The Aster Is LA’s Hottest New Members Club

A boutique hotel and recording space, all in one

August 12, 2022 6:00 am
A guest room at The Aster
A guest room at The Aster
Sam Frost

There’s no shortage of see-and-be-seen spots in Hollywood, and private members’ clubs have been de rigueur among the well-heeled and jet-setter types for decades — although more so with affluent millennials since the pandemic. But when it comes to the next generation of white-hot WFH hangouts, Los Angeles’ The Aster — with its 35 luxe suites, rooftop swimming pool and a salon by stylist Johnathon Antin — promises to be the fairest and most exclusive of them all.

Aspiring members should be ready and able to drop a few dollars to join, though. Annual rates are $3,600, but with The Aster looking to welcome 3,000 members, there are no set criteria for applications — anyone who wishes to make an inquiry is welcome. With a screening room, dedicated workspaces and a recording/podcast studio, who wouldn’t want to work and play in the heart of Hollywood? 

Members certainly get the run of the place, including access to The Club Room, which serves as an epicenter to The Aster. Open 24 hours a day with a food and beverage program run by chef Marcel Vigneron (a Top Chef alum and owner of the award-winning but now-closed Wolf on Melrose), it’s the perfect place for meetings, afternoon tea and anything in between. For cocktail hour and private events, there’s The Vine Room next door. Decked out with eclectic furnishings and velvet draperies, the Cabaret Room will host Ted Talks and comedy shows. While members and hotel guests can enjoy free rein across The Aster, the public will be able to make reservations at rooftop restaurant Lemon Grove when it opens in September. 

After its $4 million overhaul, the former hClub building on the corner of Hollywood and Vine is an iconic setting for this first hotel-meets-members-only club hybrid from Salt Hotels. Named for the city’s native aster flower and dubbed the “anti-Soho House,” the property is meant to be a “home away from home space for creative minds,” says founder David Bowd. Hired in 2001 by hospitality visionary Ian Schrager as the GM of London’s St. Martins Lane Hotel and later launching the Chateau Marmont and A-list favorite Chiltern Firehouse (also in London), Bowd certainly knows a thing or two about the world’s coolest clubs.

Bowd, along with fellow Salt Hotels founder and Chief Creative Officer Kevin O’Shea, dishes on the latest playground for the city’s beau monde and in-the-know types.

InsideHook: As someone who has launched and operated some of the world’s most desirable hotels and clubs, what is the je ne sais quoi that draws people in?

Bowd: The details. So many parts go into making a great hotel, and we opine on every single one to make sure they support our overall narrative. Everything a guest or member encounters during their stay is of the same quality and speaks to the same holistic experience we have set out to create. We have a phenomenal team of experts in their fields who share our passion.

O’Shea: I agree. It’s all in the details but also understanding how everything works together. You must have an impeccable design, the right lighting and correct music. But it also goes beyond that to hyper details — we focus on the size and weight of cutlery, which ingredients look good on which color plates and the shape of the wine glass. Then we combine all of that with attentive and exceptional service to make a truly memorable experience.

What will make The Aster stand out among LA’s many other member-only clubs?

Bowd: Being led by hospitality with a strong focus on the guest and member experience makes it different from the rest of the clubs out there at the moment. With so many offerings under one roof — including the screening room, recording studio, cabaret lounge, wellness and fitness facilities, all tied up with great service and hospitality — The Aster is truly unique.

Is the club-hotel hybrid the future of members-only?

Bowd: Mixing transitory hotel guests with club members and members of the public — as we will be doing with rooftop restaurant and bar, Lemon Grove — brings an interesting dynamic and eclectic crowd to the environment. 

O’Shea: As more people work remotely and have more flexibility, I think club spaces as amenity spaces are appealing. We’re an all-suite hotel that allows guests to stay for longer, make their rooms “home” and enjoy amenities which go way beyond what’s on offer in a traditional hotel.

The most “got to get it for the ‘Gram” space?

Bowd: The roof will be a stand-out — there is nothing more iconic in Hollywood than the Capitol Records building and the Hollywood sign, and we have the most incredible views of both. 

O’Shea: Our pool deck, Aster Park, is stunning. A large courtyard with a lush canopy of trees, it’s the perfect spot for morning coffee or afternoon cocktails tucked into a quiet corner in the park. 

Which elements of The Aster are you most excited about?

Bowd: The cabaret club. As a Brit, this reminds me of the old days at the Café Royal in London, which had incredible, intimate shows and served as the inspiration for the space. Plus, we have a phenomenal lineup of programming planned. 

O’Shea: Our programming will be phenomenal. Ownership has dedicated a large budget here, giving our team a lot of flexibility to make distinct daily offerings across wellness, entertainment and music. We also plan to source programming from our membership pool as many of them are involved in unique projects and industries.

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