For her latest project, Kelly Wearstler, internationally recognised founder and principal of Kelly Wearstler design studio, has channelled her signature style into shaping the interiors of the new Downtown LA Proper Hotel. Set in a reimagined California Renaissance Revival building in the heart of Downtown’s South Park District, adjacent to the Fashion District, the 148-room hotel showcases a design that blends vintage elements from the property’s historic roots with modern influences, forging a lively hub for local creatives.
“Our Proper Hospitality team is deeply inspired by the pulse of this distinct and historic pocket of Downtown LA that speaks to our hometown’s past and future,” says Brian De Lowe, co-founder and president of Proper Hospitality. “We’re excited to be part of the renaissance taking place within the Broadway Corridor with partners who share our vision of creating a vibrant and welcoming hospitality experience that reflects the surrounding culture and community.”
Downtown LA Proper Hotel by Kelly Wearstler design studio
Constructed by iconic Los Angeles architects Curlett & Beelman in the 1920s, the property was initially a private club whose members included luminaries such as Cecil B. DeMille, and was subsequently a YWCA in the 1960s. The Kor Group, the LA-based real estate developer led by Proper Hospitality, and Kelly have reimagined this storied history with a modern palette, drawing inspiration from Downtown LA to layer vestiges from the 1920s with elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and Moroccan design.
In addition to vintage furniture and rugs, Kelly and her team haas employed more than 100 different kinds of hand-painted and custom tiles throughout the property, while site-specific murals and installations by local talents (such as stained glass by Judson Studios and ceramic works from Morgan Peck) bring further dimension to the public spaces.
“It was incredible working with the Proper Hospitality team to transform such an iconic and historic building in Downtown LA,” Kelly says. “The design of the hotel was greatly inspired by the community — early California, Spanish missions and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner building across the street. The building is also a Historic-Cultural Monument, so we maintained some of the original integrity and fabric, like the window casing and brickwork, while elevating it with contemporary jewel tones, patterns and plasterwork.”
Deeply residential in feel, each of the rooms and suites is a canvas for curated pieces and specially designed furnishings with charcoal and mauve tones lending depth and warmth. Nodding to its former life as a YWCA, stand-out features of the hotel include the sizeable Proper Basketball Court and Proper Pool suite featuring a full-sized indoor swimming pool, accented by a ceramic mural by local artist Ben Medansky. Signature Proper comforts and in-room amenities include Fili D’oro Fine Linens, Aesop bath amenities, Kelly Wearstler x Parachute Home robes.
Celebrated chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne have joined the party to bring the culinary program to life in three distinct spaces. Lobby level restaurant and bar, Caldo Verde, is a focal point within the hotel and neighbourhood at-large, showcasing Suzanne and Caroline’s nuanced and warm approach to hospitality. Open for three meals a day, the restaurant draws inspiration from Portuguese and Spanish influences, while finding expression through the lens of Southern California.
In the weeks following the opening of the hotel, Cara Cara, the restaurant and lounge located on the rooftop, with sweeping and unobstructed city views, debuted with a menu similarly grounded in multicultural inspirations including Mexican flavours. Crafted to complement the unrivalled rooftop and poolside experience, dishes include local seafood aquachile, seasonal focaccia from the wood-fired oven and tacos. Later in the summer, Suzanne and Caroline will introduce Dalia, an intimate ground level classic cocktail lounge and bar showcasing small-batch spirits in refined presentations.
The design of the hotel was greatly inspired by the community — early California, Spanish missions and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner building across the street.