by Christina Perez | Vogue
The first time Jon Blanchard visited Santa Monica’s The Georgian Hotel, some 13 years ago, he was instantly struck. “I’ll never forget it,” he says of that moment. “It hit me like a bolt of lightning and I just knew. I thought, ‘one day, I want to own this place.’”
It’s easy to see why. With its bright turquoise exterior, striped awnings, and quirky Art Deco architecture, the building looks like something straight out of a Wes Anderson film. Located just a few blocks north of the iconic Santa Monica Pier, it presides over the bustling waterfront like a pastel beacon, begging to be admired. But up until very recently, there wasn’t much reason to actually venture inside. After a series of owners and a stint as a retirement home, the interior had lost much of its original charm.
Which was a shame. Because when The Georgian first opened in 1933, it was considered Southern California’s crown jewel. Locals called it the “First Lady”: nodding to its towering eight-story height, elegant aesthetic, and its reputation for hosting notable (and often notorious) guests. Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Marilyn Monroe were regulars, as were Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone. Much like the Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip, it was the place to see and be seen, except outside the front door, there were rolling waves, golden sand, and mountain views.
Now, The Georgian is beginning to resemble its old self again. In 2020, Blanchard’s company BLVD Hospitality—known for bringing the Ace Hotel and Soho House’s Soho Warehouse to Downtown L.A.—purchased the landmark property, finally making good on that long-ago lightning bolt. With the help of the design firm Fettle, Blanchard and his co-founder Nicolo Rusconi spent the last two years painstakingly refurbishing the hotel’s 84 guest rooms (including 28 suites), two open-to-the-public restaurants, dining terraces, art gallery, library, and lobby bar.
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