Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stevie Wonder, super-models and seriously high heels jam the Sunset Marquis launch party

It's not often all aspects of my writing career morph together into one event--music, fashion, hotels and movies. On Wednesday night, the Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas celebrated the completion of their 40 swank new villas, spa and restaurant. I recently wrote about the hotel's hidden coffee shop for the LA Times and I've covered the hotel for Fodor's since 2000. 

Now the grounds are leafy and the elegantly decorated villas (left) are filled with shimmery mosaic tiles and plush finishes--a stark contrast to the last time I toured the property with general manager Rod Gruendyke (pictured above with Stevie Wonder) when it was a dusty construction site. No expense was spared in the renovation including a pre-construction seance by a psychic who cleared the site of bad juju (not sure of the technical term.) The launch party featured tasty skewers of chicken, steak and even asparagus plus lots of passed plates of sushi rolls and some curious stuffed clams. 
Yes, some of the usual party suspects were there, but also a true mix of rockers (the Scorpions, John Hall), movie types (writer Cameron Crowe), fashionistas (designers Henry Duarte and the pink hair-hued Petra Zilla), super-models (in their own legion of the very tall and super-thin) and LA nightclub owners from Falcon and Cafe Was (which will open in two weeks per owner Ivan Kane).  
Because of the fashion connection, there were numerous examples of sky high heels (this 6.5 " pair are by DSquared)--even on the black clad wait staff. While sipping glasses of Mumm, I started waxing nostalgic about the early 80s version of the Sunset Marquis. Where I interviewed Dutch rockers Golden Earring  is now the poolside bar; where I interviewed Rush in the garden is now the path to the villas and spa.  I knew it was time to leave when I started trying to hum Golden Earring's only hit. Although he played only two songs, Stevie Wonder gave a nice benediction ("there's nothing we can't do when we come together in the spirit of love") and proved why he's a superstar by electrifying the crowd, who begged for more, with just one note of  "Superstition."

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