Thanks to a vibrant arts scene, incredible food, world-class shops, and unbeatable weather, Los Angeles is a stellar destination (complete with star sightings, of course). We’ve been California dreaming lately, so when L.A.-based interior designer Schuyler Samperton offered to divulge where to eat, shop, and recharge during a West Hollywood-centric stay, we jumped at the chance to experience the area through her insider’s eye. The daughter of an award-winning architect—and aunt to The Scout Guide Washington, D.C. Editor Shelby Samperton—Schuyler trained under White House decorator Michael S. Smith, and her work is regularly featured in publications such as Vogue, Architectural Digest, and ELLE Decor, so naturally we asked her to go heavy on the design-minded recommendations.
WHERE TO STAY
Sunset Tower Hotel (8358 Sunset Boulevard). Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Howard Hughes were among some of the famous residents who once called this Art Deco landmark home. Now the hotel is known as the ultimate hang for today’s powerful set, and the Tower Bar is by far the most glamorous and romantic spot in LA.
Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Boulevard). Hidden in the hills, mere steps away from the bustle of the Sunset Strip, this magnificent castle has quite an illustrious history. The decadent and louche feel right at home here slithering among the hidden bungalows and lush gardens, and the charming outdoor dining area makes you feel like you’ve landed in paradise.
WHERE TO EAT
Crossroads Kitchen (8284 Melrose Avenue). Chef Tal Ronnen opened this vegan restaurant in 2014 and it’s been popular with health-conscious Angelenos ever since. Sure, it’s got a killer kale Caesar, but the risotto and desserts are the best I’ve ever tasted and the vibe is more modern glam than mildewed hippie. Peach upside cake? Yes, please!
Alfred’s Tea Room (705 N Alfred Street). True confession: I’m not a big fan of tea, but I hear their selection of flavored brews and boba is stellar. I personally visit Alfred’s for the cookies—especially the decadent chocolate chip and the out-of-this-world butterscotch. This tiny, pink-tiled gem is beyond charming, and it’s the perfect spot to refuel during a LaCienega Boulevard shopping spree.
Gracias Madre (8905 Melrose Avenue). Serape-covered banquettes, bold tile, wicker, and colorful textile pillows set the stage in this gorgeous space designed by designer Wendy Haworth. Specializing in Mexican cuisine, this heavenly eatery uses only locally-grown ingredients to create their vegan delicacies. Fans rave about the flautas and the margaritas mixed with organic agave.
WHERE TO SHOP
Hollywood at Home (703 N La Cienega Boulevard). It’s always a treat to visit this cheerful shop that was created by the multi-talented textile and interior designer Peter Dunham. With its blend of vintage and reproduction pieces, Hollywood at Home is my “go to” source, plus they carry some of my favorite fabric lines, including Lisa Fine, Carolina Irving, and Zak & Fox.
élu (8575 Melrose Avenue). I live in my boots and leather jackets from Henry Beguelin—one of the best brands carried by this ultra-cool boutique. Carolyn Roumeguere’s exotic jewelry is the perfect companion to this store’s collection of organic yet modern clothes. Tip: load on as much as you dare! I adore an armful of their leather and silver bracelets.
Maxfield (8825 Melrose Avenue). I first visited this world-renowned institution when I moved to L.A. in 1988, and it blew my mind. As their website states, it’s part museum, part gallery, and part boutique. Genius Tommy Perse created this first “concept store” to feature the best of the best in avant-garde fashion. I go there for the exquisite bohemian dresses by Royal Crack and Vita Kin.
Pat McGann Gallery (746 N La Cienega Boulevard). Textile connoisseur Pat McGann travels the world to find the one-of-a-kind treasures that fill her airy shop. I believe that the perfect piece of fabric can make a room, so this is my “candy store,” and I regularly swoon over her glorious stacks of susanis, pillows, and throws from India, Morocco, and Europe.
Paul Smith (8221 Melrose Avenue). Mega-groovy, rock star designer Paul Smith has loaded his Melrose Avenue store with a deftly curated selection of books and posters, as well as his tasteful yet edgy clothes for men, women, and children. Note: the parking lot happens to be the most happening place to take an Instagram photo. Tourists from as far as Japan have used his famous bubblegum pink wall as the backdrop for the ultimate SoCal selfie.
RTH (537 N La Cienega Boulevard). The brilliant imagination of Rene Holguin is on display in this inspirational shop that features earthy ceramics, vintage posters, boxes of the most intoxicating incense, jewelry, and his own line of clothing. Designed to be “an inspiration board come to life,” a visit to this amazing store is always a treat.
Lee Stanton (769 N La Cienega Boulevard). European and British antiques from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries comingle in this incredibly elegant shop that feels like you’ve wandered into the chic apartment of a sophisticated globe trotter. Gravitas is in abundance here, and each piece is more beautiful than the next. Looking for the perfectly distressed leather arm chair, stately landscape, or architectural model? Your search ends here!
Amadi Carpets (359 N Robertson Boulevard). Known for their stunning color combinations and whimsical patterns, this family-owned business has been making breathtaking carpets for three generations. They have something for everyone, and their design selection ranges from bold painterly abstracts to soft-hued geometrics and even psychedelic dragons. A major thumbs-up to this company, which also gives back through their impressive program that employs Afghani women while teaching them how to read and write.
WHERE TO REJUVENATE
Face Place (8701 Santa Monica Boulevard). If you want fresh, dewy, glowing skin (and who doesn’t?!), visit the Face Place for the ultimate rejuvenating facial. Tony is the man to see, and unlike some treatments that make you want to go undercover for a few days, you’ll leave looking ready for your close-up. I wish I could tell you about all the celebs that go here, but….
Photos of Lee Stanton courtesy of Lee Stanton Antiques. All other photography by Schuyler Samperton, Savannah Summers, and Jenna Weiss.
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