Situated in the heart of the world’s entertainment capital, the recently revamped Hotel Amarano, designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), is set just around the corner from Warner Brothers Studio and one mile from Universal Studios Hollywood. The hotel is a hotspot for celebrity guests, professionals in the entertainment industry, and visitors looking for a genuine Hollywood experience.
“The inspiration for the design and identity of this project came from the known and lesser-known history of Hollywood and Burbank,” says senior project designer at HBA Los Angeles, Aysegul Conboy. “Hearing stories about Hotel Amarano’s legacy from hotel ownership and management reminded our HBA Los Angeles team of Hollywood’s infamous Garden of Allah, a discreet hotel/home owned by 1920s silent movie actress Alla Nazimova. Working in tandem with our branding firm, HBA DNA, we pursued the idea of creating a ‘home’ personified by a fictional muse and gracious host named Amara, which translates to ‘grace, mercy, and kindness.'”
The design team read and imagined stories about Garden of Alla and delved deep into the history of Burbank, drawing inspiration from the city’s namesake, David Burbank. By imagining themselves living during the times of the movie studios and surrounding ranches, they developed a palette of refined glamour.
“Visiting Hotel Amarano is like visiting Amara in her home—familiar and full of surprises at the same time thanks to her years working with Hollywood A-listers and entertaining the entertainers,” says Conboy. “The guestroom and public space design is guided by Amara’s vision and channels the essence of the Garden of Alla through a relaxed, cozy Spanish revival theme. Amara’s spirit of hospitality and charming wit are infused into every space of the property, from the cozy corners in the lounge to the corridors and lift lobbies speckled with scripts, photos, and keepsakes from Amara’s well-traveled industry friends along with mementos collected from her own moments of stardom.”
Hotel Amarano’s lobby features a residential ambiance with black-and-white marble flooring, dark barrel-vaulted ceilings that contrast with white walls, and a chaise lounge in lived-in blue leather that anchors the space. A large-scale installation characteristic of Amara’s white horse projects out from a wall, teasing the unexpected surprises that await.
The hotel’s restaurant, FYC Bar + Kitchen pays homage to the entertainment industry, featuring comfortable living room-style golden velvet banquette seating and art-filled walls recalling the sheep ranch owned by Burbank. An alfresco patio is reminiscent of a residential courtyard or garden atrium adorned in lush landscaping, Spanish accents, and hanging lanterns.
“While designing Hotel Amarano, we dreamed of a home that celebrates Southern California with unique art, crafts, and architecture,” says Conboy. “The feel of the interiors is meant to be cozy, residential, eclectic, and filled with curiosities to explore.”
By choosing colors that enhance the character of the interiors, such as navy, taupe, white and gold, the hotel has taken on a luxurious theme that will transport guests back to a period of glamour and mystique. Playful wallpapers, antique mirrors, and eclectic rugs are layered to bring the soul of Garden of Allah alive and into the space.
“The hotel lounge is filled with life and stories,” says Conboy. “We aimed to create a cozy living room setting where we see a number of furniture and fabric styles working with one another. We chose wood parquet tiles for flooring with area rugs that weave together patterns from a variety of cultures. Walls painted in white allow the many unique artworks to stand out, including interesting objects and a mix of modern and traditional pieces.”
Furniture is mostly neutral in tone, while banquettes and patterned fabrics add pops of color and intrigue, and the inspiration for colors and materials for the public spaces continues into guestrooms.
“Accommodations are designed as if they were Amara’s own,” says Conboy, “each infused with her personal collection of artworks and carefully selected furniture pieces on display. Rich upholstered headboards provide a feel that is quite residential and creates a dramatic contrast in color against the dark painted walls.”