of business, respectively. The West Hollywood Design District celebrates 75 years in 2024 when the city of West Hollywood will mark its 40th anniversary. Also in 2024, famed restaurant Dan Tana’s will celebrate its 60th anniversary. While West Hollywood celebrates the forefront of creativity and pioneering innovation, recognition is also given to the area’s long legacy and track record of success.”

The Middle East remains a strong market for West Hollywood tourism. “Our 20 hotel properties enjoy visitation and have catered to the Middle East traveller for years, from multiple-bedroom suites at The London West Hollywood (made over in 2017; a forthcoming total floor-by-floor remodel), the West Hollywood EDITION (opened October 2020) or the Pendry West Hollywood (opened April 2021).”

California, as a whole, predicted visitation from the Middle East recovered only about 88 per cent in 2023 from pre-pandemic levels. West Hollywood analytics from Tourism Economics predict similar numbers through 2024. While improving, the visa process has presented a barrier for visitation. As air service returns, California tourism notes over 70 per cent of those visitors preferred the Los Angeles area, of which marketing efforts drive home the message that “West Hollywood is the heart of LA.”

New West Hollywood projects are proposed, indicating a trend towards experiential travel, Kiely tells us. The Las Vegas Sphere caused a media stir in 2023, and West Hollywood’s planning commission reviewed a plan to create a smaller, three-level structure for Sunset Boulevard. New, multi-use shopping complexes are planned to be scattered throughout West Hollywood in the coming years, including The Now (Sunset and La Cienega).

“These new structures take advantage of the rooftop views and greenspace elements that West Hollywood has long been known for. When travellers are in West Hollywood, there is a sense of retreat and walled gardens that make the city such a revitalizing haven to enjoy privacy for wellness or nightlife,” he says.