LIVING THE DREAM
With five properties under Tao Group’s cool canopy and a dream hotel above, Hollywood is having an unexpected resurgence.
The brainchild of four guys who summered in the Hamptons— Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, Richard Wolf, and Marc Packer—tao Group is one of the country’s premier restaurant and nightlife companies, with a portfolio that includes the biggest revenue drivers in both New York City and Las Vegas. But it’s the group’s new property in Los Angeles that is getting a whole lot of buzz right now. It’s located in what was once a less-than-appealing part of Hollywood—the corner of Selma Avenue and North Cahuenga Boulevard—but Tao Group and its partners at Dream Hotels had a long-term vision to build a community buzzing with nightlife and restaurants, and that is just what they have done. “It’s important to put Hollywood back on the map,” says Ayo Akinsete, general manager of Dream Hollywood, “making it one of LA’S staple neighborhoods, similar to Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and other iconic LA locations.”
The 150,000-square-foot property, almost as big as a block of midtown Manhattan, is a new cornerstone for Tao Group, featuring the 300-seat Asian eatery Tao Los Angeles; a rooftop restaurant called the Highlight Room, with a lounge, pool, grill, and views all the way to the Hollywood sign; Beauty & Essex, a flexible dining space with a vintage pawn shop; a nightclub called Avenue—all designed by the award-winning Rockwell Group—as well as Luchini Pizzeria & Bar, designed by Studio Collective, for late-night eating, located conveniently near Avenue. All of the venues are accessible from a pebblestone street created to make the Tao world feel quite intimate, and it does. Ideally for Tao Group, guests will book rooms at the Dream Hollywood—whose interiors, designed by the Rockwell Group, pay homage to the city’s iconic Midcentury Modern architecture—and never have to leave the property, much like an experience in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles is undoubtedly in the midst of a major hotel resurgence, but Hollywood has not been considered a desirable location for a long time. According to Tepperberg, however, “We are always very methodical whenever we decide to expand, especially into a new market. In regards to LA, we were waiting for the right opportunity to present itself, but until now, it hadn’t felt right. This block allowed us to bring multiple brands of ours to the LA market at one time.” The project represents nothing less than the rebirth of what had been a run-down neighborhood rife with drug dealers and the homeless.
Tao Group has been known for revitalizing neighborhoods, and it was essential to the company to find an area where it could work its magic. “We are always up for a challenge,” says Tepperberg, “even if we’re faced with a location in a neighborhood that requires us to create a new geographic trend.”
The number of new visitors that Tao Group is bringing to Hollywood weekly is astounding: Nearly 3,500 people enter and exit the property between Thursday and Sunday every week. That is hospitality gold. “Our crowds are always a mix,” Tepperberg explains. “Whether an actor, DJ, or performer, it’s all about curating the best scene. We’re seeing thousands of repeat guests coming to our venues on a weekly basis. It’s exciting to see that the LA market is embracing what we’ve created.”
“Dream Hollywood is truly unlike anything this city has ever seen,” notes Jay Stein, chief executive officer of Dream Hotel Group, “setting a new standard for hospitality and becoming a hotbed for creativity, culture, and entertainment. The Gunnar Peterson Gym at Dream Hollywood provides guests with a one-of-a-kind wellness experience, curated by the elite celebrity trainer. It is also home to Lipps, the eponymous West Coast venture of One Management founder Scott Lipps, which will represent top models, celebrities, and other Hollywood influencers.”
So what’s next in Tao Group’s expansion plans? A new boutique hotel in Manhattan. “Moxy Times Square is similar to Tao in Los Angeles in that it encompasses a few different concepts under one roof,” says Tepperberg. “However, for Moxy Times Square, we’re introducing a unique collection of venues with entirely new concepts exclusive to this project. We collaborated with Lightstone, one of the largest and most diversified privately held real estate companies in the United States, to develop these venues, which will each assume its own distinct atmosphere. From the beginning, we knew that this would be a different kind of project for us—we focused on attitude rather than exclusivity for these properties. And in part, it’s about the experiences to be had.” 6417 Selma Ave., Hollywood, CA, 323-844-6417; dreamhotels.com/hollywood; taogroupla.com
Both chicly modern and a glamorous throwback, Dream Hollywood is the new luxury hotel from Tao Group and Dream Hotels.
The patio of the restaurant Beauty & Essex, hidden behind a working pawn shop.
The grill at the Highlight Room, with spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills.
The dazzling new Asian restaurant Tao Los Angeles, headed by chef Ralph Scamardella.
Tao Las Vegas partners Lou Abin, Richard Wolf, Marc Packer, Noah Tepperberg, and Jason Strauss.