Opened in 1926, Mayfair half hotel/half bed and breakfast “HOSTELRY”, all was well for Mayfair as it quickly became the “it spot” for social clubs and group parties hosting operas, tea sittings and the first ever Oscar Party. By the 1960s however, the Mayfair was already being described by the locals as shabby with even its immediate surroundings unpleasant and in much need of renovation.
Designed by local architects Curlett and Beelman with a 2 million dollar budget, the Mayfair with its 13 stores, 340 rooms, and 200 car garage, was adorned with custom, handmade wooden furnishings designed by Barker Bros and a dance floor made of glass, patrons called “The Rainbow Isle.”
In 1961, Charles W. Cole bought the building and decided to restore the Mayfair to its original grandeur; adding a convention room and 1000-person banquet, lending an additional 1.5 million to the project.
Ten years later Cole would sell the Mayfair to Ben Weingart who later passed the renovation torch to Chip Yong and Mei Lin, in 1979, who not long after signing the deed decided the best choice was to empty the hotel in order to continue its renovation.
But, the tenants had other ideas. Led by Tilden Chapman, about 20 tenants filed suit stating that Yong forced them out by limiting their use of utilities in order to do so. A settlement was reached – $500 to leave and come back after renovations or $1000 to leave and not return. But, that wasn’t the end. A year later the courts awarded the tenants 1.3 million in wrongful eviction fees, pain and suffering, you name it. But, this surreal life drama would continue adding with it accusations of murder, double-dealing, conspiracy, coercion and gentrification claims from the tenants. A superior court judge eventually overturned the tenant’s appeal. In the end, the tenants were left with – well, not millions.
RENOVATION is TRENDY
The trend to renovate the Mayfair may have become more of a nightmare for Yong but the 1980s and the promise of a grand Olympics would see a turnaround. Receiving a Rose Award rather than a lemon, from the downtown ruling elite for its role in the community in 1985, the Mayfair would finally begin regaining respect and the support it demanded.
The Whimsical Death of JK Binford
In 1930, J.K. Binford, a guest at the hotel did what onlookers could only describe as a “swan dive” from the seventh-floor balcony. Binford landed completely on his head after completing an imperfect athletic dive routine — first extending his hands before jumping and attempting a flip, very soon after only to hit the pavement with a splat instead of a splash.
The New Mayfair Hotel
Today, the Mayfair is owned by ICO Group who acquired the property in 2012. ICO is the same group that owns the Broadway Lofts and Pacific Electric Lofts in the Historic Core. The area is developing too, thanks to a local bar, nearby live performance house and around a dozen neighboring storefronts offering hip, art related, and trendy lifestyle items.
Continuing in tradition the group has been remodeling the Mayfair since 2016 with plans to reveal the new lobby, furnishing and fixtures, and plenty of artistic nuances in April.
Joining the ranks of hotel boutiques Metropolis, Freehand and Hotel Figueroa, the Mayfair will reemerge following a top-to-bottom redesign and introducing glamorous new spaces, dining and guest programming that reinterprets its early 20th century character with contemporary style and substance as designed by Gulla Jonsdottir, who has infused a sense of contemporary glamour that bridges the hotel’s Roaring Twenties vintage original flooring, brass fixtures, fluted charcoal-colored column pillars into existance with a modern Downtown L.A. edge.
Executive Chef Scott Commings, winner of Fox’s “Hell”s Kitchen” will present Eve American Bistro, a stylish, sultry eatery that takes its name from Eve Cressy, the main character of Raymond Chandler”s short story “I”ll Be Waiting,” which he wrote while living at The Mayfair with his mistress in the 1930s.
The historic design is contextualized to modern-day LA with the help of artwork curated by Artist-in-Residence, Kelly“Risk” Graval, a renowned graffiti artist whose works reflects modern, edgy Angeleno culture throughout the hotel.
With picturesque views of the City of Angels, the 15-story building’s flexible accommodations span size, price, and style to offer guests their uniquely-suited Downtown L.A. Escape, starting rates will begin in the 200s.
Also, intimate and unique public spaces throughout the hotel for guests to unwind and reconnect including a sultry Library Bar, custom-built Podcast Studio, a communal Writing Room, and Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea-managed cafe. mayfairla.com