Updated: Apr 29
There has long been a rivalry between the East and West Coasts of the USA, with many people saying there are strong cultural differences between them. As I’m British I couldn’t possible comment myself, however from what I can gather while the West Coast boasts the “Cali” lifestyle, where a stress-free more chilled outlook on life is common, the East Coast has more of a fast paced, business orientated way of life.
Back in the 90’s a big feud started creating a bigger rivalry between the two coasts, with the rise of the Hip-Hop music scene. Rap artists from both sides of the US started a famous feud that lasted throughout the 1990’s, with the main focal points being between The Notorious B.I.G (East Coast) and Tupac Shakur (West Coast). Sadly both were fatally shot in separate drive-by shootings only a year apart.
Slap-bang in the centre of Downtown Los Angeles, The Standard Hotel is in a prime position for the recent resurgence of the Downtown area or DTLA as the locals refer to it. Over the past decade a lot of investment has been ploughed into the Downtown area to entice people back into the city and make it a neighbourhood of its own, not just a cluster of office blocks. A recent addition to the DTLA art scene includes The Broad which opened in 2015, a new contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue, which features a white honey-combed style exterior designed by Diller Scofidio and Renfro and is free to visit. Across the road is the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and further up the street is the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall, a strikingly gorgeous building designed by Frank Gehry to resemble a ship sailing down Grand Avenue.
Along with numerous theatres, music venues like the Staples Centre, art galleries and museums, DTLA also boasts a funky nightlife scene too, with many new recently opened restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Surrounding The Standard Hotel are a wide selection of eateries with a particular favourite being the grand but intimately beautiful restaurant and Patisserie Bottega Louie. Other notable restaurants are Redbird, serving American cuisine in what has to be one of the coolest interiors I’ve come across and Sugar Fish on West 7th Street for some of the best Sushi in LA.
If like me you enjoy a little beverage or two, then DTLA has a great selection of bars to choose from too with the cute Perch rooftop bar, the intimate Library Bar literally across the street from The Standard Hotel and the cool speakeasy bar Varnish. To finish the night off, why not head to the The Edison, a huge 1920’s themed dance club housed within a former power plant.
SCORE = 7/10
So how about the area around The Standard High Line NYC then? Situated in my favourite neighbourhood of The Big Apple, the Meatpacking District, soaring above the amazing High Line park…not bad eh?
Back in the 1920’s the area was home to over 250 slaughter houses and packing plants hence it’s name, however during the late 1990’s the area saw a transformation and went from a being a seedy red-light district to the fashionable and trendy area it is today.
If it’s designer fashion you’re after, then all the big name boutiques are here, Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney to name a few. The area also boasts less known up and coming high-end fashion designers such as Jay Godfrey and Owen to find those unique pieces.
The neighbourhood also offers some of the best dining in New York City, Fig and Olive on West 13th St offers cuisine inspired by the South of France, Spain and Italy. Set in a Mediterranean style interior with oak wooden floors, white washed walls and wrought iron artwork. Fancy a steak with a DJ playing in the background? Then STK Downtown is the place, think funky club atmosphere with great food and cocktails mixed in with the cool crowd and you’ve got the idea. Buddakan on 9th Avenue is a large cool Asian inspired bar and restaurant which for those of you who are fans of the hit show ‘Sex and The City” will recognise it as the venue for Carrie and Mr Big’s dinner the night before their wedding day in the movie.
Along with many fine dining eateries, the Meatpacking District also offers an array of casual dining and no where is that more so than in the trendy Chelsea Market. One of the best indoor food markets that I’ve seen, it boasts more than 35 outlets offering everything from nuts to coffee, perfect for breakfast, lunch or even just an afternoon snack.
The area isn’t just about shopping, eating and drinking but is also a great place for art too. The Whitney Museum of American Art was completed in 2015 and was designed by architect Renzo Piano. Numerous art galleries surround the area including the Ivy Brown Gallery, White Columns and you might even bump into Vogue Editor Anna Wintour coming out of the photography studio and gallery, Milk Studios.
Then there’s my favourite part of the whole neighbourhood, the famous High Line park. Stretching 1.45miles from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District passing under the Standard Hotel through to 34th Street, the disused elevated rail road has been transformed into an urban park. Complete with beautiful natural wild flowers, plants and trees the park is filled with art pieces, amazing views of the city and plenty of places to sit and watch the world go by.
Score = 10/10
Housed within a perfect example of Mid-Century Modern architecture the former headquarters of Superior Oil is now home to The Standard Hotel. Constructed in 1956, this 12-storey marble clad building was designed by Claud Beelman and William Simpson. Still to this day you can see examples of the building’s history with Superior Oil styled “S-shaped” door handles (quite convenient though as it could also represent Standard Hotels too) and within the Flower Street entrance is a metal bas-relief sculpture of an oilfield and refinery landscape.
The main lobby area features black marble flooring, golden toned mirrors, bright pink modular sofas and glass and gold side tables in a 1970’s inspired style. In the centre of the ceiling is a huge white minimalist moving art installation which instantly draws the eye when you enter.
The building is now home to 207 rooms, a rooftop swimming pool and late night bar, a beer garden, a 24-hour restaurant and a Ping-Pong Club.
Score = 8/10
Over on the East Coast, The Standard High Line was constructed in 2009 and it’s design was inspired by the work of the architect Le Corbusier, who was considered to be one of the pioneers in the Mid-Century Modern design era. His influence can be seen in the use of the five stilts that the hotel sits on above the High Line park and along with this, the incorporation of public space, it can be said to be reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s design for La Ville Radieuse.
Concrete and glass are two of the most prominent features to the building which is essentially two concrete slabs hinged together in a grid form which then houses the glass ‘curtain wall’ façade, also a common design trait of Le Corbusier.
The hotel lobby is intimate, with two small reception desks and a small seating area in black and white, while the walls are a feature in themselves and look like a giant cheese-grater.
The hotel features 338 rooms, a huge German beer garden, a rooftop late night bar, the celeb favourite lounge Top of The Standard, a full service restaurant, and an outdoor seasonal plaza area with ever-changing art and an ice rink in winter!
Starting at 300 square feet, The Standard offers their basic room, simply called Medium. Styled in greys and mustard yellows, the contemporary interior is cool, retro and simplistic, with 70’s inspired art work. The rooms have a cheeky almost playful feel to them, particularly with the full glass “show all” shower which can be seen from the main bedroom.
The rooms then progress after Medium, to Large, Double Standard, Huge, Gigantic, Humongous, WOW! and Penthouse. Large and Double Standard rooms feature the same grey and yellow interior and cheeky open glass showers along with Bluetooth speakers, luxury linens and extra long work desks.
Huge, Gigantic, Humongous, WOW! and Penthouse rooms carry on the same theme however they range from 420 square feet to a whopping 915 square feet for the Penthouse. These rooms feature separate seating areas, some with bright orange sectional sofas and open plan rooms with several featuring huge bath tubs in the centre of the room…ooo er!!
I was impressed with the size of all the room types, spacious and open with a calm and funky atmosphere. All rooms feature large platform beds, huge windows flooding the rooms with light and free-standing flat screen TV’s.
Score = 8/10
Back over in Manhattan the rooms at The Standard High Line start with the Standard Queen at 250 square feet, featuring floor to ceiling windows with views over the city. The retro interiors are Mid-Century Modern inspired with the use of walnut wood, white walls and linens and are influenced by the interiors of yachts, which can be seen in the clever use of space.
All rooms feature flat screen TV’s, mood lighting, floor to ceiling windows with views of the city and/or the Hudson River and luxury rain showers. I loved the feeling of the rooms, especially being a huge fan of Modernism furniture styles. The wooden cladding to the walls and ceilings create a real focal point above the bed.
Moving up to the Deluxe King room, a full size bathtub, complete with views of the Hudson River, is also featured along with a separate rain shower. A sectional seating area inspired by luxury yachts also feature tables that can be lowered to be a coffee table and also raised if a work desk is more appropriate.
If it’s a real wow factor that you are after, then the Hudson Studio rooms are a must. With over 400 square feet, these rooms have floor to ceiling windows on three of the four walls within the room. With views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, these stunning rooms are styled in the same neutral Mid-Century modern style and come complete with a huge bathroom with free-standing bath tub and an all glass rain shower…how amazing would that be as the sun sets over the Big Apple?
To really push the boat out then how about one of the hotel’s suites? The Liberty Suite covers 575 square feet with wood panelling, orange and red soft furnishings and a seven-foot round platform bed. The suite also has a lounge and dining area for six, a teacup two person bathtub and a huge walk-in rain shower, again for two!!
Score = 10/10
THE FOOD & DRINK
The Standard Downtown LA features a 24 hour restaurant, aptly called 24/7 Restaurant. Furnished in bright yellow with a retro diner vibe and a funky “bubble” style ceiling, it serves organically sourced classic dishes and cocktails.
On the second floor you’ll find the unique Spin Standard, a Ping-Pong Club and Lounge. It features three bars, DJ’s and 11 bright red Ping-Pong tables along with neon lighting. Cocktails and bar snacks are also available and is open till 2am most nights.
On the roof of The Standard you’ll find The Rooftop bar with stunning views over Downtown LA. The open air bar has a red Astroturf deck complete with animal topiary, funky lounge seating and water-bed pods. The bar features nightly DJ’s with a dance floor, outdoor fireplace and the hotel’s heated swimming pool. It has a great atmosphere with a good crowd of people and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a few cocktails before heading out to the clubs of LA.
Also on the rooftop is the Standard Biergarten, a small-scale version of the Standard High Line’s Biergarten, this intimate space offers a wide selection of beers, pretzels, wieners and strudels in a relaxed informal setting.
Score = 8/10
The Standard High Line offers a great selection of options with regards to food and drink. Starting with the American style steakhouse, The Standard Grill, this large restaurant is a staple of the Meatpacking District dining scene and is as much frequented by non-hotel guests as those staying at The Standard.
Arched tiled “underground” style ceilings, ox-blood red bench seating and leather studded booths create a warm Members Club type atmosphere. The floor is made up of thousands of coins, to create a real statement of copper and black from the shiny and tarnished coins. Wood panelling and low-level lighting create a real relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere inside, whilst the informal Standard Cafe and outside terrace decorated in a cool black and white palette, is perfect for those hot New York summer days.
Le Bain is the hotel’s rooftop open-air bar and club, open most nights till 4am, with amazing views of the city and hosts world-class DJ’s. Green Astroturf and brightly coloured Acapulco chairs create a real summer holiday vibe and in the hot months the club’s dramatic plunge pool on the dance floor makes for some very entertaining evenings!!
Situated underneath the famous High Line Park is The Standard Biergarten, a huge informal street level beer-garden that is open all year round. Long bench style cafeteria seating and Xavier Pauchard Tolix stools in green and white compliment the red bricked flooring and external walls. Serving a selection of beers, pretzels and sausages from 12pm till late everyday.
At the entrance to the hotel on the cross roads of Washington and Little West 12th Street is The Standard Plaza, a public outdoor area which changes with the seasons each year. Featuring every changing art pieces, in the winter months the plaza hosts its very own ice rink, while this summer, it has been transformed into a little piece of the Italian Amalfi Coast with a pizzeria and cocktail bar. Styled with white and black marble tables, terracotta and orange seating and red and white umbrellas, it’s a great way to spend a summer’s day brunch.
The main focal point of the Plaza this year is the art installation “Strengthlessness” by Iván Argote. In a rather risqué statement, Iván took inspiration from the Luxor Obelisk which stands in Paris and made it…erm…flaccid. Made from concrete, wood and gold leaf it is the exact size of the original and according to Iván; “It’s a symbol of power, but it’s an empty symbol.” He commented that it was appropriate to come to the US due to the current electoral race and as he states “The most powerful country in the world is going through this massive political crisis…It’s really scary.”
My favourite part of The Standard High Line Hotel though has to be The Top of The Standard lounge, a fabulously dramatic lounge which for me harks back to the glamour of old Hollywood and Palm Springs golden era. Rich golds, warm wood tones and cream leather seating oozes style and retro glamour.
The room is centred around a stunning wooden sculpture reminiscent of a Marie Antoinette style coupe champagne glass and also features a grand piano where live jazz music plays in the evenings.
The Top of The Standard is also host to some very exclusive A-List Celebrity parties including the after party for the Met Gala. Madonna, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga have all frequented this über cool spot, with Gaga even playing the piano!
Score = 10/10
It’s clear that both The Standard Downtown LA and The Standard High Line NYC are unique and stylish hotels, however there can only be one winner in the battle of the Coasts….
LA = 31/40
NYC = 39/40
So there you have it, the East Coast won the battle and deservedly so, The Standard High Line NYC is fabulously glamorous and a great example of Modernism right in the heart of one of New York’s most fashionable districts. If that’s not enough for you, it was also the scene for the famous “elevator-gate” incident involving Jay-Z, Solange and Beyoncé…now you really want to stay there don’t you?!