Those sailing down the 101 into Hollywood during the last few years have witnessed the distinctive skyline that includes the “stack of LPs” Capitol Records Building criss-crossed by cranes hoisting the massive 1600 Vine project high into the air. The $350 million project–with a 305-room hotel and residences, and the area’s first Whole Foods–is the neighborhood’s biggest development since the 2001 opening of megamall Hollywood & Highland Center, including the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held. But even though the Academy Awards have returned to Hollywood, the business of the junket–or, promoting the film, for those not fluent in cinemaese–has still stayed largely in the pastel hotels of Beverly Hills. The new W Hotel & Residences, which will open in November as the anchor of 1600 Vine, is hoping that it can lure this boon back to Tinsel Town, according to the New York Times.
Even if you didn’t know it was a junket, you’ve witnessed the millions of dollars spent on “junketing”: Picture Jack Black sitting in a random hotel room that’s made up to look like it’s not a hotel room, perhaps with a full-size poster of himself that just happens to be perfectly situated right over his left shoulder. The other half of the room, that you can’t see, is crowded with anxious publicists chewing on Starbucks cups and studio marketing reps whispering into their Bluetooth headseats. Now a reporter from E! comes in to ask Black a few questions. Now it’s Access Hollywood‘s turn. Repeat up to 50 times over the course of a weekend.
Some studios take their junketing even more seriously, often transforming the entire property into a themed wonderland for journalists. This has included preparing era-approriate food a la French pastries for Marie Antoinette, or toting live snakes for Anaconda, or putting an impromptu skating rink in the Beverly Hills Four Seasons for Blades of Glory.
The W was actually designed for all those junket needs by Dallas-based HKS, says the article: Some hotel rooms need at least three bathrooms, large enough for the glam squad of hair and makeup artists. Others need furniture not necessarily for sitting on, but that can be staged quickly for interviews. And of course, all those cameras need a place to plug in, so the power grid has to be extra robust. The “junket complex” even has a courtyard built for parties and an open-air theater for screenings. Or, maybe for growing an entire jungle to promote the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are. A junketeer can dream.
We guess the rest of us who want to stay there will be relegated to a series of small closets for the regular people. Or we could always buy one of the W’s luxury condos, affordably priced from $800,000 to $9 million, and live forever in Junket Land.
[Via: Curbed LA]