Los Angeles Travel Guide
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Once again, here's your semi-regular update on the Los Angeles hotel scene....
The Loews Santa Monica: We've been chronicling the exterior update to the Loews Santa Monica since the beginning of the year. The other day we drove by at sundown and noticed special light projections on the exterior as well as a living wall. Pretty! But it turns out changes were happening on the inside as well. Guestrooms have new glass balconies that enable better enjoyment of the Pacific Ocean views. Later this year the pool will get premium poolside cabana rooms and beach-level rooms that will have residential-style patios, complete with fire pits. Rates at the hotel start at $498 a night for a weekend in mid-May. Ocean view rooms are more at $588.
The Moment: Last we checked in on The Moment, the new boutiquey hotel in Hollywood (above), the place had missed its planned February opening. Looking on the hotel website today, we still can't book a room for tonight or later this weekend or the first of May. We were, however, able to find a room in mid-May for $235 a night for a queen bed. That includes free WIFi and complimentary bikes. While the website may not have room rezzies open for tonight at this time, it does sport some cool new photos of the rooms. If you can splurge, the king suite patio at 600-sq.ft. looks the coolest with two flat-screen TVs and even a Keurig machine.
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Hot yoga is so last-season – not only because of the weather, but especially since the founder of the trendy hot yoga program Bikram is being accused of sexual harassment. Still, though, we’ve gotta keep those chakras flowing even while we’re on the road, so we’re loving Kimpton Hotels’ more low-key, individualized yoga program, soft-launching in April across the brand. According to our source, each Kimpton property is encouraged to do things a little bit differently, but all properties will offer an in-room yoga television channel, in-room Gaiam yoga mats, and extra towels/flavored waters/antioxidant snacks delivered to the room by request.
But it's the new aqua yoga that has us most excited. Read on to find out more details!
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Located on Pershing Square, the hotel was designed by the same firm as the Waldorf-Astoria, and its richly-decorated interiors are appropriately over-the-top.
For example, Rendezvous Court (which originally functioned as the main lobby) was inspired by a Spanish cathedral, and features vaulted wood ceilings, Italian travertine stone walls, and a bronze double staircase. The impressive space was even featured on a recent episode of Glee!
Wandering through the hotel's opulent ballrooms (there are four total), we came across a bizarre feature in the Gold Room, a large banquet room that's divided into an upper and lower half by a semi-circular balustrade. And at the far end of the room, we noticed that a small door had been left ajar. Not one to pass up the opportunity to act out an Indiana Jones scene, we peeked inside and realized (to our delight) that we had discovered a secret passageway leading to another part of the hotel!
A Downtown News report cited Chetrit group officials (the folk who own the building) saying a June opening was possible for the Hotel Clark on Hill Street.
We checked in with the downtown LA expert, Brigham Yen, who runs the DTLA Rising website, and he said a June opening "might be a little ambitious", but he believes the opening is imminent--maybe as soon as this summer. Yen said the interior of the property is pretty much done and when he walked by the property a week and a half ago and there were already "drastic" improvements to the exterior from when he last posted on the property on March 21. Plus the rooftop pool is already finished!
Of course, a June opening could always get sidelined by the liquor license process (already a group has opposed it for this hotel) and the long wait time to receive a certificate of occupancy. Yet considering the plans to turn the historic Hotel Clark have been in the works since 2008, we'll be ready whenever this joint opens up. No word on what the rates will be like but we're hoping it'll be less than $200 a night.
[Photo: Elan Feldman for DTLA Rising]
We thought maybe this was just another April Fool's Joke but the W Westwood is actually offering a fashion pop-up shop in the form of a mobile truck. Think food truck but with all the latest fashions!
The Le Fashion Truck will come to the hotel every second Friday of the month this spring and summer, starting April 12 and running through August 9. Inside the stylish pink jalopy will be a variety of merchandise from handmade jewelry, handbags, designer tees, vintage fashions and more. There will even be a dressing room on hand so you can try stuff on before plopping down the cash (or let's be real, plastic.)
Even though the W Westwood is walking distance to the shops in UCLA village and the new City Target as well as Brentwood and Beverly Hills, having Le Fashion Truck outside will make it more convenient for guests who need something special for their night out in LA. Rates at the W on April 12 start at $246 a night.
[Photo: Le Fashion Truck/Facebook]
Earlier this week, we talked about all the good things coming (fingers crossed!) to downtown Los Angeles. Today we've got a round-up of some cool new things happening in Los Angeles proper, starting off with this West Hollywood hideout.
SUNSET MARQUIS: The rock star haven that is the Sunset Marquis (the hotel hosted 43 Grammy nominees this year) has begun offering a pool membership for non-guests that will allow use of the hotel's main pool and villa pools along with some other perks like a complimentary one-night stay, a Sunday brunch, drinks at the restaurant or 1200 bar, discounted cabana rentals and discounted spa treatments. The cost for a one-year member ship is $2,000 while a six-month membership can be had for $1,500. Membership is based on availability and the hotel only gives out 20 at a time. If you're not interested in joining, you can pay around $250 a night as a hotel guest and use the pool for free.
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It's been a longtime coming but it looks like Downtown Los Angeles is about to get the hotel renaissance it so desperately needs. With the exception of the awful tragedy last month, the chatter about the downtown LA hotel scene has us tremendously excited. Here are updates on the hotels we look forward to seeing:
ACE HOTEL DOWNTOWN LA: So far things are still very much a go for the Ace Hotel and its website promises a 2013 opening. Yay! We can't wait to see what they do with the landmarked United Artists building, a former movie theater built in 1927. We're guessing the vibe will be film noir heavy but don't forget, this Ace will also have a pool.
We've all kind of figured out the "glamping concept", but this one that rolled across our desk seemed pretty cool. It's called "Urban Camping" and it's a special experience being offered at the 72-room historic Hotel at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC).
From now until August 31st, you have the opportunity to stay in the downtown LA hotel's themed suite--namely an indoor campsite. The room has a luxury teepee with an ornate tented bed, and lot of camping-type decorations like leather saddle bags, animal pelts, and more.
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Los Angeles may be glitz and glam but it's also energy, wellness and all things "New Age". And when it comes to hotels, these two concepts merge. Seriously! According to Aiden Chase, a notable psychic and healer, LA has special "centers" whether vortexes or energy fields like Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Hawaii and Sedona. It's a powerful place, y'all, and no one knows best like Chase, who People magazine touts as "Hollywood's Healer."
"There's an energy field in the land here that supports wishes and dreams," says Chase. "LA’s natural “good vibe” energy from the Hollywood hills to the ocean has supported the fulfillment of people's dreams from the actor to the entrepreneur for over 100 years." So where does the highbrow and spiritual merge? Believe it or not, at some of the finest of luxury hotels. "The energy is great at many of the top hotels because they are maintained with loving care, with an intention for good energy, success and well-being and honor of each property’s history."
Here's Chase's list of hotels with the best energy in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
To stay at a hotel that's literally across the street from CAA (one of the biggest talent agencies in the world), you're going to want to look good. This means fighting off Cinnabon (and french fries and pizza and bagel sandwiches). The easiest solution is simply walking downstairs to the Breeze restaurant.
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles just launched the Perfectly Portioned menu with meals that are 500 calories or less. And the options look delicious, like seared ahi salad and vegan mushroom risotto. Guests can also create their own meal with "my menu" options. Here, they choose a meat/fish/poultry and have it prepared whatever way they want with whatever sauce. They then add a pasta, a vegetable and a starch (these meal options are not all 500 calories or less, but hey, it's good enough for us).
While we're on the subject of health-minded food, the Hyatt Regency is also known for their stellar vegan options, and the chef even has aspirations of going full GMO free. Watch him speak about all the health-minded goods here. Oh, and did we mention the gym at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is an Equinox? Talk about upscale urban detox resort. We feel fat just by thinking about it!
Room rates from $275.
[Photo: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza]
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Guests at the historic Cecil Hotel in downtown LA had been complaining about low water pressure in their rooms. Eventually the cause was discovered---a body was at the bottom of the water cisterns, blocking water flow.
On Tuesday, a hotel maintenance worker discovered the body of 21-year old Elisa Lam inside a tank that helps provide water for the hotel after guests, according to CNN, complained that the water also "tasted funny" and had a "black color" when you first turned the tap on. The Canadian woman had been reported by missing by her parents a week ago. She was apparently staying at the $65-a-night hotel located near Skid Row, but hadn't been seen since the last week of January.
The hotel's cistern tanks supply water for room bathrooms, and are a washing and drinking outlet. The water is also used for cooking in the hotel--therefore the coffee shop has been shut down and is also under orders to sanitize its equipments before it reopens.
When the body was discovered, the hotel relocated guests of 27 rooms to another hotel, and for the others that chose to remain, the hotel made those guests sign a waiver that they acknowledged being informed of the health risks and were provided bottled water. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department's response, said "Our biggest concern is going to be fecal contamination because of the body in the water," Powell said. He said the likelihood of contamination is "minimal" given the large amount of water the body was found in, but the department is being cautious.
Last time we checked in on the now named "Wilshire Grand Project" back in May, Korean Air had already ditched its two-tower plan (a 60-story office tower and a 40-story hotel to be completed in 2014) in favor of a 73-story skyscraper.
We dished that the billion-dollar building would be just a tick shorter than the existing U.S. Bank Tower, but according to new reports, it will include a spire at the top that puts the total height at 1,100 feet, making it the tallest in the city, about 80 feet above the U.S. Bank Tower.
While a management brand still has yet to be announced, we now know that the L.A.-based architecture firm AC Martin Partners will design the project. Its resume includes Los Angeles City Hall and Bank of America Plaza and construction should begin later this year. Korean Air has maintained hope the hotel will open four years from now in March 2017.