L.A History

The city of angels is nothing if not a city of reinvention, and the Culver Hotel is a fitting reflection of that. Established by visionary Harry Culver, who founded Culver City in 1917, the hotel—now celebrating its 10th year under the helm of owner/creative director Maya Mallick—has been one of the key players in revitalizing the now-thriving downtown area. With Culver City concurrently celebrating a century of change, the timing couldn’t be better.

“It’s magical when a city gets to be in the midst of such a resurgence during its Centenary year—Mr. Culver would be proud,” says hotelier Mallick, who orchestrated the unexpected comeback of the Culver Hotel, transforming the historic landmark from a faded icon to the vintage-meets-modern beauty it is today.

Considered a drive-by town a decade ago, Culver City has become one of LA’s most attractive urban neighborhoods. Both Culver Studios and Sony Pictures are headquartered there, Platform and Helms Bakery house trendsetters in retail and design, the Hayden Tract is the architecture hotbed of the moment, and the lively Arts District and culinary scene draw Angelenos from every corner of the city and beyond. Add some of the best schools, a new light rail system and a perfectly central location, it’s easy to see how, as Harry Culver once said, “All roads lead
to Culver City.”

Indeed, it’s a city that has fulfilled its destiny as imagined by Mr. Culver back in the day, when he lured movie studios to the area and created a balanced community where people could work and live. Many don’t know that Culver City eventually rivaled Hollywood in the film industry and was dubbed “The Heart of Screenland.” Once a vanguard in silent movies, it is still at the forefront of entertainment and technology, with everyone from ambitious start-ups to power players like Apple, Disney and Amazon settling in. Its energy seems as innovative and dynamic today as it was in the 1920s.

Mallick’s description of the city’s rise could just as easily apply to the trajectory of her hotel. Armed with her entrepreneurial and fashion background, love of architecture and design, and a singular vision honed by years of international travel, Mallick meticulously restored the 1924 flatiron building with an elegant, eclectic edge. The hotel’s stylish rooms, lively bar and dining scene capture the perfect mix of old-world glamour and modern sensibility. “Whether you are sipping a Ruby Slipper with classic Culver City movies playing in the background or peeking into Harry Culver’s original vault, you will always find a subtle homage to the past woven into your experience,” says Mallick.

With its storied ownership (John Wayne and Charlie Chaplin were former proprietors), legendary guests (including Greta Garbo and Clark Gable) and rich cinematic history, the Culver Hotel’s celebrity game is strong—and it continues to flourish today. In contrast to a decade ago when the hotel was a no-go zone, current guests shouldn’t be surprised if they bump into Francis Ford Coppola chatting with an interviewer, Reese Witherspoon posing for a photo shoot, or John Legend giving an impromptu piano performance on the patio.

What makes The Culver Hotel so charming for luminaries and locals alike? “The hotel has a big soul and great character,” says Mallick. “It’s an authentic experience that doesn’t feel staged.” Such an impactful presence in the city is an impressive achievement, and the Women in Business Leadership Council fittingly chose Mallick to be the 2017 recipient of the Trailblazer Award, acknowledging her extraordinary contribution in transforming Culver City as a premiere destination.

It is with this spirit that the Culver Hotel will kick off the next 100 years with the Centennial finale on September 23rd, 2017, hosting a lavish vintage masquerade in partnership with Angeleno magazine. As Culver City enters a new century of modernity and innovation, everything old is new again and history is reimagined.

As published in Angeleno Magazine
September, 2017

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