An icon in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, the Sportsmen's Lodge has been around since the 1880's. Known then as the Hollywood Trout Farms, it was famous for its trout fishing lakes. Visitors would come from all over just to fish here. Renamed Sportsmen's Lodge in 1945, the property gave the guests a chance to fish for their own dinner, take it to the kitchen, and enjoy it that evening. Legend has it that Tallulah Bankhead, Lena Horne, Bette Davis, and Joan Blondell baited hooks with liverwurst and drank martinis. The pier was also said to be Clark Gable's favorite fishing spot. Unfortunately, the 1971 earthquake rerouted the stream and the fishing was no more.
That didn't stop people from enjoying the events at the Sportsmen's Lodge Event Center - where even today you can book parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and club events for up to 800 people. Catering from various styles, even kosher, can be had. Stroll around the open gardens, listen to the pond spring, feed the wild ducks and feel the calm as, despite being so close to Ventura Blvd, you are almost isolated. One of the best places in the Lodge is the River Rock Lounge where you can dine in elegance or just have drinks and dance the night away.
The hotel, itself, which sits on over eight acres, opened in 1962 with 190 rooms and had rates starting as low as $9 for a single room or $25 for a suite, is now being totally remodeled and still remains a bargain as most rooms are under $150. The designer of the new look, Aimee Winkler, of Partners in Design, showed us some of the new facets of the modernized rooms. "My goal is to create spaces that bring a relaxes, modern feel that will be welcoming, friendly, and energizing, while maintaining the soul of the past." Not only does each room hold the usual bed and dresser, but it has a desk created for today's traveler with plenty of electrical outlets and in house wi-fi. Curl up in the lounge chair while working on your iPad. Made to be kid friendly with extra large family rooms and suites with adjoining rooms, the hotel can also be a romantic get away. "The hotel," says new owner Larry Broughton, CEO of BroughtonHotels, "is a contemporary, boutique hotel that retains the spirit and legacy of the past, while moving the property firmly into the present." There are numerous ramps and elevators for those with disabilities.
Sitting around the Olympic size pool - one of the largest hotel pools in the San Fernando Valley - you can enjoy cocktails and entertainment Among the renovations, due to be completed in September (2013), are private cabanas with tables for eating, TVs, wireless internet, drapes that can be shut for privacy, as well as chaise lounges. The entire area evokes a Palm Springs hotel with a Hollywood feel.
You can also take their free bus to Universal or anywhere along the way, including the CBS studios on Radford.
Next to the pool is the casual Patio Café, where you can have breakfast or light meals, and is a favorite meeting place for those seeking a quiet establishment to talk. It's an ultimate urban escape for business or pleasure.
While the hotel is still very much open for business today, I'm looking forward to September when I'll be seeing the fully modernized lobby, with its conversation niches, and uplifting décor and the flat screen TV which will spotlight a unique helicopter view of Studio City. Be sure to say hello to manager Russell Edmond and Adolfo Maldonado, who has been bell captain here for the 33 years of the hotel's 50 year existence.
For more information go to www.sportsmenslodge.com or call 818 769 4700. The hotel, itself, is located at 12825 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, Ca 91604