Review: Soho Warehouse Is the Ultimate LA Staycation or Out-of-Towner Indulgence
At seven stories and nearly 80,000 square feet, it's the largest North American Soho House to date
In the decade since Soho House came to California, the elite members-only club has practically become a Hollywood institution. The initial, flagship location in West Hollywood is one of the U.K.-based hospitality company’s most prestigious outposts, and a second more remote Malibu site has rounded out the club’s presence on L.A.’s more remote west side. In September of this year, a third, vast space, Soho Warehouse, opened in the quickly-emerging downtown Arts District, officially staking claim on the east side of the city as well. The company’s presence downtown joins other creative giants like Spotify and Warner Music Group, who have both recently relocated their headquarters to the area, contributing to what some are calling a renaissance of the once influential neighborhood.
At seven stories, Soho Warehouse is the largest Soho House in North America, and the first location on the west coast to offer bedrooms — aka a hotel component — open to members, but also to their guests, conferring temporary membership into the house on visitors while they’re staying at the hotel. So while there is plenty of competition when it comes to lodging downtown — including early adopters like the Ace Hotel, a relatively new addition in The Freehand, and revamped, historical institutions like Hotel Figueroa — none of them boast the cache of hanging out at Soho House itself.
With a rooftop pool and jaw-dropping views of L.A.’s hazy downtown skyline, as well as a split-level gym complete with sauna and steam rooms, three restaurants, and the club space itself, Soho Warehouse is either the ultimate staycation, or the ideal home base for visitors to indulge in the best of the city. During my recent stay to review the hotel’s amenities, it functioned perfectly as the former, offering a look into the lifestyle of L.A.’s wealthy creative class and a feel for what will soon be the city’s new “it” neighborhood. Below is a point-by-point rundown of my recent stay.
The plush rooms boast the same chic design as the social club spaces with a minimalist, ‘70s aesthetic
Soho Warehouse offers 48 bedrooms of varying sizes across three floors, cosy (studio), small, medium, big and large — the large also includes a kitchenette and six-person dining table, the ideal setup for those interested in extended stays. I won’t be living at Soho Warehouse any time soon, and was perfectly content staying in a “small” bedroom for the weekend, a room that still registered as massive in my mind, with a king bed, small dining area, flat screen TV, enormous vanity/bar area and spacious bathroom. My one quibble would be that guests need to pop up one level to the medium sized room to get a tub, but since there’s a private pool on the roof, and a steam room down in the gym, this is a trivial complaint. A late December weekend meant my stay fell right in the middle of holiday party season, so I had events to head out to both nights. But the room was so inviting I left both of them early to come back and cozy up in the room, which is designed like an artist’s loft with high ceilings, ‘70s-inspired furniture, and lots of wood and velvet that make it the epitome of modern elegance. Rooms start at $195 a night and run all the way up to $690 for the largest size.
Every single imaginable amenity is accounted for
Never have I ever stayed at a hotel with this many bathroom products, tools, and accessories included. Most of the products were Cowshed, the British spa line used across properties within the houses. Aside from the fluffiest robes on the planet, which are designed by the Italian textiles company Frette using 100 percent recycled polyester, natch (and available for purchase here if you’re interested), there was a Harry’s razor, shower loofahs, multiple full-size options for shampoo, conditioner, and body scrubs, facial toner, deodorant, mini toothpaste and a pair of biodegradable wooden toothbrushes, face wash, lotion, condoms, tampons, lip balm, a hair straightener, body oil — the list goes on.
Basically, if you unexpectedly had to stay at the Soho House overnight — whether that be for business or for pleasure — you would want for nothing. The extensive mini bar is the same way, as is a full, formal china tea set that even includes a cookie jar with fresh, soft chocolate cookies (as a treat), and a Nespresso machine. Two separate fancy bluetooth speakers, presenting as old school amps, delighted the indulgent music journalist in me, and I’d be remiss not to mention fresh citrus in the room for personal bartending, fine glassware, and enormous mirrors in various pleasing shapes that gave the room an even lighter, bigger feel.
The hospitality was next-level, because of course it was
Why was I surprised when a drinks cart came around the hotel between 5-7 PM each night with a well-mannered bartender offering me a complimentary cocktail to kick off my plans for the evening? How come the hotel staff coming around late night to put cans of water and fresh glass tumblers on the bedside table, just in case, felt so unexpected? Complimentary breakfast offered upstairs in the House Kitchen every morning from 7 AM to 11 AM included a bagel bar with salmon, tomatoes, capers and onions, avocado toast, hard boiled eggs, pain au chocolat, and so much more. Instead of feeling less-than or awkward because I’m not a full, regular member at the house, these small touches helped tone down the intimidation factor, and were also a reminder that even the rich love to be fêted with perks and welcoming touches. Any time I exited or entered the hotel, someone made eye contact and verbally acknowledged my return or departure, another small but powerful gesture that made me, a single woman staying alone at a hotel, feel safe.
The rooftop is unfuckwithable
Naturally, every LA hotel strives to offer the perfect rooftop pool experience. The key is to strike a balance between views, pool quality, food and drink offerings, and overall aesthetic. The roof terrace and bar are slightly separate from the pool area, and sitting at tables or at the bar to eat and drink is a comfortable and beautiful option — the mostly glass walls mean the views are just as accessible here. But the servers also come around to the colorful, custom cabanas and daybeds clustered around the pool to offer service, and a lower level below the pool for more private lounging might be the most ideal spot of them all. One potential drawback for those who love to flex poolside? Photos are forbidden within the Soho House, though you can find plenty of patrons, particularly the younger ones, sneaking in pics for the ‘gram when possible. Still, there is one very real perk to private clubs — the pool area was never overcrowded, even on the weekend.
Staying at the hotel gives you a taste of Soho House without the commitment
While putting in a request to stay at the hotel requires a member to claim you as their guest, there is a certain beauty in being able to see inside of this world without the hefty membership fee. As it currently stands, an annual membership at one club only will run $2,160, or a hefty $3,300 for access to every club around the world (There are cheaper membership options for those the age of 27 and under, in an effort to keep the overall feel of the community young). And while the co-working area itself is not that much different than your standard high-end office space, the temporary membership lets guests attend events and programming, obvious perks for particular industries and networking opportunities. The hotel offers flexibility for interested parties to drop in for those opportunities without the financial commitment or extensive vetting process, opening up the doors of one of the world’s most exclusive social clubs a sliver wider than they were before.
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