A king Robin Room features custom-made furnishings, commissioned artwork and farm-chic decor. // © 2017 Farmer’s Daughter Hotel
Feature image (above): Farmer’s Daughter Hotel is conveniently located near The Grove shopping mall, The Original Farmers Market and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. // © 2017 Farmer’s Daughter Hotel
It’s not every day that you’re asked to join a young man in a hotel restaurant’s bathroom so that he can show you the peep holes and risque wallpaper.
“See, it’s the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but with an, um … bestiality twist,” said Michael Mazzirado, the executive office administrator of Farmer’s Daughter Hotel, motioning to the Kate Bright-designed pattern as he led me into the restroom at Tart, the property’s aptly named on-site eatery.
But, then again, such a thing isn’t unusual for Farmer’s Daughter. The Los Angeles boutique hotel got its start in the 1960s as a “kind of shady drive-up motel,” according to Mazzirado, who also noted its former nickname of “notell” during our property tour. In 1999, Peter and Ellen Picataggio took over the hotel and renamed it, infusing it with the story of a young country girl in the big city. After a remodel in 2001 and a multiphase renovation that was completed in February, the hotel continues to nod to its seedy past with cheeky touches — such as the titillating “peep show” box in Tart’s bathroom — while also offering contemporary design elements that keep with L.A.’s urban chic vibe.
The 66-room hotel, located near The Grove shopping mall, The Original Farmers Market and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, moves seamlessly between rustic, kitschy, sexy and modern. For example, the pool boasts a flower wall, giant rubber ducks and an of-the-moment neon sign. Meanwhile, brightly colored, Dutch-style bicycles — available for guest use — sit next to a canary yellow “lending library” that’s located at the hotel’s front area; here, guests or even passersby can take a book or leave one. Two playful parakeets chirp from inside their cage in the hotel’s light-filled lobby, which has a gift shop that sells both vintage and pop-culture items. A small room just off the lobby features an Art-o-mat, a former cigarette vending machine that has been converted to dispense art — only one of two of such machines in L.A.
Guestrooms have been treated with the same kind of tender attention to detail. In the 24-unit “barn building,” the recently refreshed Tack Rooms showcase black-and-white mural-like wallpaper by artist Bright, along with a sliding barn door between the bedroom and bathroom. Beds are donned with denim and plaid fabrics atop crisp white sheets, and large built-in double desks provide plenty of workspace. Each Tack Room also offers a flat-screen television, a Nespresso coffee maker, a minibar, a minifridge and a bathtub.
The barn building also houses the honeymoon suite, dubbed the No Tell Room. Situated in a cozy corner of the building, the suite is, according to the hotel’s website, perfect for a “mellow get-together or a seductive rendezvous.” Suggesting perhaps that the space is best for the latter occasion, the No Tell features a mirror above the bed, along with copper fixtures, painted murals, dark leather and wood decor, Lather bath amenities, soft lighting and a full wet bar.
The main building, meanwhile, holds the Robin Rooms. The renovations to these rooms — completed in early 2016 and in collaboration with designer Meg Joannides of MLK Studio — included design changes meant to give the rooms a more modern, urban feel. These include bathrooms separated by a glass wall from the bedroom area, grass-cloth wallpaper, bespoke furnishings and headboards, a flat-screen TV and a built-in sofa. Rounding out the refresh are small touches such as original artwork by Vermont artist Jesse Azarian, a minibar, an alarm clock with Bluetooth speakers, a Nespresso coffee maker and curated Taschen books (my room, for instance offered a saucy book on the history of pin-up girl art). The bathrooms feature rainfall showerheads and C.O. Bigelow bath amenities.
Additionally, all of the property’s king guestrooms feature a unique art box, each designed by a different artist to depict his or her interpretation of the “farmer’s daughter” lifestyle.
The hotel’s other suite, the Farmer’s Suite, is located in the main building, offering a king bed, a living area, a sleeper sofa, a kitchenette and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, along with large, colorful paintings on the walls and a view of the courtyard below.
The outdoor courtyard, also revamped during the property’s enhancements last year (along with the pool area), fuses vintage 1960s style with the present, with details such as succulents, fire pits and wood furnishings accented by gingham and bold-patterned pillows.
Adjacent to this area is the on-site restaurant, Tart, which opened in 2006. Devilish bathrooms aside, there’s plenty to come here for. Dishes include 28-day-aged Piedmontese tomahawk steak, seared polenta, house-made pappardelle, squid ink spaghetti and — my pick — miso-glazed sea bass, which I attempted to not devour in one bite alongside garlicky bok choy, carrots and snap peas. Be sure to pair dinner with a drink from Tart’s “Sassy Sippin’” cocktail menu, which serves up libations with names such as Minx, Hussy, Trollop, Escort and, my personal favorite, Strumpet — the restaurant’s take on an Old-Fashioned.
Before I settled into a long, luscious dinner, however, Mazzirado eagerly escorted me along Tart’s outdoor patio, complete with twinkling lights, a brick fireplace and more succulents. We passed through the eatery’s speakeasy-style interior — adorned with copper-colored leather booths and a gallery wall of vintage artwork sourced from local flea markets — and into the aforementioned provocative restrooms. As he continued to point out the many small details that help tie together Farmer’s Daughter ambiance, his enthusiasm for all things mischievous became contagious. I felt that, like the hotel’s coquettish namesake, I, too, was about to be set loose in the big city.