Just south of Hollywood’s storied Whitley Heights neighborhood, a small hotel with a big-name designer is planning a December debut.
The new hotel from PRG Hospitality Group, The Whitley, is slated to open at 1850 Cherokee Avenue in what was most recently a rent-controlled apartment building. When it reopens, it will be a 24-room boutique hotel with interiors by renowned designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who has worked on homes for Elton John, Cher, and the Kardashian and Jenner gang.
The structure was built in 1939, and supposedly housed Jean Harlow, Marlene Deitrich, and James Dean, among others, though a 2009 historic assessment of the building found “no historic personages were identified with building.”
Bullard is leaning into the property’s Old Hollywood proximity and giving the interior a glamorous Hollywood Regency look. A lone teaser photo of a model room in the hotel shows richly colored wallpaper, an emerald-green in-room bar, and golden accents. A release for the property said the decor will mix custom wallpaper and furnishings with “vintage finds.”
“I’m delighted to be creating something design-wise that really honors the city and old Hollywood itself, which is still the back bone of style and economy in Los Angeles,” Bullard said.
The hotel will have two floors of guest rooms, including suites, as well as a lobby, lounge, and a central courtyard with outdoor seating, landscaping, and a fountain.
“We continue to be focused on creating fantastic, bespoke hotels that speak to California’s unique personality,” said Britten Shuford, co-founder and managing partner of PRG Hospitality Group, which already has six hotels under its belt, including some in Laguna Beach, Palm Springs, and San Luis Obispo. “With its rich history and striking aesthetic, The Whitley is a perfect addition to our portfolio of special properties.”
1850 Cherokee was almost demolished in 2009, when the owner planned to erect condos on the site. City records show the 18-unit building was emptied of its tenants in 2013 via the Ellis Act, which allows property owners to take rent-stabilized properties off the rental market.
By 2015, the building owner had decided instead to create a hotel in the existing building—a late-in-the-game change that reportedly resulted in about half of the tenants not qualifying for relocation assistance.