“We’ve upgraded you to the penthouse.”
I always thought there was something special about Palisociety, the group of laid-back luxury boutique hotels founded by Avi Brosh. That penthouse news, a few Decembers ago at the Palihouse Santa Monica (shown above), sealed it for me though. I arrived in a huff, fresh off a wildly delayed flight, and lemme tell you, I could have cried the good kind of cry. Except I had no time for that; I had to shower.
I can barely make myself feel at home in my own home, yet Brosh and the Palisociety team have done it from 2,000 miles away. Perhaps because the team includes his wife, Kirsten, who oversees the hotels, son, Archer, who works in both operations and design, and daughter, Elle, sometimes seen in the kitchen alongside their Executive Chef. It’s a family affair. You can feel the love from your first clumsy steps inside carrying a suitcase.
How did Brosh and the Palisociety team craft an approachable yet upscale hotel experience? Think of it as a recipe: one part unexpected artwork, a healthy dose of engaging they’ve thought of everything hospitality and a serving of jewel-toned walls that almost inspired me to go on a turquoise painting spree.
By adding a cheeky wink to the essentials—lighting, paint, furniture, plants—Brosh creates an unforgettable hotel experience. Take their recently opened Seattle location, pictured in the photos below. Located across the street from Pike Place Market and the Elliott Bay waterfront, the new hotel is highly stylized (yes, that is a Smeg fridge in every guest room) yet full of budget-friendly ideas to steal for your own home, whether you’re hosting guests or not.
As you’re organizing a guest space, consider all of the senses. Think a comfortable temperature, the right lighting levels, good music, and a pleasant smell. Check, check, check, and check. Brosh’s musts are pretty simple: an organized space with a good shower, pillows, a television, and “hopefully clean as a whistle.”
Perhaps he’s being humble, because Palisociety rooms are so much more than that. When hosting guests, it’s not the expected necessities but the unanticipated needs that make a stay memorable. Say, the luggage rack, matching hangers, a newsstand-like ledge with a couple of easy read gossip rags tucked behind beautiful hardcovers. And slippers. Always slippers.
There’s a playfulness to Palisociety’s design, a friendly reminder that adulthood is serious enough—your shelves don’t need to be too. From the oversized llama artwork to backwards-facing books, Palihotel Seattle nudges us to embrace a sense of lightheartedness in our own homes. Cheeky wallpaper does that, and so do pops of color and quirky, personal art.
Brosh advises, “Outside of a paint color, design is the most successful if you either take a very monotone approach or alternatively a very eclectic approach. My approach tends to be on the eclectic side. In order to do that, I think you have to take risks and think counterintuitively.” Risks like green tile in a green painted bathroom or mix-n-match fabrics side by side. As you know, risk = reward. (And occasionally, risk = a second trip to Home Depot for new paint.)
Palihotel Seattle is not for the faint of hunter green. “We tend to focus on picking a bold primary color for the whole hotel and going from there. That sets the tone for the entire project,” Brosh says. “Most people feel the need to layer in multiple colors or go with plain white, especially in a large space like a hotel, but I think too many colors complicates the design expression and just plain white is not always the best direction.”
To achieve this bold look at home, room to room, Brosh suggests, “Pick a color and think about making your house a cohesive design experience.” Brosh’s advice for swapping out your clean white walls for something more Palisociety-esque? “Go for it!” (Easy for you to say, Avi.)
“There is a time and place for expensive art, but that’s just not our particular approach,” Brosh says. That’s not our approach either. Instead, consider pairing new pieces with vintage ones, grandma’s ceramics alongside trinkets from your Morocco trip, a framed cocktail napkin doodle next to your favorite Matisse print.
“All of the art is selected specifically to evoke an eclectic free spirit approach to art, something anyone can do, not very expensive unapproachable pieces that feel out of reach,” Brosh says. Remember: Art doesn’t have to be expensive, serious, framed, hung, or understood by everybody. It can be, say, a painted dog portrait.
Once Palisociety’s Portland location opens its doors (soon!), there will be 10 locations for you to feel at home in, from San Francisco to Miami Beach. Well done, Avi.
Doubt I’ll be able to stay away from these green walls much longer though. See you soon, Seattle. Any chance I can get upgraded to the penthouse?
Megan is a writer, editor, etc.-er who muses about life, design and travel for Domino, Lonny, Hunker and more. Her life rules include, but are not limited to: zipper when merging, tip in cash and contribute to your IRA. Be a pal and subscribe to her newsletter Night Vision.
BY Megan McCarty - September 20, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.