It's almost cliché to call the Tiverton House a home away from home. Located just down the street from the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, this small UCLA-owned hotel caters especially to the families of patients at the hospital.
General Manager Diana Fuchs says it's the little touches, like a garden filled with vibrant flowers where guests can relax and bright artwork in every room, that make Tiverton House a respite from heartache and tragedy. Take a step inside its sunny corridors and you'll see what makes this hotel a special place.
Patients at the hospital come from all corners of the earth. As Fuchs steps into the community kitchen located just off the lobby, the smell of Middle Eastern food fills the room. The bustling cook is a guest who quickly offers Fuchs a tasty Arabic dessert that she just baked. This woman, who has a family member recovering at the hospital, doesn’t speak a word of English. But Fuchs and her guest can communicate in ways beyond words.
Fuchs has worked as the general manager for almost two years and says she has been able to step into these families' lives when even a small gesture can make a world of difference.
"It’s a different kind of atmosphere than the private hotel sector," says Fuchs. "We really get to know people, and it's amazing to watch how far some patients come."
Members of the hotel staff — from the people who work at the front desk to the people who keep the hotel tidy — walk around with bright smiles and greet guests by name. The hotel has exactly 100 rooms, and 91 percent of the rooms are usually filled with families dealing with transplants or extensive chemotherapy or a complicated surgery.
There's a playroom, rich with primary colors for the younger crowd, filled with play equipment donated by a family in memory of a daughter who passed away. Another room with foosball and air hockey tables, perfect for a teenage boy, was donated by another family in memory of their young son. Families have clearly been touched by the generosity of the staff at the hotel.
Bernadette Dimijian greets guests at the front desk and says she becomes friends with many of them.
"Sometimes what happens with patients is very happy, other times it's really sad," she says. "But it's really a rewarding job."
Learn more at the Tiverton House web site