Author: Samantha Miller

Anti-Shopping Shopping Blog

The Anti-Shopping Shopping Blog: For those who shop fro the experience

By: Samantha Miller and Audrey Wooster

We created the Sunset Marquis to be a haven for its guests. A legendary Hollywood enclave that our A-listers never had to leave – because it was an escape, a hideaway. A place where Bar 1200’s brooding and electric atmosphere; the irresistible, turquoise waters of the pools (plural!) on our 3.5-acre property; and the lip-licking, jaw-dropping bites of Cavatina Restaurant are happily and satisfactorily your entire world. You may ask: when you’re already staying in the complete, luxurious world of the Sunset Marquis, why would you leave the property? 

In our pristine and total paradise, a Marquis guest lounges in ripped jeans, studded boots, and a perfectly aged leather jacket – the “just rolled out of bed, is it really 2:00 pm?” look. As it turns out, that look is not so easy to come by. Or maybe it’s the stunning evening gown that shimmers iridescently as a statuesque hotel guest cascades through our many gardens. We all know that look is not easy to come by. It’s our humble opinion that guests leave the hotel to go shopping so that they can come back to our grounds looking their most fabulous. 

It’s our more quantifiable opinion that our guests leave our grounds to go shopping because West Hollywood, CA, boasts one of the most impressive and fun shopping scenes on the planet. It’s not about the Carrie Bradshaw gene. It’s not about a single fashion guru or thirst to shop ’til you drop. It’s that WeHo’s variable, subtly chic, and original collection of brick-and-mortar are ineluctable. They’re the best of the best. And if a guest is staying with us, we already know they only want the best. 

So it’s about looking and feeling the coolest. It’s about the shopping being the best. Maybe you yawn and don’t believe us, but we have another insider tip. Come closer. Are you ready? You can do all this shopping in a single day. West Hollywood has that many options and is that efficient to get around. A day of different neighborhoods and vastly different styles, all within the West Hollywood city limits. 

Like all of our days, this day begins at Sunset Boulevard.

Cavatina waterfall
Cavatina waterfall

Exiting our hotel on Alta Loma, you are feet away from the iconic Sunset Boulevard. Extremely fashionable stores await at Sunset Plaza. And by “fashionable,” we mean on the level of Zadig & Voltaire and H. Lorenzo. There’s also Calleen Cordero, our en vogue playground for footwear, handbags, and accessories. And whether you’re having a staycation moment – and your real home isn’t too far away – or you’re down to ship the fruits of your shopping labor, Osklo makes it almost too pleasurable to buy furniture. With home design, interior design, and furniture design, you’ll be ready to be featured in Architectural Digest’s next issue.

Now, if you head east on Sunset Boulevard, this famous street will take great care of your feet. Kith is where you must go for all of your sneaker needs and beyond. And Kith is pure cool – aka Sunset Marquis approved. Or maybe some leather studded boots and fringe jackets are more your style. We know, you “don’t care” about your look, so Boot Star will “care” for you. That name, need we say more?


Now, if you head west on Sunset Boulevard, the boulevard takes care of your need for inspiration. With Viper Room, Whiskey a Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre, and more, Sunset spews both history and current tunes, and it’s a music lover’s dream to meander this way. Another favorite is Book Soup, a sacred spot for all bibliophiles. They currently have color-coded books sparkling in their windows, and this reading rainbow opens books and minds, as well as LeVar Burton does.

And in case you aren’t aware, our hotel is less than a mile from another very famous street: Melrose Avenue. The Melrose. Home to hip new stores, insanely delicious restaurants, arguably the trendiest vintage apparel shopping in L.A., and the eminent Sunday Melrose Trading Post swap meet at Fairfax High School where the high schoolers who would later become the Red Hot Chili Peppers met! 


Melrose has infinite shopping opportunities. Clare V. is a Euro-inspired boutique that will transport you to Europe’s snow-lined shopping districts around the holidays. Anna Sheffield’s has jewelry design by way of sculpture; it’s that Palm Springs meets Southwestern vibe. Amanu is where you’ll find truly unique sandals, flats, and shoes. Really unique, like, each is handmade, so there are no two that are the same. Plus, they’re sustainable too. Welcome to California.

The Great, launched by Emily Current and Merrit Elliott – the denim pair known for “Current/Elliott” – it’s a beautiful store to meander through, even if just for the architecture and design. Speaking of design, you won’t want to miss Maxfield. They’ll have your high-end apparel, fragrances, and accessory fixes. Meaning, you’ll find everything you need for everyone in the family while also getting that Getty Museum vibe from their killer architecture. For shopping on Melrose, all we can say is “etc., etc.”

West Hollywood also claims The Grove and The Beverly Center, both fantastic places to shop. And at this point, this blog feels like we want you to only ever visit West Hollywood by, sort of, crushing any competing shopping districts in L.A. So be it. Want a stylish, “boxy” look, head to Noodle StoriesDetox Market has safe cosmetics and the detox your skin needs. Tesoro offers endless crafts, gifts, and trinkets, and West Hollywood doesn’t forget about the kids’ needs either with sleek, fun stores like Eggy that are just for them. 


And as resident experts, we have a new page on our website called Know WeHo that tells you all about our City of West Hollywood in Los Angeles. It’s got sections on Cafes, Restaurants, Bars & Lounges, Clubs, Activities, and introducing the newest section: Shopping. This page is not only our best and most personal recommendations but also highlights spectacular businesses that have smaller internet presences and are thus harder to find. 


Mud Australia & Vistoe, with their handmade, beautiful pieces, will make your home truly look like a work of art, and Roseark for their rings, necklaces, and other rocks you want to rock. They are a little off the beaten WeHo shopping path but still worth discovering on North Crescent Heights Blvd. 

And when your arms have no more space or strength to carry all of the treasures you’ve gathered, well, our hotel will be waiting for you. Us, your favorite Cavatina meal, and a “how’d you know I’d love this” cocktail. You may have guessed it, but that’s our favorite part of shopping: returning to the Sunset Marquis to kick up our feet at “home.”

Holiday Meal

What we are ultra thankful for this season

We at the Sunset Marquis love this time of year: The Holidays. Yes, we know all the non-West Coasters scoff at a SoCalian expressing this sentiment. Because it’s true, the classic emblems of the changing season – vibrant fall leaves, frost-covered walkways, and children dressed like extra puffy, neon-colored Michelin men – only exist on production sets here in our city. However, it’s impossible to argue that we don’t have the other core pillars of the holiday season locked down: eating and gratitude. And in a discussion about eating and gratitude, you have to start with Thanksgiving. We’re going to start by recapping our November menu for you so that you’re begging for a Christmas dinner reservation. Shall we begin?

This year we were humbled by how many families chose to spend their Thanksgiving with us at our Cavatina Restaurant. In the eyes of Szymon Piechaczek, our new Food & Beverage Director and in-house sommelier, each year more and more guests join Cavatina for this special night simply because of the “quality menu, great ambiance, and relaxed atmosphere.” And even with new faces joining our regulars, a full house under the Cavatina roof always makes us feel like the entire family is back home together.

And it was a packed home at that, with “208 guests being served,” shared Executive Chef Luis Morales. Remember that Shopping Blog you read on our website? Well, skip the new leather pants or tight jeans, because simply reading about Chef Luis’s multi-course Thanksgiving masterpiece will have you placebo-undoing that top pants button. Look, we still feel stuffed. Just thinking about it. And we’re loving that for us.

A few reasons to love feeling stuffed: a perfectly cooked turkey with confit turkey leg hash, sweet potato puree, and brioche herb stuffing. How about, tender braised short ribs in a port wine reduction with haricot vert and pomme puree? Creamy Yukon Gold potato puree? Would you like a local burrata and persimmon salad with warm pear focaccia and pomegranate? Pumpkin cheesecake, carrot cake donuts, and mini toffee puddings? Are you drooling yet? Because we’re standing in a puddle of it.


Lounging in our food coma, we couldn’t help but reflect on how many things we have to be grateful for at the Sunset Marquis. First, we’re grateful for a healthy, safe, and full house at Cavatina Restaurant for Thanksgiving 2021. We’re thankful for our guests, who over the decades became our family. Our amazing and dedicated staff, who continually goes above and beyond to make sure the guests of the Marquis feel, well, like marquises.

But there was one event that we were ultra grateful to host this year. An event that really embodied the spirit of “giving.” The Ultra Rare Celebrity Jam. Hosted by none other than the legendary Joe Bonamassa himself, Ultra Rare Jam partners with Columbus Children’s Foundation to bring together world-renowned musicians to benefit kids with ultra-rare diseases. “It’s a way to celebrate the lives of these children and to accelerate hope for life-saving genetic medicine,” reads the Ultra Rare Jam website.

poster - ultra rare celebrity jam

Over the course of the three-day event, jam seshes included legends: John Oates, Keb’ Mo’, Jared James Nichols, Eric Gales, Adam Chester, and Jeff Barry. For those of you who are more the “faces over names” type of people – that’s multiple Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Songwriters Hall of Famers, multi-Grammy Award winners, Guitar World Magazine rankings, and Billboard chart-toppers. Rock ‘n’ roll classics were played, and we even got a group Happy Birthday song in there for Keb’ Mo’s birthday. Along with a delicious candle-lit cake. The moments between the music were MC-ed by one of our favorite repeat guests – not to mention critically acclaimed actor, filmmaker, and musician – Billy Bob Thornton. As with many nights at the Sunset Marquis, it was truly filled with “stars.” Underneath the stars, we held a not-so-silent silent auction, a live auction, and a presentation from the Columbus Children’s Foundation, one of the top leaders in the advancement of gene therapy clinical trials for ultra-rare genetic diseases.

Put quite simply, the Ultra Rare Celebrity Jam rocked, not only in the literal sense but also in that it reminded us how immensely critical gratitude for health is. Especially after the past couple of years. It reminded us how thankful we are for children. For life. For music. And for this great hotel that brings us all together meaningfully (and also just for fun).

As we continue through our cruelly ironic, sunny winter holiday season, we want to share our thanks and gratitude to all of you: our guests. You make events like the Ultra Rare Celebrity Jam, Thanksgiving at Cavatina, and good ol’ Monday through Sunday at our hotel, always, the best.

By Audrey Wooster – Edited by Sam Miller

Relaxing at the Villa Pool

Seasoned Spring Breakers

Here at the Sunset Marquis, one can effortlessly tell when spring is about to, well, spring. It’s one of the perks of having 3.5 acres of lush and vibrant gardens for hallways between our rooms. Our suites and villas look out onto luxuriant blooms. Our open-doored lobby smells sweeter in spring. But it’s not just the property’s budding flowers that loosen up come springtime. Spring break beckons a wave of travelers to the West Coast who are coming to us to loosen up too.

Now, we know what you’re probably thinking. Spring breakers mean one of two things. One: a cluster of parents herding sugar-hyped children through amusement parks, praying to the Disneyland gods that the kids only leave with one souvenir. Two: the more notorious spring breaker masses of college students, herding themselves through sheer debauchery and making cities their own “parent-free” amusement parks. (And many of us, especially in Hollywood, may remember a third spring breaker: James Franco with grillz, cornrows, and tacky Hawaiian shirts.)

Spring Green Salad from Cavatina
Spring Green Salad from Cavatina

But don’t panic. Type Two Los Angeles spring breakers are boarding buses to Coachella. Type One are really cute at Disneyland. And Type Three might give you an autograph.

At the Sunset Marquis, we prepare for Type Four: the seasoned spring breakers. These spring breakers are guests who don’t want to wait in lines at clubs, but instead, they want to work on lines – tan lines, that is – at our main pool and our villa pool. They are guests who want to luxuriously dine on Executive Chef Luis Morales’s delectable Cavatina Restaurant menu. Guests who want the ease of a Bar 1200 nightcap – just minutes away from their bed – after a night of music and dancing out in West Hollywood. They are guests who prefer to “get out of the city” without ever leaving it, soaking up palm tree paradise in our Sunset Marquis oasis off Sunset Boulevard.

And while you’ll never get sick of our property, you still might venture out, and Los Angeles offers a host of stimulating things to do. Our new Academy Museum is currently displaying a brilliant Hayao Miyazaki Exhibit that’s guaranteed to inspire (and kids go to the museum for free on weekends!). We are back to the LA Phil playing the Walt Disney Concert Hall, musicals at the Ahmanson Theater, and music and comedy at the Hollywood Bowl. There are comedy shows all up and down the Sunset Strip within walking distance of our suites that are prepared especially for you. In fact, the Know WeHo page on our website is a great guide to the above and more.

Cavatina Interior and bar

Our website also has incredible offers for booking your Spring Break trip to see us. You could be an “In League with Legends” person – with its complimentary “If These Walls Could Rock” coffee table book and breakfast (and coffee!) credit. Maybe you’re a “Night on Us” person, which is our new package that offers you a fourth night free when you book a three-night stay. We also recommend many mini spring break weekends, and our “Weekend Retreat” package would be excellent for this – a 20% off daily rate discount with a minimum two-night stay required. Every weekend is spring break weekend?

While we love the coziness of winter here at the Sunset Marquis, your winter – wherever you are – might have been, actually, cold. And cold is not something we’re personally interested in. Whatever your winter season experience, it’s time to move on to spring with us. Sunshine, fabulous hikes, sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, Hollywood museums, exceptional dining, and West Hollywood sits in the middle of all of it. Meaning, we at the Sunset Marquis sit in the middle of all of it. Let’s break spring together.

Oscar's at BAR1200

The Oscars: Our Favorite Production(s)

In Los Angeles, “voting season” doesn’t mean what it means everywhere else. We look to stars rather than to candidates. “Voting season” is when screeners upon screeners get mailed out to comrades in the entertainment industry. Movies, television shows, and their studios seek votes for awards with billboards on Sunset Boulevard. We think all day every day about the films and TV productions that moved us most in the past year.

And all of that culminates in Los Angeles’s Grand Awards Season. After the polls are in. After the tallies are made. After the tuxes are pressed. Then the red carpet rolls out.

Sunday, March 27th, 2022, marks the 94th annual Academy Awards. With nearly a century of ceremonies, the Oscars continue to be a surprise show. It isn’t just the opening of envelopes that draws gasps and cheers. The Oscar stage itself, which has been the location of so many heartfelt, humorous, and unexpected moments, becomes the draw.

Oscar Bar1200

Remember Marlon Brando’s non-acceptance of Best Actor by actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, as a protest against Hollywood’s racist portrayal of Native American people? Another year, Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn iconically tied for Best Actress and both won (for the record, there was no Soloman-style splitting of the trophy in half). Sally Field reminded everyone, “You like me, right now, you like me!” Greer Garson gave a seven-minute acceptance speech, which would instigate the infamous musical or lights dimming time limit for speeches. However, when the cast and crew of Parasite needed more than 45-seconds to finish their acceptance, Tom Hanks and Charlize Theron were there to chant “up, up, up,” bringing the lights back up for the rest of the speech. Alfred Hitchock needed no timer at all with one of the shortest speeches ever made: “Thank you.” We all loved Leonardo DiCaprio’s overdue win for The Revenant – his sixth nomination. And there are moments leading up to the stage that is cemented in our memories too. We’ll always admire the grace and humor Jennifer Lawrence maintained after tripping up the stairs to accept her award for Silver Linings Playbook. We should all take a page from her playbook on playing it cool.

This year, some Academy Award surprises are revealing themselves early – before the show even begins. For the first time in its history, there will be not one, not two, but three women hosting. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes will be taking the stage and walking us through a slightly different schedule. Eight of the twenty-three categories will not be presented on-air, and those speeches will be edited for the live telecast. If you’re a loyal viewer like us, don’t worry, your broadcasting will still be feature-length – just not hitting the three-hour mark as in past years.

At the Marquis, we’re eagerly awaiting new iconic moments that will inevitably come from this year’s show. Will Dune or ​Netflix’s The Power of the Dog – which has earned the most nominations, 10 and 12 respectively – sweep the awards? Or will other big contenders, such as West Side Story, Belfast, and King Richard, stake their claim? While most of Hollywood has placed its bets, it is impossible for us to make any predictions. With nominees and winners as regular, beloved guests of ours, making predictions is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. (And while Sophie’s Choice got five nominations and a Best Actress win for Meryl Streep, we’re not picking!)

Instead, we keep our doors open – ready for winners, nominees, and the full cast of characters who make the Oscars such an incredible show. With such amazing productions nominated, it’s easy to forget that each Oscars show is its own production here in Los Angeles. A production with hotel rooms, delicious L.A. dining experiences, glamor, and luxury. It’s a production that those of us in hospitality think we know the plot to… but each year continue to be surprised by.

What will the Oscars bring us onstage this year? Or better yet: what will the Oscars bring us at the Sunset Marquis this year?

By: Audrey Wooster – Edited: Sam Miller

B.B. King, John Lee Hooker & Willie Dixon, Sunset Marquis, 1991 by Paul Natkin

Black History Month From a West Hollywood Lens

This year marks the 46th formalized, national observance of Black History Month. For nearly five decades, February has been dedicated to celebrating the great achievements of African Americans and the strides made for equal rights. It has also been a time to reflect on, discuss, and work toward the progress that still stands ahead of us.

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Billy Gibbons at the Sunset Marquis - Photograph by Ross Halfin

From Open Doors to Moments with The Doors

The Sunset Marquis’s role in the history of rock ‘n’ roll is no secret. For decades, our hotel has welcomed musical legends – offering an escape, a home, or quite frankly a party. Some of these legendary moments go down in rock ‘n’ roll history by making a big splash. *Queue* Flea’s rooftop cannonball into our pool. While other musical memories have a more subtle presence, decorating our hallways and rooms in beautifully simplistic black frames. This photography on our property transports guests to intimate moments with musical geniuses: stuck in a cab with The Beatles, staring straight into Joni Mitchell’s heart, or rockin’ out on our astroturf poolside with Dee Dee Ramone.

It’s no surprise that the art curated around our hotel still sings to the soul of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. And it’s even less of a surprise that the collections are curated by our partner, the Morrison Hotel Gallery, which infamously represents over 125 of the most highly acclaimed music photographers. Just six years after we opened our doors in 1963, the Morrison Hotel Gallery’s eponymous photo of The Doors was taken. They did it behind a camera lens, and we did it behind the Sunset Marquis walls. But we both did it – celebrate, support, and capture the stories of creative genius. And we’re both still doing it.

Joe Strummer
Joe Strummer of The Clash at the Sunset Marquis. March 1980. © Bob Gruen

Fifty plus years later, the iconic moments archived by the Morrison Hotel Gallery have continued to induce a ripple effect on our property, inspiring our guests to recreate those moments. Joe Strummer poolside at the Sunset Marquis in 1980 meet Joe 2.0 in 2020. Same pose, same pool, less astroturf, 40 years later.

Legends can also inspire legends. ZZ Top hanging his head out of the window of a classic car in front of our entrance was recreated by Billy Bob Thornton. Compare those photos. Beyond the missing beard and hat, can you spot even six differences?

Cyndi's Garden
Cyndi’s Garden

But the boomerang of infamous snapshots extends beyond our big pool deck and entrance awning. It’s the intimate moments captured within the hideaways of the Sunset Marquis’s property. Some happening behind closed doors or in tucked-away gardens.

These feel especially profound (especially for us). We’re thinking of Morissey’s Sunset Marquis Bath in 1991. Cyndi Lauper[3] ’s iconic checkered pose conclusively determined that spot was “Cyndi’s Garden.” A multitude of guests have made their way to Cyndi’s white iron bench to pose, ponder, and praise[4]  one of the queens of pop. And since we mentioned Flea’s rooftop cannonball earlier, we’ll add that we’re grateful some iconic moments have been rethought and redirected. Backward poolside plunges[5]  are preferable (because… safety). Clothes obviously included.

Video by Kyler Clark @cerealkyler
Video by Kyler Clark @cerealkyler

These moments captured at the Sunset Marquis, whether framed on our walls or framed on your social media, remind us why we created our hotel in the first place. Why partnerships like ours with the Morrison Hotel Gallery and NightBird Studios are essential to our ethos. Music is our history. Artists are our history. Our West Hollywood hotel is a shoutout to all the creatives who have made, listened to, or screamed for the hits over the years. Our hotel is a place to create new memories and also relish in and often recreate past iconic moments. To be poolside, garden side, or curbside with some of the industry’s GOATs. Here’s to another 50 plus years of iconic moments – whether or not you have a camera ready to capture them.

Villa Walkway

Grounded on the Sunset Marquis Grounds

Villa Gardens Walkway

The Sunset Marquis has been referred to by many as Los Angeles’s hidden “oasis.” An infamous hideaway for rockers, artists, and celebrities. Inconspicuously tucked into the heart of WeHo, it’s difficult to imagine the extensiveness of the property unless you see it firsthand. When you enter the Sunset Marquis and start to explore the lush grounds, it is easy to feel as though you’ve stumbled off a desert path and fallen victim to an alluring mirage. Over 3.5 acres stretch out before you, decorated with various palms, bamboo, vines, and flowers. We prefer that hallways are gardens rather than wallpapered tunnels. Between the two pools, a mesmerizing koi pond awaits the eyes of wandering guests. A bridge crosses overflowing waters. A jungle landscape in a concrete jungle? Wild, lush, and expansive. Seemingly impossible yet somehow made possible.

Well this oasis, like many beautiful creations, began with a vision. That of the hotel’s founder, George Rosenthal. He “wanted to emulate the Garden of Allah, the environment they had there, at least psychologically. It was a regeneration of what I’d only read about: a wonderful gathering place for the exchange of ideas for writers, musicians, people in the film business.”

And over the years, the Sunset Marquis has been a watering hole for creatives, in more ways than one. The hotel did become that “home away from home” it set out to be since its conception in 1963. Numerous stars such as Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, Roger Daltrey of The Who, Blondie, U2, Joan Jett, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Billy Bob Thornton, and many more have escaped to the Sunset Marquis. A haven amidst the flashing lights. Privacy and freedom. Some, such as Steven Tyler, describe the more wild side of the green jungle: “[The Sunset Marquis] is where we’d come in the old days… we never went to bed… and if we did it was down by the pool… And if you hung out at this pool in the 60s or 70s, you made sure you had nights you didn’t remember with friends you never forgot.”

But the Sunset Marquis has continued to beckon not only the rock ‘n’ rollers and celebrities but also guests who are craving their own, unique getaway. A staycation that transports them to another country without the need for a passport, for example. Between the endless foliage and the Mediterranean architecture, the Sunset Marquis accomplishes just that, and seamlessly too. As soon as you walk onto the property – along the stone pathways etched with memories of lightened feet – or walk uninterrupted through the pendulous palms, the city around you melts away. Leaving the gentle hum of meandering relaxation. A positive “Hotel California” effect, guests ask if they can never leave because they find themselves immediately feeling at home when they check into our hotel.

This “right at home” feeling was a pivotal element of inspiration in the newest updates of our 40 villas. Eric Rosen and Lesley Graham – the architect and designer behind the renovations – shared that their inspiration was “balancing the idea of the Sunset Marquis Hotel as a place that is ‘unique even by Hollywood standards’ with the idea that the spaces should feel like a guest’s home away from home.” They mastered this by “capitalizing on the relationship between the interior spaces and the outdoor garden environment,” maximizing the natural light during the day and reconfiguring layouts to elevate views to decks, patios, and the garden outside. Even the “eco-friendly dimmable LED lighting gives the guests the opportunity to brighten their space or create a more intimate environment with ambient lighting washing across textural surfaces,” shared Eric. Like many elements of the Sunset Marquis, the goal of the villas’ renovation was to design something “far from the typical big box hotel prototype.” Eric Rosen Architects did just that, ensuring each villa is unique and incredibly comfortable.

When asked which villas were their favorites, we had both Eric and Lesley stumped. It was impossible to land on just one: “Villa 51 is quite special with high ceilings, exposed beams, and floating decorative panels along with a fireplace, piano, and kitchen… Villa 1007 has amazing light flowing in… The patios in Villa 1105 and 1106 are both very large, and the living rooms have special bar seating… Villa 63 has incredible views of downtown… Villa 71 feels like you are floating in a treehouse.”

Before they spoil all of the villas’ secrets, we challenge you all – our Sunset Marquis family – to discover which villa is your favorite. Which villa will become your “home away from home.” After all, we created grounds that are designed to leave you grounded. So whether that means feeling more centered than when you arrived or Steven Tyler-style face-down sleeping on the ground next to our pool, the Sunset Marquis has the space and design to be whatever our guests need

Cavatina Restaurant

Spotlight on Cavatina’s New F&B Director Szymon Piechaczek

Headshot of Food & Beverage Director, Szymon Piechaczek

Welcoming in a New Year at our restaurant, we welcome in new faces. New guests. New luggage. New WeHo first-timers. New Cavatina diners. And more. But this year there is one face in particular that we’re so happy to welcome in every day: our new Food & Beverage Director, Szymon Piechaczek.

Originally from Poland, Szymon grew up with an established – maybe even inborn – need to be around food. Early on he was inspired by the desire to “connect people and create memorable moments.” (Serendipitously, that phrase is very similar to the unformalized ethos of Cavatina too.) Having been in the Food & Beverage industry for 30 years, Szymon is still as much in love with his job as when he first started. So, what keeps that spark alive, we wanted to know. Szymon’s answer was simple: “Sharing my love for food, wine, and the enjoyment of meeting new people.” Impossible to argue with that.

Maybe it was that desire to meet new people that brought him to a stunning, 3.5-acre luxury hotel in West Hollywood. The hidden, Los Angeles creative elite haven. With its perfectly manicured garden escapes from the concrete jungle that surrounds it… alright yes, we are talking about ourselves. Can you blame us? Settling our curiosity, Szymon said that it was “a sense of exploring and desire to exceed expectations” that brought him to the Sunset Marquis Hotel and Cavatina. Exploration and Exceeded Expectations. A perfect pairing right there.

Again, we are only the most recent chapter in Szymon’s multi-decade journey in Food & Beverage. Prior to joining our team, Szymon worked in Paso Robles where he ran the hospitality center for a premium Central Coast winery. He loves all wines, so we won’t make him name the winery and have to claim “zinfandelity.” Yes, Sommeliers take their wine relationships very seriously. And yes, Szymon is a Sommelier with the best of them. With his immense love for food and wine, becoming a Sommelier was fated. In fact, Szymon remembers the first wine he ever loved: “Edi Bikevar, a Hungarian Red Blend.” Is it just us, or do you also hope to see that first love on the Cavatina menu someday soon? Nowadays – with so many amazing wines out there – Szymon narrows his “favorite” wine to a phrase that encapsulates what he’s looking for: “a balanced wine, with a sense of place and minimal human interaction.” This way, drinking Szymon’s favorite wine one night might involve a couple of different bottles that all fit this description.

Cavatina Wine Cellar

Szymon only enjoys “minimal human interaction” when it comes to wine. When it comes to crafting the perfect experience for our guests, Szymon’s approach and guidance is “let us take care of your senses.” This is why for the recent holidays, our guests enjoyed the “perfect balance of ingredients and terroir” as they relished Chef Luis Morales’s four-course feasts and Szymon’s hand-selected pinot noirs and champagnes. Looking ahead into this year, Szymon has been busy at work with our updated menu, filled with “food-friendly” wines that have a strong sense of place.

But we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises that Szymon has up his sleeve for 2022 and beyond. Trust us when we say: you’ll need to experience it for yourself. Szymon has worked in Food & Beverage at various establishments around the world, and when we asked him what makes Cavatina stand out, he paused – almost as if assessing an invisible glass of wine… “It’s easy. In West Hollywood, (Cavatina) is an essential California oasis. In Los Angeles, it is a place where stories are alive and you’re sure to find the best al fresco dining.” Now then. We’ll have your table ready and meet you here. 

Christmas time at the Sunset Marquis

Home alone or home away from home this holiday

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” We tend to agree. No surprise L.A. knows how to rock a holiday that’s centered around lights and spotlights. Whether it’s the Enchanted Forest of Light at the Descanso Gardens, the L.A. Zoo LightsHoliday Road in the Santa Monica Mountains, or the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, Los Angeles knows how to get “lit” for the holidays.

Holiday Dinner

So we may not be “caroling out in the snow,” but we can nestle up “by an open fire” with the best of them… of course, that fire is a bonfire on the beach after sunset. Because L.A. does holidays our own way. And a big part of that is that, as of December 1st, Hollywood becomes: The Place That Gives You Christmas Movies. And what’s more holiday than binging the Christmas classics.

So, iconic holiday films light up our homes and yours! The Parkers unpacking their new, prized leg lamp in A Christmas Story. George bursting into his home, wildly embracing his four children and Mary in It’s a Wonderful Life. Buddy, whispering to fake Santa that he sits on a throne of lies, in Elf. Hugh Grant’s unforgettable moves as the prime minister in Love Actually. And of course, every impressive booby trap devised by Kevin in Home Alone. We don’t care if you’re naughty or nice, it’s irrefutable that our sunny Hollywood has helped craft the coziest holiday seasons for decades.

While we adore the classics like Home Alone, we prefer to make the Sunset Marquis a Home Away from Home for the holidays. We give Buddy the Elf a run for his money when it comes to decor, and then we step it up a notch or ten when it comes to dining. Cavatina Restaurant is curating another unforgettable four-course Christmas menu this year. And we’re advising you to make your reservation right this second.

Holiday Tree

Your Cavatina Christmas experience will begin with a Marquis Relish Tray, composed of pickled local vegetables, olives, smoked salmon deviled eggs with trout roe. We challenge you to try and pick only one-second course. You could go coastal, with Oysters and Poached Prawns in a Meyer lemon and champagne mignonette. Or you could go “cozy,” with a Mushroom and Chestnut Bisque topped with charred pearl onion and crispy sage. Or finally, Chef Luis’s delectable Local Winter Green Salad with a black truffle vinaigrette.

Whatever you choose, leave room for Chef’s third course, which we’ve been calling “the main event.” The third course is your choice of either a Tender Braised Veal Shank (with creamy saffron potato puree and baby root vegetables); Sonoma County Duck Breast (with hidden rose apple, creamy parsnip, brussels sprouts, maple syrup, and rosemary); or Maine Diver Scallops (with celery, le puy lentils, lardon, and Meyer lemon).

If you’re finding it impossible to even conceive of making a choice between all of those mouth-watering options, you’re not alone. We asked our Food & Beverage Director Szymon Piechaczek what his favorite holiday dish is this year. His answer? “I love all of them!” What will you choose, if even our stellar F&B Director loves them all? Do people get coal from Santa when they give others an impossible dilemma? We guess Chef Luis will find out.

But the decision-making gets easier for dessert: Chocolate Buche de Noel with orange meringue, cranberry, and macaron. It’s so iconic there is no other option. And if you’re not quite the eggnog type, we have our Sommelier Wine Pairing options or Bottomless Bubbles available. Now we’re back on the “nice” list, right? After dinner, we recommend walking around our property. We have lights strung up to ensure the grounds feel like one giant Christmas tree. And we have two Christmas trees to remind you that, in fact, we’re a hotel – that’s simply well-decorated. If you’re properly letting the holiday spirit compel you, treat yourself to a post-feast night at your home away from home here at the Sunset Marquis. The distractingly exceptional Cavatina menus almost make you forget… we have gorgeous, luxurious, and cozy rooms for you too.

By Audrey Wooster – Edited by Sam Miller

Gary U.S. Bonds

West Hollywood – The 1960’s & Life on the Sunset Strip

Discovering the Sunset Marquis felt like the final unturned stone in my efforts to become an expert historian of West Hollywood and the infamous Sunset Strip. As a self-proclaimed (and also fairly bonafide) nerd, I have thoroughly walked the Historical District of West Hollywood, accompanied by various blogs and other unofficial “historical walks” I scoured the internet to find.


Samatha and Corey recreate the iconic Gary US Bonds photo
Samatha and Corey recreate the iconic Gary US Bonds photo

I have become so good at my own historical district of West Hollywood walk that various family members, friends, roommates, and roommates’ mothers have requested I lead them on my tour. I gladly do! It’s a blast.

Deeply surprising to find that the Sunset Marquis had avoided my penetrative internet searches and remained an unknown historical location to me, until recently. However, that is one of my favorite things about West Hollywood!

Despite having outstanding historical gems like the Tara House and former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, West Hollywood doesn’t want its neighborhoods to be flooded and keeps these buildings’ profiles covert. The Sunset Marquis achieves this best, keeping its history and presence very private for its guests’ enjoyment.


In looking for historical information on the Sunset Marquis, I didn’t have to look further than “If These Walls Could Rock,” a thorough, heartfelt coffee table book, brimming with anecdotes, loving quotes by your favorite rock stars in music and film, and photos – stellar photographs!  One of my personal favorites is the shot of Barry U.S. Bonds poolside so we decided to do a new version!

Excitedly, I am going to share a history of the Sunset Marquis with you! Decade by decade. As with “If These Walls Could Rock” and history books alike, we are going to start at the beginning, the hotel’s first decade: the 1960s.

THE 1960’S

The Sunset Marquis opens in the same year that Martin Luther King Jr. is imprisoned, President Kennedy assassinated, The Feminine Mystique published, “Beatlemania” coined, and a new band, The Rolling Stones, is signed for the first time; it is 1963, and the inter-related sociopolitical and cultural zeitgeist is experiencing its full-blown 1960s revolution.


If these walls could rock - book cover
If these walls could rock – book cover

George Rosenthal, a self-made man from a meager background, built his life and successes around his individualistic entrepreneurship. From creating his first company Raleigh Construction Company, which would bloom into Raleigh Enterprises as the decades boomed on, to pitching himself as the man to build the Playboy Club and Hotel, Rosenthal’s business mind was highly intelligent and gutsy. After audacious decisions allowed him to foster a personal relationship with Hugh Hefner, the men infamously turned down a twelve million dollar loan from Jimmy Hoffa for the construction of the Playboy Club and Hotel in West Hollywood. While the Playboy offices moved in with Raleigh’s, Rosenthal’s vision of a hotel on the Sunset Strip for the club’s guests and performers only became grander and more passionate. This vision would become the Sunset Marquis.


Rosenthal’s dream menagerie looked like The Gardens of Allah, a now demolished personal home turned apartment-style hotel for artists and ghouls of the Sunset Strip. “It was a no-holds-barred kind of place where everyone there was part of this family. That’s how I wanted the Sunset Marquis to be,” said Rosenthal. “Family” has been the cornerstone of the Sunset Marquis for the past fifty years.

West Hollywood is an almost two-mile stripe of Los Angeles County that was unincorporated until 1984, thus allowing extraneous, outrageous, antithetical lifestyles to flourish. The Sunset Strip is the mile and a half trek through this alternative land, and the Sunset Marquis stands exactly halfway – 0.75 miles – between Crescent Heights and Doheny Drive. The hotel is literally and figuratively in the middle of it all!


In 1963, the Sunset Marquis opened. At $19 a night (or whatever a young artist could pay), Rosenthal began corralling the 60s musicians into West Hollywood’s first purpose-built, all-suites infantile hotel.

The three-year-old hotel’s first run-in with history was The Sunset Strip Riots of 1966. While West Hollywood cajoled its community into and through the riots, Rosenthal’s response was expansion. Four new villas were acquired, including the home of dance partners Valor & Yolanda, as well as a pool and villa that were part of the original Barrymore Estate.

Rolling Stones, Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA 1969. Photo: Henry Diltz
Rolling Stones, Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA 1969. Photo: Henry Diltz

While the novelty celebrity – rock stars – were cascading furniture on LAPD out of the windows of other Sunset Strip hotels, the Sunset Marquis became a home for established musicians; “Rock and rollers were tearing the hell out of hotels, but they weren’t tearing the hell out of ours” remembered Rosenthal. The Sunset Marquis was the place for talents, such as Billy Gibbons, Tiny Tim, and David Montgomery, to find quaint, personalized privacy amidst the kaleidoscope of characters that made up the Los Angeles music scene.


The Sunset Marquis: West Hollywood’s premier Historical Destination – is that the first tagline that comes to mind when thinking of this luxury hotel? In fact, is “historical destination” at the forefront of anyone’s mind when planning a visit to Los Angeles? As you are coming to learn, the resounding answer should be: YES.

It’s natural to be inundated with flashy, sparkly dreams of celebrities and red carpets when thinking of L.A., but as with many things twentieth century and also historical – Apollo 11, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Marvel Comics, and more – our recent past most directly and powerfully influences the now. The stimulating history of West Hollywood is wonderfully mirrored in the Sunset Marquis’s past fifty years of presence and prominence in the entertainment industry community. And the 60s were just the beginning!

If your travels include Los Angeles, pick West Hollywood as home base and check out some of this history in person. This postage size city is exploding with creativity and the Sunset Marquis is still very much in the middle of it all so I’ve now adopted this as my second home.  As an aspiring writer, this is the place where my next project will be born so stay tuned for updates!

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