Born in New York City, Klein, here with his parents, Robert and Susan, says he found himself drawn to experiences, and physical spaces, while growing up. “As a child, I went around from high school to high school because I was severely dyslexic…I had to find things in life that I felt more fluent in than math and science and English lit. And I would say those experiences always touched a place in my heart because I was able to connect with and understand them. There were aesthetics involved.”

Courtesy of Jeff Klein.

Jeff Klein—the hotelier and restaurateur behind New York City’s Monkey Bar, and Los Angeles’s Sunset Tower Hotel and San Vicente Bungalows—grew up in a peripatetic family. “We went on this little boat down the Nile when I was 13, and it was the chicest thing I’d ever seen,” he says. The first time Klein says he felt inspired by a space was during a family trip to Rome, where they stayed in a “little hotel” and ate at a restaurant with “the most delicious, simple, unfussy food. I remember getting this really special feeling.” Now Klein tries to conjure a version of that experience for the patrons of his own properties. On any given night at Sunset Tower or the Bungalows (a members club so private that guests’ phone camera lenses are covered with a custom sticker), one can expect a swath of Hollywood A-listers and assorted power players. Klein has mastered a notoriously difficult formula: “It’s the music and the temperature and the lighting and the design, and the butts in the seats—who is actually sitting in that room? Even if they’re not famous, do they add to that vibe? I’ve always been turned on by it,” he says. Klein, who lives with his husband, the producer John Goldwyn, in Beverly Hills, says he is focused on his current set of locations at the moment, noting that he’s turned down offers to helm “over 300 hotel projects” because the fit wasn’t right. Still, Klein hopes to soon open a Bungalows outpost in Santa Monica, and he’s also planning to launch a new New York members club of some kind. “New York needs it,” he says.