Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, we found ourselves immersed in the landscape of Hollywood’s food, fun, and design. Restaurants, boutiques, and music venues were back to embodying a pre-pandemic buzz, busy with socialites looking for connection. At hotels around the city—including our home base, tommie Hollywood—visitors were traveling with a heightened sense of importance around the experiences they’d have, too. What interior spaces might they remember? What dishes or creative cocktails would they recall after they’ve returned home? Which spot boasted the best service?
When approaching the project, creating these unforgettable experiences was nonnegotiable for the interior designers at Studio Collective, as well as the hospitality company behind the hotel’s food and beverage outlets, Ten Five Hospitality. For a cohesive approach to branding, styling, design, and service, for instance, the hospitality firm's CEO and Co-Founder, Dan Daley, its Executive Vice President of Brand Experience, Sebastian Puga, and its in-house designer, Bernadette Blanc, focused on touchpoints that hinged on storytelling for an experience to remember.
Inside the hotel, every foot of space is filled with eye-catching art, varied lighting, contrasting materials and textures, lush plants, and a layout of space perfect for mingling, dancing, and dining. An equation fit for the senses, there’s a heightened approach to nearly all sights, sounds, and smells—with cheeky photos, table books, live music, and fragrances from the kitchen floating throughout the hotel at all hours.
At first, guests of tommie Hollywood are greeted to the hotel’s expansive lobby to find a mix of natural materials and warm hues. Setting the tone for lived-in ease and elegant comfort are the 212 guest rooms across nine floors that follow, as well as the food and beverage outlets at KA’TEEN, the hotel’s feature restaurant by Chef Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos, and Desert 5 Spot—the vibrant rooftop pool, bar, and lounge that offers 360-degree views of Los Angeles, creative cocktails, and weekly cultural programming. Over the weekend, it’s here in both spaces that guests can be found lounging poolside and line-dancing, as well as sipping mezcal cocktails until closing time.
Downstairs at KA’TEEN, after walking through a domed wooden tunnel, guests are greeted to over 5,000 square feet of outdoor dining space that embodies the magic of Tulum under strung lights. Paying homage to the Yucatan Peninsula’s culinary history, the refuge is a not-miss spot for a chic late-night social scene filled with delectable drinks and dishes—from Chef Avila’s Wes Colada cocktail to his unique take on Corn Esquite with ginger.
And upstairs at Desert 5 Spot, which was named after the Mojave Desert flower, visitors are immersed in a vintage Pioneertown-meets-Palm-Springs atmosphere. Like a photograph from the 1970s, the eccentric space shines with Western flare in all the right ways. Cacti and yucca plants surround the venue; long wooden couches topped with pillows dot the layout; pops of yellow and pink hues are seen in decor details and vintage signs; framed images of Dolly Parton and dusty license plates hang on the wall; service workers are outfitted in stylish uniforms, with elements available for purchase (like the iconic trucker hat); occasionally, a DIY taco truck makes an appearance on the roof, waiting for hungry cocktail customers; and the venue’s very own in-house band, The Desert Five All-Stars, plays country tunes into the early hours.
In both open-air locations, Ten Five Hospitality’s success sings through thoughtful details and impeccable service that’s both unique and memorable long after a trip to Hollywood has commenced. To hear how they’ve made this possible, Whitewall spoke with Daley and Puga of the hospitality firm.
WHITEWALL: Prior to co-founding and being the CEO of Ten Five Hospitality, you’ve spent the past 15 years in various roles in the industry—from restaurant and nightlife operations to hotel management and development. What do you feel sets your hospitality firm apart?
DAN DALEY: I think we have a differentiated perspective. Ultimately, the goal is to execute something fresh, new, and original. Something that is vastly different than everyone and everything else. It’s very uninteresting to us to try to do the same thing that every other hospitality company is trying to do. We take risks with the projects we do because that’s where we find creativity and that’s where the excitement is.
WW: What would you say makes a Ten Five Hospitality space a "Ten Five" space, as opposed to another? Is there something all of your spaces have in common?
DD: I hope our guests would say that they receive exceptional hospitality in all of our venues. In terms of design, I think what makes our places unique is that there isn’t a singular design feature that stands above the rest. The amount of thought and attention that goes into every design decision is painstaking at times and I think that is reflected in the final product.
WW: How did you initially approach the spaces within tommie Hollywood? What did you want the atmosphere to be like right away?
DD: Tommie is meant to be a fresh perspective on what it means to be a luxury hotel. The energy in the hotel is one of tangible excitement and energy. The design and finishes are elevated and we have really exciting dining and entertainment options with great service. Our team performs a number of traditional roles vs. the standard segmentation of responsibilities you find from bellmen to front desk to concierge et..its more efficient from a guest journey perspective and more efficient for us from an operating perspective.
WW: The pandemic impacted our ability to truly experience things. Did that impact your view of the importance of experience and atmosphere within hospitality? Hospitality at large?
DD: It didn’t really change our views. We have always tried to create spaces and experiences that have an energy and that attract all different types of people. Humans crave connection. We’re not meant to be isolated and the experiences we create I think offer the opportunity to pursue human connection in an environment that’s really sensory-driven.
WW: Where do you gain inspiration for your projects? Is there a specific city, brand, person, or movement that you regularly stay inspired by?
DD: We’re often inspired by movements in Europe and Asia. Its been the case for centuries that culture, fashion, and art move east to west so often we look to Europe and Asia for inspiration in design and experience.
WW: Where are your next projects taking place?
DD: We have upcoming projects in Miami, New York, and Vegas, so we’re certainly keeping busy and excited to announce our plans soon.
WW: Sebastian, can you tell us about your role as the Executive Vice President of Brand Experience at Ten Five Hospitality?
SEBASTIAN PUGA: I’m responsible for our brand development, strategy and conception, programming, and curating all touchpoints, which intersect with the guest experience and tell a story.
WW: In your opinion, what makes for a good experience at a food and beverage outlet?
SP: The touchpoints that tie our venues together are the most important elements to a venue. Outside of a great product, food, and service, people remember how they feel. The guest experience is transcended from the lighting, soundtrack, uniforms, branding, food, cocktails, and story we are telling. Everything must be in sync.
WW: Desert 5 spot evokes a relaxed Western oasis that is both unique and surprising and comfortable and familiar. How did you approach this concept?
SP: The concept, which was co-created with Wade Crescent, was intended to bring a laid-back desert vibe to Hollywood. We put together the best country music band in Los Angeles and formed The Desert Five All-Stars. Apart from the best house band, we have the top country artists perform, we host a cowboy karaoke night, line dancing, and a trading post every Sunday. All of the design and furniture were hand-picked from vintage shops. We approached it very historically to create a familiar Americana feel within the space.
WW: What about for KA'TEEN?
SP: For KA’TEEN, I was inspired by many nights in Tulum. We wanted to transport guests by creating a special dining experience in the jungle. We brought in so many trees to the space and created a jungle environment in the middle of Hollywood. Bernadette Blanc, our designer, really brought the space to life with the textures and style. Our Chef partner, Wes Avila, is the culinary mastermind behind the menu and has created the best Yucutan food you can find in Los Angeles.
WW: Both spaces seem to cater to both locals and visitors, and it seems you have many regulars. What do you hope both spaces evoke so that people return? Why do you think they do?
SP: With all of our venues, we put so much thought into the design. Our goal is to always create a unique product. We always approach things holistically in order to create something new for the neighborhood, and over-deliver on service, food, and experiences.
WW: For newcomers, how do you recommend they spend their time at KA'TEEN and Desert 5 Spot?
SP: Start the night with some friends at dinner in the outdoor magical jungle of KA’TEEN, followed by drinks and dancing at our honky tonk, Desert Five Spot.
WW: Of what importance is "experience" to a property like a hotel—specifically tommie Hollywood's food and beverage outlets? What about for a city like LA?
SP: Our goal is to always deliver the best experience from the moment you enter our venues. This is achieved with our team members, the execution of our food and cocktails, and our design touchpoints, which all transport guests out of the daily routine. Whether in a hotel or a stand-alone venue, it’s always our goal to leave our guests in awe and wanting to come back again by delivering a one-of-a-kind experience.