los angeles Travel Guide
Downtown Los Angeles is in the middle of a certified hotel boom, echoing the larger development boom that is happening in this often overlooked area of Los Angeles. There's the Ace Hotel (which we know and love), the just-opened hybrid Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, along with the forthcoming massive InterContinental Hotel, a hip Freehand Hotel/Hostel and the pending new look of the old-school Hotel Figueroa.
And in a few years, there will be a luxury hotel from Roberto Cavalli. Seriously.
DTLA's man about town, Brigham Yen reports that the new Figueroa Central complex, which just broke ground across from the Staples Center, has released the details on the planned 183-room hotel. And Roberto Cavalli, through the Dubai-based Pragma Group, will be doing the branding of the hotel.
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel Bars / Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Koreatown Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / → All Tags
One of the things we most like about the Downtown LA renaissance is the redevelopment of old buildings into sexy modern hotels (unless, that is, you’re talking about the Fig, which we cannot conscience in anything but its old, Moroccan incarnation).
The Hotel Normandie was already pretty sexy – a Renaissance Revival-style building done 1920s by Walker & Eisen, who also did the Beverly Wilshire and the United Artists Theater (aka the Ace DTLA), and now a 94-room boutique hotel (although with the old style preserved rather than gutted).
But now it’s stepped up the ante with some food and drink offerings that, rather like the hotel, combine the best of old and new LA.
We've always thought an umbrella in the closet for guests to use during their stay was a nice touch (especially when the umbrella looks like this.) But in Los Angeles, where rain is infrequent. to say the least, Paligroup Hotels and Houses has come up with another item for guests to use during their stay--a Lexdray Cape Town Reversible Tote.
It's like one of those utilitarian and durable LeSportsac bags, but way more stylish with one side fronting with black ballistic nylon and the other side sporting Lexdray's custom twill. It's the perfect tote for a lunch meeting to discuss your screenplay. You can also take it to the beach or stock up on goodies at the farmer's market or the grocery store. (Remember, Los Angeles has a plastic bag ban so you need to bring your own or pay 10 cents for a paper bag.)
The bag will be in the rooms at the original residential-style Palihouse in West Hollywood, the funkier and more affordable Palihotel on Melrose Avenue and the newest hotel in the collection, the Palihouse Santa Monica, just a few blocks from the beach. And if you love the Lexdray tote too much to part with it, you can take it home for $150.
It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
2014 was a huge year for hotel openings. When we compiled our Master List of Hotel Openings at the start of January, we had a feeling this year was going to be more special than the others.
We saw the opening of several new brands like Moxy Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott and the fitness-oriented EVEN Hotels, as well as the openings of tried and true brands in popular destinations like Four Seasons Orlando and Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. We also saw the open of jaw-dropping luxury spots like the Peninsula Paris and the hotel fun factory that is Edition Miami.
One of the most memorable hotel openings is that of the SLS Las Vegas which had transformed the iconic but run-down Sahara into a shiny, mod casino hotel that is big on style, restaurants and shopping but small on actual casino offerings.
Indeed, the opening party alone was a hotel nerd's fantasy come true with Philippe Starck, Jose Andres and Lenny Kravitz in attendance. But while the SLS remains a great place to stay in Vegas, especially for those sick of the corporate glitz of the Strip, there has been some behind the scenes trouble since opening night.
However, there's one hotel opening that has stayed with us all year--The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles.
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File under things you already knew: Downtown LA is, apparently, the place to be. File under things you might not have known: Downtown LA has the best preserved pre-1950s buildings in the United States. Really! When you wander around like we did the other week, saying “Why, it’s like Chicago, but better,” it really is. Which is why we’re sad to hear of the renovations coming up at one of its most historic hotels, the Figueroa.
This HC member only got her first glimpse of the Fig this month, but one foot in the door was enough to know it was true love*. The coffin-shaped pool. The Moroccan interiors. The belly dancers entertaining a Christmas party in the bar, while off duty cops ate in the kasbah-like lobby. It was like a film set. My god, this is what America is all about!
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Not just any bikes, either (obviously – this is the Ace); they’re bikes from tokyobike.
This isn’t the first collaboration with tokyobike for Ace; the London hotel has them for guests to use. But unlike London, which is all cold and full of British reserve and lets guests get on with it by themselves, the Ace DTLA is all fuzzy and friendly and American – so they are giving free guided bike tours of Downtown LA.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in hotel-land. Trees. Baubles. Gingerbread houses. Scented candles – they have it all. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be picking out some of our favorite decorations. Got some OTT trees of your own? Send ‘em in to email@example.com!
What does a hipster hotel do for Christmas? Well, if it’s the Ace DTLA, the answer is that it eschews the traditional tree (so bourgeois!) in favor of a stylish, understated nod to the holiday season.
Enter the Christmas gifts on top of the photo booth, above, which went up a couple of days ago.
But the Ace isn’t really too cool for school, and it can’t resist a good old gingerbread house anymore than the posh hotel across the pond. So down at the Coffee Counter (at the entrance to LA Chapter, the restaurant), you’ll find this glorious representation of the hotel itself:
Evacuated hipsters milling around
You never know how you’ll react in an emergency until it happens. Will you freeze? Will you morph into an action hero? Or will you be a little scared and a little excited and start obsessing over the fact that your teeth aren’t clean #notushonest #okmaybeus?
Yesterday morning we were working in our room on floor 12 of the Ace DTLA when the fire alarm went off. Try as we might to ignore it, we joined the bleary-eyed hipsters stumbling out of their rooms. It turned out to be a smoke alarm on the 13th floor, but we were all evacuated anyway. It was our first hotel evacuation! The excitement! And it was pretty spectacular. After some reflection on why it was so good, we present:
The Official HotelChatter Guide to Evacuating Hotels
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The $20 million renovation has turned the hotel into a four-star property, now with a full-service restaurant, 24-hour room service, concierge assistance, an outdoor, marina-facing pool, sundeck, marina-front wedding venue, and over 6,000 square feet of meeting space.
The guest rooms, shown in the cover photo, have been fully revamped, many now with private balconies. The details of the rooms have also been upgraded to include, among other amenities, Egyptian cotton linens. The new restaurant, SALT, is an indoor-outdoor eatery that will serve contemporary California cuisine and fresh seasonal seafood fare.
We’re looking forward to taking a closer look at the renovations sometime in 2015, and will certainly pass on an inside look when we do. Its location makes it one of the closest hotels in Santa Monica to Venice and LAX, so it should draw plenty of interest. Rates start at $239 a night.
[Photo: Pacifica Hotels]
The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, which opened nearly a year ago, is making seriously good use of the historic United Artists Theater that's adjacent to the property. In September, Coldplay hosted a special concert for their latest album release and now, a special preview of Paul Thomas Anderson's surf noir based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon.
The movie/book is set in 1970s Los Angeles and follows a private investigator/pothead named Doc through a series of strange criminal adventures. So it's only fitting that the movie will screen at the Ace DTLA with Anderson and actors Jena Malone and Joanna Newsom in attendance.
Even better, guests who are staying at the hotel that night will get a free ticket to the screening and custom vinyl records of the film score by Johnny Greenwood. Rooms are still open on December 1 for around $240 a night but if you use the promo code Doc, you'll get a medium room for just $200.
Expect to see more of "Inherent Vice" at the Ace in LA and also in New York and London as gallery exhibitions expanding on the "Inherent Vice" themes will open.
[Photo: Lindsey Best/Ace Hotel DTLA]
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Under construction in August.
Mama Shelter Hotels are on a roll right now. First, there came the news that you can bring Mama home with you in the form of skincare products. Then, Accor Hotels acquired a 35 percent stake in the Philippe Starck-designed hotel collection, and within that announcement, we learned that the first U.S. house for Mama, Mama Shelter Los Angeles will open in February 2015. That's just a few months away!
Sadly, there's not much else to report other than the opening date. The hotel is still hiring key positions and it's still under construction. We pray that this will all be finished by February.
In the meantime, we did stumble across this description of the hotel by its developer, Benjamin Trigano in LA Confidential.
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Today is the first day of the Hello Kitty Con in Downtown Los Angeles and if you were one of the lucky ones who booked a Super Sweet Stay at The Line Hotel before it sold-out, then you'll be wrapping yourself up in a Hello Kitty bathrobe, sipping Hello Kitty champagne, eating a Hello Kitty-tattooed apple and Instagramming the rest of the sweet HK swag that came with your room.
If you didn't book get to book a room, it's ok. We went inside one the rooms at the hotel and took a ton of pictures. Here you go!