ACE HOTEL DTLA: A Modern Interpretation

The ACE Hotel downtown Los Angeles is the latest in the ongoing revitalization of the south side of the flourishing and exciting developments in DTLA.

Less than one year old the hotel is virtually brand new and is currently undergoing  hotspot status in the perpetually evolving historic core.

Most notable is the fact that the hotel was originally built as the United Artists Building in 1927. It was the flagship theater of a chain that would become the largest in America. The modern design team has beautifully restored much of the original architectural features and added modern design that naturally blends in with the old.

The rooms are adequate, modern yet cozy. The suites are spacious, some equipped with turntables, records and guitars, the perfect elements for an impromptu soiree.

The rooftop bar and pool make for a spectacular place from which to admire the beautifully detailed design of the original tower up close, especially when lit up at night. With a rotating roster of DJ’s the ambiance is perfect for cocktails al fresco.

The ACE Hotel DTLA is an exciting addition to a revitalizing neighborhood. With a rooftop bar and pool, restaurant and adjacent United Artists theater, this property is sure to be a DTLA destination for some time.  At least until the next hotspot arrives.




ACE DTLA Turntable

photo 2 (2) - Copy


ACE DTLA Master Tub


ACE Tower


Frida Kahlo:: The Museum of Latin American Art

March 15, 2014 was the opening ceremony for the new exhibit, Frida Kahlo, Her Photos, at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA. The exhibit is based on a book of the same title published in 2010 and edited by Mexican photographer, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, also curator of the exhibit.


The photographs are part of Frida’s personal collection housed in her family home, La Casa Azul, near Mexico City. After her death in 1954 Diego Rivera donated the home to the people of Mexico as a museum. Personal belongings and artifacts in the home including paintings, clothing and photographs were put on display in the museum, while everything else was stored away for over 50 years.

In 2007, Pablo was asked to unseal and go through the photos. In a 2012 interview with Noreen Naseer of Art Beat on PBS, he said, “I started looking, and the idea was to do a show with all the stuff that was there in La Casa Azul, which was not a very big museum.  So when I was asked to curate that show, I did, but as I started looking at the work, I was so fascinated that started working on a book, Frida Kahlo:  Her Photos.”

Pablo went through over 6, 000 photographs. Of those only 200 are on display at MOLAA, reflecting six different elements: origins, family, loves, broken body and photography.

In the exhibition we see her father the photographer as a young man, handsome with passionate eyes; and also as an elder in his twilight years. He was a well-known photographer of his time and also took many self-portraits, an influence we see in Frida’s own works.

Guillermo Kahlo

Guillermo Kahlo

Photographer Guillermo Kahlo

Photographer Guillermo Kahlo

Frida is well known for her vibrant and dramatic paintings, many of them self-portraits, but did you know she was also a photographer? The exhibit includes photos taken by friends, her family and photos taken by Frida herself.  In her photos we see models of life recreated in her paintings:  indigenous life, landscapes and the Ford Motor plant that would become an iconic image in Diego Rivera’s work.  Some of the most striking photos are those of Frida after the major accident that forever changed her life in actuality, in thought, in art. You see a vulnerable but transparent Frida.


“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint”-Frida Kahlo


The event at MOLAA was a bit chaotic.  There were many, many people which created long lines through every step of the evening.  The space is not big and most of the photos are small, which made the careful viewing of the photos a tedious experience. I will definitely go back again on a less crowded day to better take in the experience.  Also, there was no book about the exhibit available; not the one the show was based on or any local publication.  It was unclear as to why but I suspect many would have wanted the souvenir for purchase, as I did. Aside from the exhibit halls there was live entertainment in the sculpture garden, food and mini artisan market in the back outdoor space and fun photo prop spots, bar and DJ in the interior studio. Overall there was a vibrant energy and excitement, all components for an excellent night at the museum! Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get an intimate view of Frida and the life she lived in this very personal collection of photos on display at MOLAA.

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, The Host of the Coast

Remembering the Millennium Biltmore Hotel of Los Angeles on this eve of the Academy Awards show of Hollywood, more commonly known as the Oscars.  In 1920 film making had become the largest local industry in the City of Angels. The hotel was one of the early homes of the awards ceremony, hosting it for a major part of the 1930’s and early 194o’s.

A Dazzling Jewel In The Heart of San Francisco: The Palace Hotel

This my personal review of the Palace Hotel in the financial district of San Francisco.

The Palace Hotel makes an astounding impression upon first sight. A grand lobby, high ceilings, and ornate decorative details tell of times long ago and instantly captivated me. Though the original 1875 Palace Hotel was damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the “new” Palace Hotel was reborn only a few years later in 1909.

My room itself was an entry-level category and showed signs of wearing in the carpeting and bathroom; also, the internet was a bit unreliable, hugely important for travelers.  Nevertheless, overall I found it to be very spacious and comfortable. The bed was plush and dreamy, there was a soft robe in the bathroom and most impressive was the complimentary bottled waters.  When many hotels charge $5 to $10 per bottle, this is a huge plus in my book!

As I was traveling alone I decided to have a nightcap at the Pied Piper Bar, located right in the hotel.  This bar wonderfully compliments the rest of the hotel. There is a lounge of tables near the bar for those looking for an intimate drink, adjacent to the bar is another room for more lounging, dining and dancing. Lucky for me the Klipptones do a Swing Jazz night every Friday and were there on that night. I had a few relaxing glasses of wine while listening to the music and watching swingers dance, a perfect treat.  It was an adventure of an evening without even leaving the hotel! A win-win for a girl on the town on her own.

The Pied Pier Bar

The Pied Pier Bar

The Klipptones performing modern Swing Jazz

The Klipptones performing modern Swing Jazz

What are some of your must-have amenities when you check into a hotel?

Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, le chic c’est delicieux!

A step into the Avalon Hotel is a step back in time. The hotel’s unique design is true to its 1950’s beginnings, outfitted with luxe marble, mirrors, pale blues and grays. Recently renovated it offers all of the modern amenities travelers expect but with the retro chic inspired design of a classic era. 

Dining poolside

Dining poolside

Nestled along the borders of a quiet residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills, it is close enough in proximity to local shopping, restaurants and (for those looking for a night out on the town) the bustling nightlife of West Hollywood.

However, if you prefer a night in, the Oliverio Restaurant provides a unique dining experience right in the hotel. Whether in a cabana or at a poolside table, the dim lights and quiet setting make for an intimate dining experience. And the food is great. Homemade pastas (pappardelle con Ossobuco), hand tossed pizzas, fresh and local ingredients. If you’re a truffle lover do order the risotto al tartufo (you guessed it, truffle!), you will not be disappointed. Or the pizza salsiccia e tartufo.

Cauliflower souffle

Cauliflower souffle garnished with tartufo

My favorite? The luxurious cauliflower souffle. Velvety, smooth. Absolutely perfect, sinless decadence. The Oliverio Restaurant is worth a visit to the hotel alone. Book your night of nostalgic glamour today!

Big Sur, Califoria Majestic

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Big Sur. When I think of heaven, this is it. To breathe, to see, to feel.  A majestic, monumental beauty sprawled along an unspoiled California coastline, Big Sur is a must see at least once in your lifetime. Regardless of … Continue reading