Lela is a hotel destination restaurant in Bloomington developed not just for out-of-town hotel guests but for local patrons as well. Formerly the Hotel Sofitel, the design team was tasked with redesigning the restaurant when the hotel was rebranded as a Sheraton under new ownership. Wanting to bring an urban vibe to the suburbs, the design is modern, sophisticated, and yet incredibly approachable.
The design is centered on two intertwined concepts of romance and seduction in its many forms. Le and La are the basic words that form the romance languages, and this was the inspiration behind the branding. The objective of the design, much like the menu that includes delicate crudo and classic steak, was to subtly play with the balance between feminine and masculine energy. Sensuously curved furniture, tantalizing wine glass sculptures, and jewelry-like light fixtures are juxtaposed against clean, sleek interior architecture and a timeless tonal palette. Textured saw skipped oak floors, gritty plaster finishes, and rich leather ground the space with masculine undertones. Etched glass and raw steel dividers and a private dining room with glass bi-folding doors create a “see-and-be-seen” flirty atmosphere throughout.
Food is highlighted as an avenue to romance with an intimate chef’s table experience that is front row to the buzz and energy of the kitchen. Guests are also invited to experience their food being prepared first hand at the display kitchen counter bar. Simple on the surface but packed with story-telling details, Lela was named as one of MSP Magazine’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015.