Lonely Planet Writer

Hip new hotel NoMad Los Angeles has converted a bank vault into a toilet

The recently-opened NoMad Los Angeles is housed in the historic Giannini Bank building. The uber sleek space has been renovated to perfection, with intriguing conversions – the bank vault, complete with a 50-tonne door, now doubles as a public restroom.

The bank vault in NoMad Downtown LA. Image by Benoit Linero

“The original vault, which now houses the guest bathroom, was a source of inspiration when we curated the art programme for this space,” said NoMad Los Angeles brand director Kristen Millar. The vault once housed precious items in some 12,000 safe deposit boxes. “We had fun delving into the idea of treasured valuables that original bank members might have kept in their lock boxes,” said Millar.

NoMad LA. Image by Benoit Linero & Sydell Group

Similar to the NoMad New York, the Los Angeles hotel draws inspiration from its architectural heritage and location. The 1920s building served as the headquarters for The Bank of Italy, run by Amadeo Peter Giannini – one of the first bank managers to make banking available to women, children and the middle class. Littered with nods to its neoclassical roots, the interior of NoMad Los Angeles fuses the original character of the property with contemporary Californian design. 

The renovated lobby of the new hotel. Image by Benoit Linero & Sydell Group

The renovation project by French architect Jacques Garcia took 18 months to complete; original details brought back to their former glory include the building’s gold and blue Italianate ceiling and square pilaster columns topped with Corinthian capitals. One very special feature is the sculpture of a demon located on the west wall of the rooftop pool. “It’s a direct replication of the main sculpture in Il Parco di Mostri in Lazio, Italy,” explained Millar, “the demon is the punisher of oath-breakers and a god of the underworld alongside Hades. The sculpture is inscribed with ‘Missa omnium cogitationum,’ meaning that any whisper made into the mouth will be heard by all.”

The Giannini Bar. Image by Benoit Linero & Sydell Group

The hotel has plush velvet furnishings throughout, and a high-end restaurant named The Mezzanine, serving gourmet regional cuisine. Meanwhile, The Lobby Restaurant and The Giannini Bar pay tribute to the building’s former manager, and serve a more casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner option for walk-ins. 

Each of the building’s 241 guest rooms has custom-designed furniture and original artwork. Many suites have marble writing desks, petite settees and standalone bathtubs. The RWB suite, for example, is a spacious 1250 square-foot pied-a-terre, with gorgeous views of downtown LA, it comes with a large living room area, a library, dining room, and a pantry. Rooms start from $312.50 per night, visit here to book.