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But late last year, nightlife impresario Sam Nazarian, the guy behind some of L.A. coolest and best-designed haunts, decided to enter the hotel market and hip up the luxury niche. Could he make his new venture, the SLS, appropriately sassy without losing the formality and class of a proper five-star hotel appropriate to the City of Angels?
The location is certainly ideal: In the former Hotel Meridien on La Cienega, a couple of blocks south of 3rd Street and the Beverly Center. You could walk between the two -- if anyone in Los Angeles ever actually walked anywhere. The clubs of West Hollywood are about five minutes east, and on a good day, LAX is 20 minutes down La Cienega.
Sometimes the best way to evaluate places like this is to simply take the big names out of it and appraise the place as a product. That's what I did. Without the splashy names to impress you, will you still be impressed?