James F. Mills
Who needs Palm Springs when you can do a staycation right here in L.A. by checking into the San Vicente Inn, the only clothing-optional resort in L.A. Located in the heart of Boystown just steps away from the clubs and bars, the 19-year-old San Vicente Inn offers locals a chance to leave work behind, change their perspective and see WeHo through the eyes of a tourist.
“Something happens when locals check-in here,” reports owner Michael Hahn. “They become a tourist again. Their mind shifts and they often say they view Boystown differently.”
Such is the magic Hahn strives to create with this collection of bungalows that were built in 1902 to house streetcar workers. “I want this to be an urban oasis for the local person who wants to get away for a night or a weekend,” says the L.A. native who bought the Inn in 2008. “Or for an international visitor who wants the California experience.”
It’s hard not to have that California experience while at the San Vicente Inn. With palm trees, lush tropical flowers, a salt-water pool, sundeck and hot tub, one can’t help but be reminded of the California dream that movies and TV have fed us over the decades.
Those who haven’t been to the San Vicente Inn in recent years are in for a different experience. First off, it’s smaller than it used to be as the four buildings which face Hilldale Avenue have been separated from the property to create the KLEAN Treatment Center, a high-end drug and alcohol rehab center. But with the remaining eight buildings, Hahn has completely redone the 26 guest rooms, adding flat screen TVs, 1500 thread count sheets, unique artwork and luxury showers.
He’s also toned the sexual element down a few notches by eliminating the day passes. “It’s not a bathhouse anymore. We’re still a clothing-optional resort, but not the bathhouse it once was,” he says, while noting that the pool, hot tub and steam room remain open throughout the night.
About 50 percent of the guests are repeat visitors.
“We get everyone from 21-year-olds to retired gay couples,” says Hahn, who dreamed of owning the Inn ever since his first visit in 1992. “There are some people who stay here everytime they come to L.A. and conduct their business meetings right by the pool. It’s a special space for a lot of people.”
The San Vicente Inn is located at 845 San Vicente Blvd. (just north of Santa Monica Boulevard). Room rates run from $79 (singles with shared baths) to $229 (suites) on weeknights; $10-20 higher on weekends. (310) 854-6915; thesanvicenteinn.com