It’s a universal sentiment that navigating airports — perpetually riddled with anxiety-inducing crowds, lines, and germs — is the least enjoyable part of a vacation. And that was before the pandemic. These days airports are essentially the antithesis of chill. Airline and credit card lounges provide some respite, but no airside escape compares to PS, the most potent antidote to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The exclusive offsite terminal at LAX gives those flying commercial the feeling of traveling private like a billionaire, ultimate privacy, amenities and all, without the investment. And July 30, PS reveals a more sociable take on its patented exclusivity with The Salon, a lounge offering many of the same perks at a fraction of the cost.
Since 2017, travelers have ponied up $4,350 for four people per use (or $3,250 one way with a $4,500 annual membership, which includes in-suite massages, haircuts, car detailing, and more) for the privilege of retreating with their family, friends, and even pets to one of 12 private suites that allow them to avoid the actual airport entirely thanks to exclusive use of expedited private TSA screening, customs and immigration services.
Luggage is checked for you as well as collected post-trip, and the suites — completely transformed this year by sought-after celebrity residential design consultant Cliff Fong — are everything the airport is not. They feel like entering the home of your most glamorous globe-trotting friend, who just happens to be an impeccable host and art collector, too. There’s a panoply of artisan snacks and top-shelf beverages (both alcoholic and zero-proof), Alo yoga and Peloton workouts, and copious travel-size amenities. (Forgot your phone charger, earbuds, neck pillow, or razors? No worries!) The best part, however, may be the chauffeured drive across the airfield in a plush BMW.
That same VIP entrance — or exit — is part of the experience at The Salon, which at $695 per person per use (members also get two nights of complimentary parking as well as vehicle detailing and checked luggage included in the rate) offers a more accessible point of entry. “We decided early on that adding a social lounge experience would be an enhancement for those traveling alone or on business,” says co-CEO Joshua Gausman. “Providing a beautiful environment with great (and included) food and drinks where you can meet others made a lot of sense.” Unlike an airport lounge, no one is dragging their carry-on between rows of chairs or up to an uninspired buffet. The Salon is more like sidling up to the newest bar and lounge in West Hollywood; accordingly reservations are available to those 21 and over, without pets.
The social element is key to the concept, which also prioritizes space and comfort, according to co-CEO Amina Belouizdad. Like the newly reimagined suites, The Salon was brought to life by Fong, who gave each side of the dual-lounge space its own flavor through custom furniture and personally selected vintage pieces. Guests first enter into a charcoal- and midnight-hued living room with agate slab side tables, curvaceous velvet seating, and leather barstools. Through pocket doors is a continuation of the bar, but in a lighter palette with more earth tones and wood. Vintage Goyard cases, antiques, extensive coffee table books, and original artwork curated by Creative Art Partners — emphasizing local LA talent — lean into themes of travel, aviation, and Los Angeles without coming close to kitschy.
There’s also a large garden, complete with water features and lounge-y furniture in response to members’ strong desire to soak up as much of LA’s dependable sunshine as possible while a PS host tracks flight delays and boarding calls and worries about delivering you to the plane at the perfect time. “The Salon brings together the elements of PS that members and clients have relied on since we first opened our doors — a refreshed take on luxury, exceptional hospitality and, perhaps above all, complete peace of mind while traveling,” says Belouizdad. The experience is seamless and even includes Instagrammable shower suites that rival those of any luxury resort or custom home.
In a sure sign The Salon is fated to be LA’s next lively hot spot, The h.wood Group (Delilah, Poppy, The Nice Guy) is lending their culinary stylings and cocktail mastery to a seasonally rotating menu taking cues from California and the Mediterranean and made to order. Expect handcrafted libations that pay homage to the good old days of flying in style after a flawlessly made martini or old fashioned. Caffeine kicks are courtesy of Alfred Coffee and a top-of-the-line espresso machine. Like the most exclusive LA venues, The Salon will be keeping its occupancy numbers intimate — all the better for making connections, business or personal.
“People are spending to make trips and experiences special,” says Gausman. “They are seeking out safe spaces for themselves, and they are enjoying the socialization missing from 2020.” After more than a year of seclusion and separation, The Salon and its glamorous, warm, and valuable services couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, with the format and price point reflecting modern desires. And PS is paying attention to shifting luxury travel trends, eyeing future properties in New York City and Miami, with this fresh concept playing an integral part of each.
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