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MY WEHO: SARAH DANDASHY, LES CLEFS D’OR CONCIERGE

MY WEHO: SARAH DANDASHY, LES CLEFS D’OR CONCIERGE

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Read below for the fun interview/feature I did with the City of West Hollywood! http://www.visitwesthollywood.com/blog/my-weho-sarah-dandashy-les-clefs-dor-concierge/

By: Ben Harper

Inside information from locals celebrities and tastemakers who work, play and live in WeHo.

Sarah Dandashy of the London West Hollywood. Sarah Dandashy of the London West Hollywood.

West Hollywood may be a small city, but it’s packed with restaurants, spas, lounges, and things to do! To find the best spots in West Hollywood, you have to talk to the locals.

If you’re looking for a source of information about West Hollywood, you can’t do much better than Sarah Dandashy. A concierge at the luxurious London West Hollywood Hotel, the host of Ask a Concierge, and a member of the prestigious concierge association Les Clefs d’Or, Sarah makes her living directing visitors to the most interesting places and events in and around West Hollywood.

We caught up with Sarah to ask her a few questions about the city:

How long have you lived in West Hollywood, and how have you seen it change over time?

The WeHo Pick-Up. The WeHo Pick-Up.

I have lived and worked in West Hollywood for three years now, and it is incredible to see how it has changed even in that short amount of time. The city has really embraced the art and design community and there have been a large number of new restaurants and shops that have opened up. From the permanent addition of the rainbow crosswalks to the cool sculptures finding new homes around the neighborhood to the amazing new library, West Hollywood is growing in such a positive way! Even the WeHo PickUp Line is a great example of how the city really makes a point to give back to the community and the inhabitants with creative and relevant services.

What is it about West Hollywood that drew you to the city?

I personally feel that West Hollywood is the most centrally located neighborhood in Los Angeles. Whether you need to get to Santa Monica, the Valley, Beverly Hills, or Hollywood, we are just a 15 to 30 minute drive from most of those areas. Another quality of West Hollywood is its walkability factor. In a city so spread out, it is nice to be able to walk to the grocery store, the gym, and if you’re lucky, work! Oh, and I love that there is a bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd. though West Hollywood! This city is always forward-thinking and really makes an effort to make this a comfortable community to live in.

The beautiful patio at Gracias Madre. The beautiful patio at Gracias Madre.

As a Les Clefs d’Or Concierge, you have to keep up with all the newest developments in West Hollywood hospitality. What are some of the most exciting new places in WeHo?

I love trying new places, and there is always a new place to explore in West Hollywood. In the restaurant world there is Lisa Vanderpump’s newest addition, PUMP, on Santa Monica Blvd. Of course, Gracias Madre has been here for a year now, but it’s still so stellar it deserves a mention! And a really new place is Ysabel on Fairfax (where the old Lola’s used to be), complete with a beautiful sparkling patio for romantic dining al fresco.

A cappuccino in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone from Alfred in the Alley. A cappuccino in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone from Alfred in the Alley.

For coffee fans, like myself, I was thrilled when Alfred Coffee opened up their second location, Alfred Coffee {In the Alley}, on Melrose! But there are many other great places to grab a cup of joe like the classic Urth CaffeDialog Café, and even the new Euro Caffe on Sunset Blvd. A personal favorite is Café Om is located on Fountain. This intimate, family-owned shop is perfect for getting work done outside of your home. Tolga and Nesrin are the owners and they make a point to know the orders of all of their regulars. It’s where all my creative ideas tend to happen! Dare I say it is something in the coffee?

What are some interesting or unusual destinations in West Hollywood that even locals might not be aware of?

The Pacific Design Center, home to MOCA in West Hollywood. The Pacific Design Center, home to MOCA in West Hollywood.

I love that we have an extension of MOCA right in the middle of West Hollywood. Located right next to the Pacific Design Center, the space is so intimate; they really can only feature one exhibit at a time. But they always have something exciting and culturally relevant to the area.

Probably one of my favorite features of West Hollywood is the Sunset Strip Market! It takes place on Thursday evenings, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and runs seasonally from May through September. More than delicious food, they have craft beers, wine, local artisans, and live music. When the Market is on, I make a point to stop by every week.

Sunset Strip Market Sunset Strip Market

If a visitor to West Hollywood had only one day to experience the city, what would you suggest as WeHo essentials?

First I would say, ditch the car and bust out your walking shoes. Everything a visitor needs to see is within walking distance. I would suggest breakfast at Dialog Cafe, followed by a walk up Sunset Plaza for some shopping. If one wanted to squeeze in a work out, there is always SoulCycle or Equinox where they can get their sweat on. Lunch at the WeHo Bistro is a must—amazing salads and sandwiches. Of course, if they are design inclined, a walk through the Pacific Design Center is necessary. An afternoon cocktail at The Abbey is always fun for people watching. And dinner at Cecconi’s would end the day perfectly!

Do you have a favorite West Hollywood memory?

A cocktail by the pool at The London West Hollywood. A cocktail by the pool at The London West Hollywood.

The Sunset Strip Music Festival that took place this past year was pretty amazing. The eclectic range of musicians, both old and new, along with the neighborhood coming together to celebrate music and history made it such a memorable moment. Really there is no festival like it in the world—and much of that is due to location. People came from all over the world, and we, the locals, get to enjoy such a world-class event practically in our own back yards! I still get chills when I think about it!

Breakfast oatmeal at Euro Caffe. Breakfast oatmeal at Euro Caffe.

Describe your dream day in West Hollywood.

Pearl's Liquor Bar. Pearl’s Liquor Bar.

My dream day in West Hollywood would start with a run along Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd., just early enough so it is still cool outside. I would then fuel up with a coffee and oatmeal breakfast at Euro Caffe on Sunset. I would then make my way to the rooftop pool at The London West Hollywood and enjoy a few hours in the sun. Maybe I would enjoy a cocktail or two with lunch as the time passed. The late afternoon would require some retail therapy, so I would find myself on Sunset Plaza checking out H&M,Armani Exchange, and BCBG Maxazria. I would then swing over to Eden by Eden Sassoon for a make-up session and blow dry. Dinner would be a toss-up between The Church KeyYellowtail Sunset, or Gracias Madre… but since this is a dream day, I might have a bite at each location. The night would end with a cocktail at Pearl’s Liquor Bar on Sunset and a fun ride on the WeHo Pick-Up to take me home!

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