04 Oct Efrem Harkham | The Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel
Celebrating 30 years in the hospitality industry, we interviewed hotelier Efrem Harkham of the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, and found he has no intention of slowing down.
What were the circumstances that led you to become a hotelier?
Thirty years ago this year, I was inspired by the opportunity to implement my vision for an entrepreneurial hotel brand and take a “diamond in the rough” property and turn it into a jewel. I purchased what is now the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel – initially, as a pet project. Despite its prime location and unique architecture, I could not find a hotel representation firm that could make the hotel profitable. Thus, I aggressively closed gaps in the hotel’s management, cutting the hotel’s losses by half within six months and completely eliminating losses within the same year. Based on this success, I had a newfound passion for the hospitality and hotel business. I then purchased the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel in Beverly Hills. Today I own the Luxe Hotels brand, which has three properties in the greater Los Angeles area, and LWH Hotels, a hotel representation company for unique, boutique hotels with properties around the world.
After 30 years how do you remain enthusiastic – and how are you celebrating the anniversary?
Success is always a driving force to remaining enthusiastic. As an entrepreneur by nature, ideas are always brimming as to how to improve the hotels and their services. The best example of this is when I founded LWH Hotels, which was an outgrowth of my dissatisfaction with existing hotel representation companies that weren’t capable of giving my hotels the customized service I expected. Growth also fuels my passion; I am always looking for opportunities to expand Luxe Hotels into regions that are strategically relevant for our brand: Boston, New York, Seattle, etc. The ongoing expansion our brand, keeps me on the cutting edge of the industry and always excited about the next step. This year-long celebration includes ongoing programs, including an electronic cookbook of recipes from LWH Hotels properties and a video series about my experiences as a hotelier and the growth trajectory of the brand. Stay tuned for more.
Los Angeles is a big city, what made you decide on Brentwood for your first hotel?
In a way Brentwood chose me because the opportunity presented itself. But I would have chosen Brentwood regardless because the location offers my guests a quiet urban enclave in the heart of one of the most stylish areas of Los Angeles. Striking distance from the Getty Center, Bel Air, Hollywood and local beaches, the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel’s seven-acre property serves as an ideal “home base” for visitors wishing to partake in the quintessential Los Angeles experience, without getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of a big city.
What makes a great hotel?
A great hotel has a one-of-a-kind personality and individuality, which unfortunately is rarely found among major hotel chains and collections today. That’s why I look for differentiation in décor, often with an eye for local cultural sensibilities, or compelling design and architectural elements in each of my LWH Hotels properties. I look for properties that embrace their location and provide a comfortable respite for tourists and business travelers alike.
The interior design and the use of space at Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is wonderful – how do you keep things fresh and exciting from day to day?
It’s about change and keeping pace with the current trends in fashion and design. We take our cues from the fashion, entertainment and interior design industries. The hotel underwent a multi-million dollar refit, adding signature elements created by famed interior designer Mary McDonald to accentuate the property’s classic blend of casually elegant and contemporary features in earthy shades of taupe and chocolate-brown, offset by vibrant accents. In fact, we just updated the fabrics in our restaurant, On Sunset, for a splash of color, which we’re seeing more of in designer fashion.
Business or Pleasure – do you make the tourist and the business traveler feel equally important?
We recognize that Los Angeles is a core hub for domestic and international business travelers. As such, professionals staying at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel can continue their work seamlessly from the hotel’s de facto “home office,” which offers complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the premises, a business center and meeting rooms and special event venues of varying sizes. We also recognize that Los Angeles is a major attraction for tourists and often a stop for travelers heading to additional destinations. We focus on making the hotel a relaxing getaway, a respite for tourists experiencing LA’s world-class entertainment culture. We offer spacious guest rooms and suites, which are up to 45% larger than the national average size, 24-hour room service, laundry and valet services, shuttle and private car service. Additionally, arriving guests are welcomed with a complimentary choice of cappuccino or glass of wine, and Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel welcomes four-legged travelers less than 50 pounds, helping guests feel a little more at home.
How does the Luxe serve the Brentwood community?
Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel is as much a part of the local community as it is a travel destination for worldwide travelers. The hotel hosts community events and daily happy hours that are enjoyed by locals and travelers alike. The on site restaurant, On Sunset, is also often filled with a mix of local residents and hotel guests, all of whom relish the fresh California cuisine and Sunday Jazz Brunch.
What are your favorite neighborhood places?
There are many, but naturally, I tend to favor our restaurant, On Sunset. It offers a menu of innovative, fresh spa cuisine, as well as heartier fare all hand crafted by Executive Chef, Olivier Rousselle. The restaurant’s Sunday Jazz Brunch is also a highlight for travelers and locals. The brunch offers specially prepared plates and a variety of traditional brunch favorites, paired with swinging live music.
What’s unique about Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel that I would choose it over a dozen other nearby hotels?
The hotel is an urban retreat in the middle of Los Angeles, on seven acres of lush, pristine property, perfectly perched at the intersection of Brentwood and Bel Air. Convenient to Los Angeles International Airport and some of the most prestigious sites in Los Angeles including The Getty Center, Santa Monica Beach, UCLA, Skirball Cultural Center, Riviera Country Club and Pacific Palisades, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel offers stylish and supremely comfortable personalized care and service in a modern California environment. Whether visiting for business or pleasure, Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel offers a much-needed respite and the highest level of personalized attention.
Do you have any plans to retire? What are your plans for the next 30 years?
I’m too excited about Luxe Hotels and LWH Hotels to retire anytime soon. I’m planning to continue building respected brands that people trust and associate with luxury and service. You’ll just have to wait and see where new properties spring up and what will be coming to the hotels soon!
11461 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
T: (310) 476-6571