A historic 1933 Art Deco hotel with an aquamarine exterior, The Georgian Hotel has been an Ocean Avenue fixture in Santa Monica for decades, but was seemingly fading from its Hollywood heyday, when guests included Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, and Bugsy Siegel.
Hoteliers Jon Blanchard and Nicolo Rusconi of BLVD Hospitality, in partnership with ESI Ventures, have completely revamped the iconic hotel, along with leading U.K.-U.S. design firm Fettle. For Tom Parker, Fettle’s co-founder and creative director, preserving the storied building through the artwork was key. He says they were “hinting at the intricate history of the building through the fabric and finishes schemes as well as through the artwork, which gives the spaces an innate sense of nostalgia and escapism.”
Passing through the veranda to the lobby bar and Wes Anderson–inspired reception area (complete with old-school bellhop uniforms), guests can explore The Georgian’s Gallery 33. The contemporary space was a former meeting and conference room redesigned to showcase cultural events along with the works of local and internationally renowned artists through a series of rotating pop-ups.
The space can also be used for private events and dinner parties. “We wanted to activate the space daily to showcase the culture and creativity of The Georgian community,” says Blanchard. “We were also inspired by the original proprietress of the hotel, Rosamond Borde, who had a gallery in The Windermere next door to The Georgian in the early 20th century,” adds Rusconi.
The adjacent Writer’s Room library offers a private refuge, featuring a black-and-white Hugo Guinness art collection, and books curated by Lee Kaplan of Culver City’s Arcana: Books on the Arts. Modern best-sellers and vintage classics are an ode to the history of art and culture in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
The opening exhibit at Gallery 33 was hosted by Sharon Stone in celebration of Women’s History Month in March. Stone’s 17 paintings range from pensive figures to energized abstractions and meditative landscapes. The actress even gifted a large piece to the hotel for the lobby that will remain as a permanent fixture for guests to view when they check in to the 84-room hotel or head to the speakeasy-style basement restaurant and piano bar, which is worthy of creating a new legacy.