Urban Chic Retreat
After a dramatic $20 million renovation, The Garland goes one step further, unveiling a new, state-of-the-art redesign of The Garland Ballroom, and cementing its status as an award-winning event and destination hotel.
Among James Crank’s fondest childhood memories is time spent with his parents at The Beverly Garland Hotel. The iconic 257-room resort-style hotel was built by his father, Fillmore Crank, in 1972; and named for his actress mother, best known for her roles in My Three Sons and The Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
“I’d wander around the hotel with my father, who explained the purpose of the hotel’s design as rooted in the early California/Mexican tradition of earth colors, Saltillo tiles, courtyards and wooden beams,” recalls James.
“My mom’s mantra was ‘It’s the personal touch that counts,’ and she would take me along to stylize the guestrooms with funky clay urns and Laurel Canyon textiles … she’d even change light bulbs and rearrange flowers.
“My parents were just way ahead of their time. Their original motor lodge had suites with waterbeds, rooms with orange shag carpet and avocado drapery. Our bellman even wore orange vests. It was groovy, elegant and swank, but in those days, hotel operators just could not go it alone and they had to franchise.”
After his father passed away in 1999, James joined the hotel’s management team and worked alongside his mother until her passing in 2008. He is now the asset manager of the hotel and managing partner of the Rio Vista Development Company, which owns the seven-acre North Hollywood property on Vineland Avenue.
When James took the reins he decided to turn The Beverly Garland into an independent boutique property, renaming it The Garland, and spearheading a stunning $20 million renovation. Completed in 2015, the transformation includes 20,000 square feet of redesigned indoor/outdoor event spaces catering to groups of all needs and sizes, lush landscaping, chic contemporary guest rooms, and the creation of The Front Yard, a stylish, neighborhood restaurant with garden patio and fireplaces.
“I feel so absolutely fortunate and honored to have been given control over my parents’ wonderful legacy,” says James. “I found it really easy to imagine the hotel’s redesign in my parent’s original vision as a boutique property.”
Acclaimed as an urban oasis with stylish retro-cool design that has been embraced by tourists and locals alike, The Garland has been bestowed with national media recognition, including four consecutive years running in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for Top 10 Hotels in Los Angeles.
In March, The Garland unveiled its latest dramatic improvement—a $1 million-plus renovation of the 5,100-square-foot Grand Ballroom.
“With the redesign, we were seeking to meet the technological needs of our clients while also elevating and modernizing the look and feel of the space with new carpet, custom lighting, noise-dampening ceiling tiles and larger entry points featuring custom doors,” explains General Manager Scott Mills. “The ceiling reaches a height of 13 feet with multiple rigging points for presentation screens, allowing for theatrical lighting and projector installation without a ground footprint.” He adds that the most exciting aspect is how the revitalized ballroom now complements the hotel redesign.
Just steps outside the Grand Ballroom is Beverly Park, a verdant hidden garden providing an additional 4,000 square feet of outdoor space. Larger parties will be inspired by the bucolic charm of the adjacent Beverly Park West, offering more than 5,000 square feet of newly landscaped event space that can be transformed into a reception area, seated dinner area and dance floor. California Meetings + Events, naming The Garland a Best Outdoor Venue, recognized “the splendor of it all, complete with sycamore trees and dazzling lights.”
Complementing the wide choice of venues is the banquet team, which takes pride in ensuring every moment is cherished. “When you come to The Garland, you are in the company of family,” says Michelle Hunter, Director of Catering. “Many members of our banquet team have been with us for over 15 years … we embody the idea of feeling like you are stepping into our home with genuine hospitality.”
But what guides James most is his parents’ philosophy about the hotel’s place and purpose. “They both deeply believed that the local community was vital in weaving a successful neighborhood and city.”
James points to The Front Yard, helmed by executive chef Larry Greenwood, as the community centerpiece. “By designing the restaurant around the beauty of the outdoors, and championing local flavors and dishes, I can offer my neighbors a fresh and fun destination to gather.“
“We do our best to include local guests as well as our out-of-town travelers in our year-round programming,” says General Manager Scott Mills. “During the summer we host a concert series in our private outdoor venue, Beverly Park. In spring and fall, we host our biannual community block party with proceeds benefiting a local charity of choice.”
The Garland also organizes pop-up events and a weekly Dinner and a Movie series with guests moving from The Front Yard to the Beverly Garland Theatre for a family-friendly film screening.
When it comes to The Garland’s strengths, James views its employees at the top of the list. “One of the great parts of this business is building a team of diverse, creative and imaginative people. It’s a beautiful thing and is reflected in how often guests comment about the sincerity of our staff.”
“As a community staple for nearly 50 years, our hope is to continue to elevate the experience of our guests and serve as a retreat for upwardly mobile families, single business travelers, and adult getaways,” adds Scott. “And with our latest event space renovations, we are looking forward to welcoming members of the surrounding community for anything from a large-scale party to a dinner for two.”
The Garland, 4222 Vineland Ave. North Hollywood, 818-980-8000
Event space images Photographed by Gloria Mesa | Bridal shower image Photographed by Sanaz Photography
Plus, the owners on their secret for success.
Talk about defying odds!