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The Garland: Boutique hotel combines retro with chic in North Hollywood

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It was the era of shag pile rugs, geometric wallpaper and copious amounts of orange. Many would say the ’70s retro flare is long forgotten, but at The Garland hotel in North Hollywood, California, the bold, vibrant patterns are alive and well — perhaps to the delight of the late legendary actress Beverly Garland (1926–2008).

Upon arrival, a bellman opened my taxi door and assisted with my bags. In the lobby, a desk clerk welcomed me with bright eyes and a contagious smile while an open fireplace crackled in our midst. Ahh, after a busy morning of travel, I finally felt at home.

The Garland, North Hollywood, Califfornia

Photo: The Garland The Garland, North Hollywood, Calif.

The clerk led the way outside toward my room’s building. The Garland yields faint vibes of an up-scale college campus; it’s secluded within seven lush acres and divided into several buildings. Little did I know I was walking through an era before my time — and time has only improved this boutique hotel.

Hollywood roots

In 1970, legendary Hollywood actress Beverly Garland and her husband Fillmore Crank discovered the bucolic property while planning to create a hideaway for friends, family and guests. Together with Las Vegas hotel impresario John Kell Houssels Jr., they decided to build one of the most stunning North Hollywood hotels of the time. The property became an oasis within the high-energy excitement of Los Angeles.

James Suite, The Garland, North Hollywood, California

Photo: The Garland James Suite, The Garland, North Hollywood, Calif.

The 1950 noir classic D.O.A. launched Garland’s 50-year career that included 40 movies and dozens of TV shows. She went on to gain cult status for playing gutsy women in low-budget exploitation films like The Alligator People and a number of Roger Corman movies, including Gunslinger, It Conquered the World and Naked Paradise.

In the mid-’60s, Garland showed off her humorous side in the short-lived sitcom The Bing Crosby Show. She went on to become casted in My Three Sons, highly considered Garland’s most memorable work. She played the second wife of MacMurray’s widower Steve Douglas during the last three seasons of the popular series that aired from 1960 to 1972.

She also played noteworthy roles in Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and 7th Heaven.

Left to right: Scott Elliott, associate editor Cortney Erndt, James Crank at The Garland

Photo: Group Tour Media/Cortney Erndt Left to right: Scott Elliott, associate editor Cortney Erndt, James Crank

After settling into my retro yet modern room, I returned to the lobby for a group tour of the hotel. A large portrait of Garland graced one of the lobby’s textured walls. It felt like she was welcoming us to the hotel herself; even in black and white film, her warm smile made the room glow. As Garland would say, “It’s the personal touch that counts.”

Along with other hotel staff, Scott Elliott enthusiastically greeted my group. Elliott is partner to James Crank, a son of Garland and Fillmore Crank. In 2000, the hotel was handed down to Crank, whose posh style influenced the expansion of the hotel into a resort.

Exquisite dining

After showing us the ins and outs of the property, like the bar, pool, gift shop, and indoor and outdoor group meeting spaces, we were brought to The Front Yard. A restaurant with apparent Los Angeles roots, The Front Yard showcases the City of Angel’s diverse food culture with plenty of seating al fresco.

The setting felt more like a neighbor’s luxurious patio than a hotel restaurant. A large fireplace crackles in the corner, while other fiery burners are displaced throughout the cozy atmosphere. Potted plants and foliage surround the patio, lit up by dazzling strands of lights gently draped over tables, creating an elegant evening ambience. Elliott said other groups opt for the bar lounge located inside, and small groups sometimes choose the private dining room.

The Front Yard, The Garland, North Hollywood, California

Photo: The Garland The Front Yard, The Garland, North Hollywood, Calif.

We first tried The Front Yard’s exquisite flatbreads, which could be meals in themselves; one had feta, broccolini, chili flake, garlic, rucola and red sauce, while another combined grilled peach and prosciutto with gruyere, white sauce and port reduction.

The main plates also were phenomenal, like sliced dry aged angus ribeye with chimichurri, shishito peppers, fingerlings and maitake mushrooms. And The Front Yard team helped pair our meal with impeccable wines and artisanal cocktails.

Hip happenings

The following morning, after reminiscing about the relaxing evening over breakfast, general manager Scott Mills led my group on an urban walk.

Associate editor Cortney Erndt, "FRIENDS" set, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Burbank, Calif.

Photo: Group Tour Media/Cortney Erndt Associate editor Cortney Erndt, “FRIENDS” set, Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Burbank, Calif.

We explored Studio City with a stroll through the neighborhood, stopping to see The Brady Bunch house in all its glory. Mills answered questions about the Los Angeles River and other noteworthy sites and buildings along the way. We refueled at Aroma Coffee & Tea Company, known for its locally sourced coffee and scrumptious baked delicacies.

The Garland hosts urban walks every Tuesday, with a variety of activities on other days of the week, like courtyard games, tai chi yoga, California craft beer tastings, a personal trainer open house and “dive-in” movies by the pool.

In addition to The Garland’s regularly scheduled happenings, the hotel also hosts Noho Arts District Workshops taught by Hollywood professionals exclusively for groups of 20 or more.

Those interested in acting and film can participate in Auditioning For The Camera, which teaches how to make a lasting impression when it counts. Or during a Noho Improv workshop, groups can learn to think on their feet like their favorite improv comedians — think Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen and Jim Carrey.

My group visited Warner Bros. Studio, located less than 10 minutes from The Garland, for a Deluxe Tour. The incredibly surreal six-hour journey took us to the sets of famous shows and movies like Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls, Big Bang Theory, The Dark Knight and Jurassic Park

Mills said other groups opt for a free trolley ride to Universal Studios or CityWalk. The Garland’s trolley can drop groups off at the Universal City metro station, which provides easy access to Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles.

Chic, relaxed and centrally located, The Garland is close to Hollywood landmarks, popular attractions and world-renowned business epicenters. I was thrilled to check in and check out the most glamourous oasis in Los Angeles, all within close proximity to the hustle and bustle of the city’s best. Although Garland made more than 200 TV appearances throughout her career, the star’s abiding legacy seems to be her eponymous North Hollywood hotel.

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About Author

Cortney Erndt, Associate Editor

Cortney Erndt oversees Student Group Tour magazine and contributes to all Group Tour Media publications, online and in print. She has an affinity for adventure travel; find her on a sky ledge — maybe sky diving — and reporting on it. Her favorite destinations connect cityscapes with captivating culture and good coffee.

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