Once upon a time I danced to Metal Skool at Key Club and snogged in the rain- bow bar & Grill. But things have changed. The hotels on the strip are swankier, the dining options more nouvelle, and I’m no longer 20 years old. On the way to my villa at the sunset marquis, whose decor is pleasing in that West Elm kind of way, I take note of the footpaths under arches of plants and twinkling lights. no grunge here. In fact, all guests must sign a “no party agreement” limiting the number of occupants and amount of booze in each room. Though historically less raucous than the neighboring “Riot Hyatt” (now the Andaz), this place has turned down the sheets for everyone from the rolling stones to George Clooney. After a brief sit-down on my bamboo-shrouded balcony, I set out to catch the sunset from the rooftop skybar at the nearby Mondrian hotel. Then, hungry, I forgo the tourist traps and walk to Eveleigh, a first-rate restaurant with a patio that attracts mop-topped musicians and bony models. They don’t eat, but I do, digging into a small-plate parade of crudo, bone marrow, shishito peppers, and cheese and charcuterie. I shun the heavy metal at Whisky A Go Go in favor of the viper room, which typically hosts undiscovered acts in a variety of genres. Back at the marquis, I head to one of four watering holes—bar 1200—for a final tipple (hotel guests get a free cocktail). Sipping my mescal and tequila with muddled jalapeño and lime, I squint and try to imagine Drew Barrymore showing up (she was a regular when she was engaged to the strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti).
Sleeping late is so rock and roll. So is skipping breakfast. Once vertical, I stroll to Sunset plaza, where pricey boutiques for ladies (nicole Miller, Calypso, Calleen Cordero) and men (Hugo Boss, Sarar, H. Lorenzo) nestle beside more affordable shops like BCBG and H&M. I splurge on shades at Oliver peoples, figuring that on the Strip, a girl can’t have too many pairs. Preparing for a big night out, I plop down at Drybar for a $35 blowout and a $10 scalp massage. Then a stop next door at Blushington, where a makeup pro puts on my face ($40). I eat light at Night + Market, which specializes in Thai street food, then duck into the Comedy Store, where the Main room showcases headliners such as Marc Maron, dave Chapelle, and Louis C.K. every Saturday night. Hoarse from laughing, I take a cab to Bar Marmont for dessert and a nightcap. The bartender suggests the “Welcome to Hollywood” cake, and when the slice arrives (on a mirrored plate with illicit-looking lines of powdered sugar and a marzipan straw), it succinctly captures the new Strip’s vibe. next morning I hit the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues to wash away all that decadence.
WHERE TO SLEEP
SUNSET MARQUIS, $270-$6,000
WHAT TO BRING
BLACK LEATHER, EXCEDRIN
AVERAGE MARCH TEMP
HIGH 64 ̊/LOW 52 ̊
This feature originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Los Angeles magazine