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July 13, 2015

Perfect Pairing: Michael Berman + Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

Photo Credit: Christian Horan

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica has a new look (with 32 newly refreshed bungalows), thanks to interior decorator Michael Berman. “The the idea was to create individual spaces that we each curated separately,” says Berman, of the bungalows awash in a palette of soft sky blues and green tones. “We didn’t want it to feel like you were walking into a hotel, but give the impression of staying in a guest house, or in a residence away from home.”

For the California-meets-surf-meets retro modern vibe, Berman, who initially masterminded the property’s first residential-like Bungalow One last summer, carefully curated the spaces (all replete with outdoor patios) with unexpected accessories and materials such as ceramic tile flooring meant to mimic hardwood, and vintage lamps, skateboards, surfboards. Other design touches include graphic, teak wood-and-lacquer wall sculptures, custom-designed polished nickel bathroom fixtures, and white plaster seagull “Paloma” chandeliers from his own Michael Berman Limited collection. “We incorporated a lot of materials that you wouldn’t expect to find in a hotel,” he adds, of the rooms also designed with ample storage room intended for short or lengthy stays. “It’s more tactile, and more luxurous, and more residential, so if you stayed in several you’d get a similar experience, but each one of the spaces was put together as though we were putting together many different rooms. There’s a thread that runs through all of them, and something that I call barefoot luxury, or the feeling I wanted to evoke when you walk into the space, where the guest can kick off the shoes, and relax on the sofa with a margarita or a negroni and relax.”

Berman also worked with an art consultant to create a sense of place and pay homage to the hotel’s history. “I said, ‘lets delve into some historic Miramar photography,'” he adds. “There are some really great old photographs of how the hotel used to look including a woman diving into the swimming pool that’s probably from the 1950s, as well as beauty queens from the 1950s. And we mixed it up too. I have a passion for photography, and I love the idea of  black-and-white and pictorial imagery in the room. We have vintage postcards of Santa Monica Beach and Malibu. It’s always interesting to see where you’re staying and what it used to look like before.”

For the three-phase project (all bungalows will be fully completed by early next month), Berman fulfilled a longtime goal. “This was really my first big hotel installation,” he says. “I’ve designed the furniture for years, some used by many architects and designers all over the world, and I’ve been dying to do my own space for a long time. This is cool because it’s my own fingerprint. It’s so exciting as a designer, and to see how guests mingle and use the space. Then to hear the feedback, and have guests book over and over again. It’s very gratifying, and I’d like to do more, hopefully.”

By Jennie Nunn

Pictured: Newly redesigned bungalows at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica
Photos By Christian Horan

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