After an $11 million makeover, The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills hopes to bring new excitement to its venue with the debut of a new bar and the revamped Boxwood restaurant. The luxury hotel, now in its 10th year, will start offering an al fresco dining experience next month on its renovated rooftop pool deck.
Inspired by English country house conservatories and orangeries, the brand-new London Bar is adjacent to the lobby. Meanwhile, the Boxwood dining room was redesigned to create a more open space for guests.
“The bar feels like the heartbeat of the hotel — it pulls guests into it,” says general manager Jeff Kulek. “It was very much needed in a space that really didn’t have any energy; it was just a walkway with a skylight.”
To make room for the bar, a private dining room and a large office were removed.
“We created this magical area that is really transforming the hotel, making our guests happy and providing a social environment where people want to be,” Kulek says.
In 2015, a $27 million upgrade added an 11,000-square-foot penthouse inspired by Vivienne Westwood, a 110-seat screening room and a fitness center.
At the culinary helm of the hotel is executive chef Anthony Keene, who created new menus for the bar.
“Anthony is an inventive chef; every product that we make is made here. He has his own bakery and refuses to buy even a croissant outside of the hotel,” Kulek quips.
“He makes ice cream in flavors I have never heard before. We have had popcorn ice cream and Guinness beer ice cream — so very unique.”
“California inspires my cooking and creativity,” Keene says. “Los Angeles has become such an important part of the U.S. food scene. You have all the farmers out here and there is a lot of focus on quality food. A friend of mine goes to the farmers markets for me and picks out the freshest food. It’s great to have that at our fingertips.”
Keene is mindful of the hotel’s mix of London and California influences. “We try to stay relevant, incorporating local flavors while keeping our finger on the English foods as well,” he said.
On the menu, which changes seasonally, Keene puts his own creative spin on items such as sticky toffee pudding, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, curried cauliflower and oxtail tacos.
Both the London Bar and revitalized Boxwood restaurant have British-inspired cocktails to pair with the California cuisine.
“Gin is very hot right now,” says Karim Lakhani, executive vice president of food and beverage at Northwood Hospitality, the establishment’s parent company.
“Some of the British gins that are coming out today are very well embraced by the American clientele. It’s also a comfort for our travelers coming in from London, who feel very at home with us.”
Lakhani works closely with Keene to create unique culinary and mixology experiences for guests.
“The London has developed a unique cocktail called the Goldfinger, which is an infusion of gin and Italicus, an Italian aperitif. We do a tableside, interactive experience with the guests — you just can’t find that anywhere else,” Lakhani says.
The Goldfinger Martini
“Served for two”
7 oz. Bulldog Gin
1.5 oz. Italicus
6 pods cardamom
¼ vanilla bean
1 sprig fresh lavender
6 toasted Marcona almonds
Few threads saffron
3 black peppercorns
1 kaffir lime leaf
1 sprig fresh mint
1¼ oz. Rooibos tea
1 cinnamon stick
Lemon and orange peel
Add gin and Italicus to bottom of a glass and aromatic (dry) to top. Place butane under bottom on low to medium flame and gently heat. Once liquid is on top let infuse for 2 minutes and stir. Turn off heat and liquid will return to bottom of the vessel. Carefully remove and pour into glass. Finish drink by dusting with gold flakes.
The London West Hollywood, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 854-1111, thelondonwesthollywood.com.