Pret-a-Reporter

Historic Theater Turned Intimate Hotel Opens in L.A.'s Chinatown

Courtesy of Hotel: Kim Sing
Hotel: Kim Sing

The Kim Sing Theatre was once the home of Harrison Ford's son Willard and is the place where Katy Perry live-streamed her life this summer in support of her album 'Witness.'

Hotel: Kim Sing was the newest bolt-hole to open in Los Angeles, with a late-summer debut on the edge of Chinatown and downtown. But the hotel actually has a few links to Hollywood.

The historic structure opened in 1926 as a vaudeville house and later operated as a movie theater showing kung fu films. Later, in 2000, Willard Ford, Harrison Ford’s son, renovated, modernized and lived in it, also using it as a furniture and fashion showroom. This past June, Katy Perry used it as her hideaway, where she spent several days live-streaming her life 24/7 after releasing her latest album, Witness.

Following Perry’s renovations and updates, which were made with the help of Etc.etera interior designer Sally Breer and property owner Indra & Co.’s Ash Pathi, the space in question is now operating as possibly the smallest hotel in L.A. — it has three bedrooms that can sleep 10 with en suite bathrooms, but is reserved as one single unit (from $1,199/night).

But the hotel, which feels like the city’s best-kept secret, boasts a lot more than a few well-made Casper beds for its guests. For one, there’s a private 2,200-square-foot courtyard festooned with bistro lights and palm trees, plus a view of the top of downtown’s skyscrapers.

Inside, there are original bow-truss ceilings and masonry exposed brick walls. Thanks to Perry, the sloping property now has a groovy '60s-feeling, velvet-clad "conversation pit" and pillow-laden, all-white meditation dome that was custom-constructed by hand in a loft space. The design is expected to change in the future, as those running the hotel like the idea of playing with it and evolving the look.

The full kitchen is cool blue and modulated, with a distinct '70s vibe. (The fridge even matches the pastel cabinetry.) A movie theater is the place Perry used as her “confessional room.” The decor is light and bright throughout, with a pink shag carpet, retro floral wallpaper and midcentury bedside tables in the master and a bright blue door with original bathroom signs (ladies and gents in Chinese characters) for the powder room.

This hospitality experiment, if you will, is designed to give guests the luxury of a hotel (Lather amenities and plush white towels are in every bathroom, for example, with a fab concrete-tile bathtub in one) with the comforts of home, in a location that encourages contact with local businesses and L.A. natives. In the hotel’s "backyard," the Brazil- and L.A.-inspired SPLA coffee shop opens this fall, with a restaurant concept still to come on the same block.

Hotel: Kim Sing, 718 N. Figueroa St., L.A., 310-570-2380; kimsingtheatre.com

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