David Bowd, 52, the seasoned hotelier who worked with Andre Balaza behind London’s Chiltern Firehouse, New York’s Mercer, and Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont is planning his own project with Salt Hotels.
Bowd’s newest endeavor is a 95,000-square foot on Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, sat right across the street from Capitol Records—the home of artists such as ABBA and Katy Perry. The more than $4 million hotel, titled Aster, will house 35 hotel rooms, an array of lobbies and lounges, a rooftop restaurant, a pool with a view of the city’s staple Hollywood sign, and recording studio—just like their neighborly cousin across the intersection.
Bowd told Bloomberg that the new hotel will lightly be a membership-based project, but that “there really isn’t criteria for becoming a member.” He added that it seeks to be progressive in its program, as “it’s not about likeminded creative individuals. It’s a melting pot of people from different backgrounds—and this is how we feel about the membership clubs of the future.”
The hotel, named after the purple flowers that pop up on California’s hills during the summer, poses as a rebuttal to the city’s various exclusive clubs such as Soho House, which screen prospective members on platforms ranging from social media to dating apps, Bowd said.
His position is firmly against practices like those of Soho House, who outline etiquette to guests on their arrival—no cell phones, laptops, other electronics, or conversation in specific areas. As he notes, “We don’t have rules… we don’t even have check-in times.”
The Aster comes at a pivotal period in the timeline of the hospitality industry, as COVID posed itself as a significant threat since it began in 2020. About one-third of restaurants closed their doors last year alone, and 456,570 hotel industry-supporting jobs were lost, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Employment Development Department.
This, along with supply chain delays, has resulted in Bowd and his partner, Kevin O’Shea, 40, having to evolve their plans with the ever-changing environment of the business.
However, Bowd’s plans to open the Aster in June despite the drawbacks. “It’s kind of a moving target,” he said. “It requires a lot of flexibility, but we have a very clear vision.”
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