I park across the street because if I valet at the hotel I have to pay $20 versus the $5 I pay across the road. I love this hotel because you’d only go there if someone told you about it or if you happen to get lost downtown and stumble upon this desolate street and suddenly see a strappingly dressed bellman complete with a red top hat and cufflinks, swiftly escorting women in mink fur coats and diamond earrings inside. Oh this is so Chicago.
I’ve recently been making an effort to find enjoyable places in L.A. that don’t feel “L.A.,” if you know what I mean. I’m done with trendy Sunset Boulevard and pretentious Skybar and The Roosevelt…ooohhhh. There has to be more to Los Angeles than this and I’m going to find it.
I found my treasure.
The bellman courteously smiles and takes a moment to formally address me with his red top hat he holds with importance in his right hand before he places it back on his head and opens the gold heavy door personally escorting me through as though I’m Jacky O. This is probably in my head of course, but I run with the fantasy. His teeth just sparkled. I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman here, although I stand here in jeans (not that stunning red gown she wore to the opera).
Jazz music saturates the lounge. I scour the room before picking my seat. The women are either in dresses or sophisticated knee length skirts, the men in suits. It’s like I just took a time machine and ended up at Gatsby’s mansion. There’s a smartly dressed couple dancing next to the band. They dance like no ones watching and it’s the kind of elegant dancing that makes you smile.
I take a seat close to the musician, who wears a pin striped suit and plays the upright bass like his life depends on it. This scene would be complete if smoking wasn’t outlawed. The burgundy sofa I’m sitting on seems like jewelry, an accessory to the beauty of this room. I order a glass of cabernet from the waitress wearing a formal bow tie and I lean back comfortably, thoroughly enjoying Spanish jazz. A stunning dark haired woman in a short lace dress appears on stage barefoot. She sings with perfect timing and red-lacquered nails. She’s mesmerizing. And then, she walks to the baby grand piano and the piano player gets up to allow her to take over and play a ballad and sing.
I indulge on a cheese plate as I forget I’m in Los Angeles for a moment. Sometimes it’s nice to change things up. And the more I expand my horizons, the cooler I’m finding L.A. to be. This may not be Chicago, but I certainly found a special place — my hidden treasure.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com