Tucked into a busy corner in North Hollywood, The Garland is an LGBTQ-owned hotel that’s a bit of retro paradise; it feels hidden from the outside bustle, and yet manages to feel like the spot to be. Originally a Howard Johnson franchise, this property was built in the '70s by actress Beverly Garland (of TV and movie fame) and her husband, Fillmore Crank, a developer.
For the past nine years, the property has been run by their son James Crank and his husband Scott Elliott. The couple is proud to also have many employees — from executive management to line staff — representing the community: lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, and genderqueer.
Crank remembers many guests at his parent’s parties from that era’s LGBTQ+ Hollywood. Only later did he learn the hotel’s martini lounge was a destination watering hole for Valley gay men in the '70s and '80s. And he was quite surprised to discover old production contracts for Colt and Falcon studios. Apparently those studios were granted permission to film on location at the Garland.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, today, the stylish property hosts the Brave Trails Annual Fundraiser, an LGBTQ+ Summer Camp and Leadership organization, as well as numerous queer weddings, and the annual drag show, “Drag Yourself To The Valley.”
The Garland boasts 257 guest rooms, including 14 suites. The management is focusing more and more on wellness travel. We stayed in one of the hotel's large Wellness Suites and were able to get in some of the easiest workouts ever. Our room contained a Peloton bike, MIRROR home gym, yoga mats and blocks, exercise bands, and a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells! A really thoughtful addition is a specially curated minibar with an array of healthy snacks.
The Garland's Wellness Suites come equipted with workout gear.
In addition to a major renovation of the property seven years ago, Crank and Elliott took advantage of the global shutdown in 2020 to completely remodel the extensive outdoor areas, repave the front entranceway, and redo all of the landscaping in the courtyard. The result is stunning, with a clean new vibe, and yet a Mad Men ambiance. The lovely pool area features a huge outdoor fireplace and on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a “dive-in movie” shown on a retractable screen next to the pool.
We were also impressed with The Front Yard, the property’s restaurant, which was a very popular dinner spot during our visit. There’s ample seating both inside and out, and another great outdoor fireplace is perfect for cooler evenings. Food and drink here are outstanding, from the Strawberry Fields cocktail (a lovely pairing of strawberry and basil) and the La Piñela (think of a pineapple margarita with a bit of complexity) to appetizers like a healthy take on Coconut Shrimp.
Outdoor dining at The Front Yard
The menu changes frequently, based on the season and the freshest ingredients, so even if you look online, there may be subtle changes the day you dine there. The Tagliatelle Bolognese was quite exceptional, and perfect comfort food for a rainy evening. And the Niman Ranch Pork Chop was enormous and accompanied by whipped goat cheese potatoes, which made for an excellent pairing. For a tasty closing to your meal, the Banana Pudding was a real keeper.
For 2022, there’s a lot planned to celebrate The Garland’s 50th. In the spring, the property is working to bring in Shaw McPherson for programs such as mindfulness workshops, sound bathing, and goal setting. There will be a Spring Block Party, and the Endless Summer Series will be a monthly event in the latter half of the year, featuring concerts, movie screenings, and more.
Yoga on the grass
One of the current wellness promotions being offered is called Troop Beverly’s Bootcamp, and it includes in-room massages for two (following an afternoon on local hiking trails), a one night stay in Premium accommodations, breakfast for two, a late 3:00 p.m. checkout, an assortment of goodies from The Front Yard, logo water bottles, and a hiking book. Rates for the package start from $759 per night. For more information, visit The Garland website at thegarland.com