The San Vicente Inn, a 26-room West Hollywood oasis of gay-friendly clothing-optional hospitality with its salt water pool that has fallen on hard times in the past decade, has been purchased by the Sunset Tower Hotel owner, Jeff Klein.
According to Mr. Klein, he bought the inn because, “it’s one of the most magical, special places in all of West Hollywood, and it deserves a lot of love and attention.”
The hotel will remain gay-friendly (and open to one-and-all) and clothing optional.
In an exclusive interview, he told WeHo News that the sale went smoothly. The lease that allows KLEAN, a high-end boutique drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment center to operate on the west side of the property remains.
What did not remain in place, however, is the formerly loose oversight and supervision of guests that led to the inn’s well-deserved reputation as a meth and drug den.
The sale closed a little more than a week ago and was kept tightly under wraps until the world-renown hotelier could make some fundamental changes at the boutique hotel, mainly cleaning out some long-time residents with years’ old hotel bills.
According to Mr. Klein, he looked the other way on hotels bills that had accrued before his purchase but began to monitor the collections immediately thereafter, billing the guests for each day they had possession of the rooms.
“People who did not pay their bills,” he said, “well, the hotel is losing enough money as it is, so we needed to fill those rooms with paying customers.” After billing them, he said he gave them more than ample time to pay the bill, “I asked them if there was something I could do such as put them on a payment plan… unfortunately the three guests that did not respond,” had to be escorted from the property by the Sheriff’s Department with City staff oversight, as laid out in the law.
The last guests to leave were suspected by law enforcement and city public safety staff to have been the drivers behind the meth and drug problem, although no evidence to support the suspicions was found nor was anyone arrested for possession. One woman removed from the property was noted by Sheriff detectives as someone they “knew very well.”
With a fresh slate of guests, a new staff doing the maintenance and housekeeping and a general facelift of rooms and landscaping embarked upon. Mr. Klein feels that a new day has dawned on the San Vicente Inn. "We have a zero tolerance policy towards drug – we're serious about making the Inn a safe place for people to enjoy."
The fact that a world-renown hotelier with a historic building on the National Register of Historic Places in his portfolio would invest in and clean up such a place is meaningful to the city. In 2004, Jeff Klein purchased the then-St. James Hotel to refurbish the Art Deco building and bring it back to the luster it had lost during two other incarnations.
He also owns a New York City hotel called the City Club Hotel, a high-end boutique hotel just steps from Times Square.
Asked how much he paid for the San Vicente Inn, he laughed and said, “too much,” but asserts that the purchase was made more out of love for the city and the property and a desire to restore it to its former splendor.