RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


A tour of the NoMad Hotel in DTLA

NoMad Hotel

Another interesting day in downtown Los Angeles. My friend KJ and I went on a private tour of the NoMad Hotel organized by Eleanor Schrader. This was particularly meaningful to me as when I was a docent with the Los Angeles Conservancy I would bring people to the building in its various incarnations.

(Just an anecdote, I remember many years ago when I was leading a tour, some movie company was shooting a film outside the building. They removed the tree that you see in the above photo. I was really mad. But as you can see, they did it carefully so they could replant it when the shoot was over, and today it is still healthy!)

NoMad Hotel

The 1920s were the glory days of downtown LA and the building known as Giannini Place, the home of the Bank of Italy, was no exception. The building morphed into the Bank of America, then attempts were made to renovate it for offices until it became derelict.

NoMad Hotel

So I am very happy this historic building has been totally renovated in the spirit of its original design to become a boutique hotel.

I popped downstairs to the restroom to discover that the vault had been converted to bathrooms!

NoMad Hotel

Click on an image to start a slide show of some photos of the hotel:

The interior of the hotel is gorgeous. But my favorite part is the roof bar and pool area with some great views of the city! Click on an image below:


NoMad Hotel

Above is the coffee shop decked out for the season.

freehand hotel

It was suggested that we should visit the sister hotel down the street for lunch, the Freehand Hotel in what was originally the 1920s Commercial Exchange Building. It’s so great to see these wonderful Beaux Artes buildings coming back to life as apartments and hotels after standing empty for decades.


The ambience of the Freehand is totally different from the NoMad. We both felt like we were in an Asian take on Yosemite! The wait staff emphasized that the chef was half Mexican, half Chinese which influenced the cuisine. We both chose the Tunisian sandwich which was a delicious take on a nicoise salad.

I love downtown Los Angeles.

Leave a comment

A stroll through Pasadena

PasadenaLast weekend I met a group of fellow walking enthusiasts at Union Station. We took the Gold Line out to Pasadena, a city of just under 140,000 inhabitants about ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Above is a photo of the Salvation Army band playing Christmas music. As you must know by now I don’t subscribe to any religious myths but I always support the Salvation Army this time of year as they do good work.


Pasadena has the distinction of being the fourth city in Los Angeles County to be incorporated (1886).


And, of course, the Rose Parade is the event that Pasadena is most famous for.


You can see my previous blog post about Pasadena’s Greene and Greene architecture here. Which the above photo obviously is not, just some interesting architecture… my guess would be the 1920s give or take… Art Deco on the left and what I call Southern California Eclectic on the right!


We got off the train at the Memorial Park station… and lo and behold, the park was a mere few footsteps away.┬áMemorial Park is about 5 1/4 acres and is home to Levitt Pavilion which hosts free summer concerts.

Below are some photos of that area: click on any photo to start the slideshow.


The Blind Donkey hangs out on Union Street. They have quite a whiskey menu if that is what you are into. I’ll stick to vino, thank you!

We passed some lovely Art Deco and Beaux Artes buildings on our way to the Paseo Colorado shopping center for lunch. I always cringe when I see a modern building and wonder what architectural splendor had to be knocked down in order to build it. I wish I could say our sensibilities were different today than they were in the 1960s or 1970s when so many beautiful “out of date” structures met the wrecking ball but unfortunately that is not the case.

Please click on one of the images below to start the slideshow:

We eventually made our way over to the Paseo Colorado shopping center. Colorado Boulevard is on the Rose Parade route. The boulevard has some nice older buildings (1920s, give or take a few).

PasadenaThe Pacific Asia Museum which has a wonderful permanent collection as well as innovative events. Worth the effort to get there in my opinion.


A short walk and we were at the Civic Center. City Hall and all that stuff. Click on image to start the slideshow:



An office building that was apparently once a church with stained glass windows.

Back to the Memorial Park train station and the Gold Line to downtown Los Angeles. This gentleman insisted on walking in front of my camera so here he is in perpetuity!


All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!