L.A.’s Latest Members Club: Petit Ermitage’s Roof Goes “Private”

Step aside, Soho House, there’s a new members club in L.A. Sure, it may not share the social pedigree of London’s well-known chain of clubs. And yes, it’s really just the top floor of the Petit Ermitage hotel, where guests who stay below luxuriate poolside. But the top floor of this West Hollywood haunt just might be worth the price of admission for locals who want to enjoy a rare slice of mahogany-laden, Spain-meets-Morocco majesty in the middle of WeHo – and a touch of real privacy.

Earlier this year, the hotel took first steps toward making the scene on the 4th floor more exclusive, rebranding the Private Rooftop Club “guests only” and locking down the elevator via electronic key card. But technology alone does not a members club make. What does make it are the curated events, which marketing director Kristen Daie (formerly of the storied members-only City Tavern Club in Washington D.C.) plans on a weekly basis. The view, similar to that at Soho House, doesn’t hurt either.

The evening events run the gamut from the mundane (wine tastings) to the merry (lingerie runway shows). Members are given discounts – 50% off valet, for example – and first dibs on seating at their buzzing Sunday “gypsy” brunch, where exotic eats such as python and alligator are served alongside Bloody Marys.

Already, Daie says Petit Ermitage has sold many memberships at rates comparable to annual membership dues at Soho House. Prospective Private Rooftop Club purveyors must apply and interview with a two-person committee.

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The idea for the members club is Ashkenazy’s, and the hotelier curates his members as carefully as the décor (the hotel boasts tiles he sourced personally from multiple European countries, and oozes old world Euro-charm). The end result is an experience akin to a relaxed yet social evening at the Chateau Marmont, which, of course, is still free.

Unlike the Chateau, however, Ashkenazy’s proven that there’s apparently no shortage of people willing to pay annual dues for a bit of exclusivity in L.A. away from prying eyes. For that, thank the Petit Ermitage’s laid back, unique vibe, which isn’t easily replicated by chain hotels in the immediate area, or even in analogous neighbors such as the Chamberlain, which has tried to cultivate a “scene” atop their roof deck for years.

Petit Ermitage has achieved an effortless buzz this year similar to what hotels such as 60 Thompson successfully implemented over a decade ago, when the Manhattan boutique first made their roof deck private. It’s a simple yet effective way to build a base from which to draw a bohemian (yet moneyed) crowd. Yes, celebrities come here, but they come for the respite from the tyranny of L.A. “hotspots.” For those who have experienced a chilly night under a blanket near the fireplace while looking out over Los Angeles, glass of wine in hand, any price is worth keeping undesirables out and clients or loved ones in.

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