Last week, I was invited to a rooftop/poolside cocktail party hosted by the Chamberlain West Hollywood hotel. The views were awesome, and with a fire going on mid-pool (see photo), the ambiance was great. I didn’t get to see much of the hotel itself as the elevator zips you up to the roof directly from the valet parking level, so I can’t comment on the decor. I can, however, comment on the food and drink provided at the party.
The food was pretty. The drinks were colorful. But neither impressed me much.
While some of the food was prepared creatively – mini potato cups filled with creme fraiche and caviar, fruit sushi – few items actually stood out in terms of taste. The fruit sushi – fruit and fruit-flavored rice fashioned to look like sushi – pieces looked pretty, but in the end it’s fruit-flavored rice. There weren’t enough hot hors d’oeuvres, either. The fried risotto balls were great, and I saw some kind of taco being passed around, but they never made their way to me, nor did they seem to make a reappearance. I saw scallops being prepared, but whenever I asked for them, I was told they were for “later.” They never appeared.
Samples of the rooftop’s cocktails were passed around, and I had the Electric Lemonade (Ketel One Citron, lemonade and Sprite) and the Pama Mojito (10 Cane rum, Pama pomegranate liqueur, lime juice, sugar and mint). The Electric Lemonade wasn’t bad, though it was light on the vodka. The Pama Mojito, on the other hand, tasted like straight-up rubbing alcohol. It takes a lot for me not to drink an alcoholic beverage, and I could not drink this one.
Now, most of this stuff, with the exception of the cocktails, isn’t even on the Chamberlain’s menu. I would have liked to have tried food that’s actually served at the hotel, such as the madras curried french fries or grilled Angus and avocado sliders. Call me crazy.
Another kicker: The Chamberlain offers a Grand Cabana Package with fresh fruit, spa water, body mist spray, chilled hand towels, cable television and use of a Nintendo Wii for either four hours ($250 rental fee plus $375 minimum food and beverage spend) or eight hours ($500 rental fee plus $750 minimum F&B spend). That seems like a lot for not very much, especially in this economy. But the cabana fits up to 12 people, so I guess it’s not that expensive if you split the cost.
The Chamberlain is part of Kor Hotels’ Urban Retreat program, which offers discounts on room rates, food and beverage, cabana rentals, spa services and parking at select Kor properties (Chamberlain, Maison 140, Avalon, Loden Vancouver and Viceroy Palm Springs). Yearly membership costs $500, but it’s being offered for $200 for now through the end of the year. Attendees of this event got the discount cards for free. Maybe I’ll use it sometime to try out some of the menu items I didn’t get to try at the party. Maybe.