Rock and Roll
Kelly Wearstler gets into the groove with the Hard Rock Hotel's high-roller suite
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Glamour is standard fare for Kelly Wearstler. Not only is she known to march around her office on a Monday morning in a pair of gold stilettos, but her design firm, KWID, is known for sprinkling Hollywood Regency stardust on luxury-hotel renovations. The glossy red walls and Chinoiserie at Maison 140 in Beverly Hills are pure Wearstler. Ditto for the graphic wallpaper and citrus-colored furniture at the Viceroy in Palm Springs.
Even so, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino owner Peter Morton seriously upped the ante in commissioning Wearstler to merge eight guest rooms on the 11th floor (originally an uneven mixture of suites and standards) into a single 5,000-square-foot high-roller penthouse. It's larger than a top-floor suite at the Bellagio and the Venetian combined. "Vegas is such a competitive city," she says. "Everyone has to have the newest attraction." Particularly when it comes to indulging rock-star guests. The suite had to have a bowling lane, Morton explains, largely because Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst had once suggested it.
Wearstler tamed the most blatant bad-boy elements by applying rich textures and restrained colors. She treated the walls of the bowling lane, for example, as a canvas for a composition of octagonal mirrors set in ebonized-wood paneling. When the living room's huge flat-screen television threatened to mar the view from the entry, she installed a screen of matte brass chains in between.
The chain-link screen represents a compromise between Wearstler, who lobbied for a proper vestibule, and the hotel's vice president of new development, Harry Morton (Peter's son), who preferred the idea of a vast, unbroken living room. Wearstler emphasized the entry experience with a zebra-stamped cowhide rug and two square ottomans with tufted tops and gilt frames.
The living room's custom seating is upholstered in rich, tactile wool and faux suede. And its cocktail table, a massive slab surfaced in brass and marble, is reinforced by a steel frame able to support the weight of four table-dancing high rollers. The obligatory bar is just off the entry. Panels of antiqued mirror serve as the back bar, a contrast to the highly figured onyx of the bar's front surface.
Wearstler went more clubby than glam in the game room. She surrounded the billiard table with cherry parquet floor, wood-grain vinyl wall covering, and custom lounge chairs with brass-tack trim. The suite's other star feature appears behind walnut-framed bifold doors: Wearstler enclosed part of a balcony to create a room for a hot tub. Glass mosaic tile clads the walls and floor; ochre vinyl upholsters stylized wing chairs. "You can hose down everything," she explains.
Guests who are hot-tubbed out or bored of billiards have a choice of three bedrooms. In the two smaller ones, the designer indulged her Hollywood Regency leanings, mixing tufted headboards, gold paisley wallpaper, and groovy seeded-glass pendant globes. She exercised considerably more restraint in the 1,000-square-foot master bedroom, dominated by the rectilinear frame of a steel four-poster. She also designed a lacquered console with a vintage look to complement two white pedestal tables by Eero Saarinen. Overhead, everything is repeated. Yes, the ceiling is covered in 450 square feet of antiqued mirror—this is Vegas, after all. What more could any rock star want for $10,000 a night?