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Pick your palace -- luxury awaits

September 14, 2008|Valli Herman | Times Staff Writer

Long before the mortgage meltdown or the gasoline price flare-up, hotel developers laid plans for grand resorts and hotels that would elevate the concept of luxury. Some of the biggest, boldest players in the hotel industry are debuting properties in Southern California and Las Vegas beginning this fall and through early next year. Hold on to your wallets; none of them comes cheap. Here's a roundup of what's going up and going on in the lodging industry.


Where: 8401 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.

Inside look: When the scaffolding finally comes down on this Sunset Strip icon, Hyatt will debut a new brand in North America, ANdAZ. The former Hyatt West Hollywood will transform into a more upscale hotel guided by the motto "Sophistication made simple." The former "Riot House," nicknamed for the antics of the rock stars who stayed there, aims to embrace its reputation and history, but details aren't yet confirmed. The decor won't be the only modern element. In a break with tradition, the room rate at this luxury hotel will include local phone calls, Wi-Fi, breakfast, some laundry services, movies and the minibar.

Rates: Not yet available.

Opening date: Later this year.



Where: 3131 Las Vegas Blvd., adjacent to the Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip.

Inside look: Though the Encore hotel and casino are next door to the Wynn flagship, at 2,034 rooms this luxury newcomer is about 700 rooms smaller than its sister. Developer Steve Wynn plans to include five restaurants, 11 retail offerings, the XS nightclub, spa, salon and pool to make the $1.9-billion Encore a distinct resort, not just a second tower. The smallest rooms are 700 square feet; the largest, 5,800.

Rates: As low as $339. Based on availability and occupancy.

Opening date: December, though room reservations are not available until January. Info: (888) 320-7125,


Where: 225 N. Canon Drive, between Canon and Beverly drives, north of Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

Inside look: The eight-story hotel, a sister to the Laguna Beach property, is built in the Spanish colonial revival style on the exterior, but recalls 1920s and '30s California with Spanish, Italian and Moroccan aesthetics in the interior and courtyard. The 201 guest rooms and suites range from 500 to 2,000 square feet. With a two-level spa with a coed mineral pool, fine dining restaurants, a rooftop bar and grill and lobby lounge, the hotel adds another luxury contender to the Beverly Hills market.

Rates: $595 to $6,500.

Opening date: November.

Info: (888) 860-0788,


Where: 22701 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Coast, between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach across the road from the rustic Crystal Cove State Park.

Inside look: Mega-developer Irvine Co. Resort Properties spent two years and untold millions building a mega-luxury resort made to look as though it sprouted from a northern Italian hillside in the 1500s. Palladian-inspired architecture and 21st century luxury define the 204 bungalow suites (847 to 2,486 square feet) and 128 villas (2,193 to 3,581 square feet) that include private garages, kitchens and ocean-view terraces. Tom Fazio returned to fine-tune his two championship golf courses, and artisans have been installing glass tiles in a 136-foot-diameter saltwater pool, planting 750 mature olive trees, finishing the 22-treatment-room spa, and hand-cutting ceiling beams for La Cappella, the wedding venue with ocean views.

Opening date: Nov. 26.

Rates: $695 to $1,750 a night for the bungalow suites; $1,450 to $2,700 a night for the villas.

Info: (800) 820-6800;


Where: 68-900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage. Set on a 650-foot bluff and spanning 40 acres overlooking greater Palm Springs.

Inside look: The Ritz-Carlton plans to open after a top-to-bottom, $500-million renovation that closed the former Lodge at Rancho Mirage in August 2006. The new Ritz will include 260 rooms and 150 luxury residences, a $25-million, 24,000-square-foot La Prairie spa, and a fleet of dining experiences inspired by Joachim Splichal of Patina and Pinot fame. The sophisticated rooms are done in a casual but luxurious desert-chic motif, a break from the trademark, old-world Ritz look, which instead features local architecture, design and landscape details.

Rates: Starting at $395 a night.

Opening: For stays in early 2009, when the resort opens, reservations will be accepted beginning in October.

Info: (760) 321-8282,


Where: On 24 acres at 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, in northern downtown Palm Springs.

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