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LA's Westin Bonaventure Is Getting Some Very Necessary Renovations

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  Site Where: 404 S. Figueroa St. [map], Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90071
August 13, 2009 at 11:32 AM | by | Comment (1)

The Westin Bonaventure has caught our attention as of late for all their frantic Twitter deals but it's never really been top on our list of Los Angeles hotels to visit, or even on our list of Downtown Los Angeles hotels to visit. This is despite the hotel being a Westin brand with its relaxing, white tea scents and those coveted SPG points and despite the hotel's revolving cocktail lounge at the top of the hotel.

Still the Twitter deals had us intrigued so we decided to head downtown the other week and see what was new at the hotel. We are happy to report that there's a lot in the works. But the key words are: "in the works."

The hotel was built in 1976 by architect John Portman who created four separate towers of hotel rooms (there's over 1,300 in total) that are joined together by a large atrium at the ground level. This serves as the hotel's lobby as well as a sort of shopping plaza where about 42 shops and restaurants have opened.

The atrium area has a very urban feel with exposed concrete that makes you feel almost as if it's another extension of the subterranean parking garage. It's a total mismatch for the Westin brand which is all about escaping the pressures of daily life and entering a relaxing sanctuary. However, the white tea scent is pumped throughout the space and the hotel has made efforts near its check-in desk to live up to that Westin "escapism" look--i.e. soft lighting and orchids.

The best news is that the Westin Bonaventure is in the process of renovating its rooms and will unload the renovated rooms as they finish throughout the year. We were able to peek into a renovated standard room as well as a Tower Suite which has a separate seating area and was built with the business traveler in mind.

The new rooms feature upgraded bedding, flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, excellent work spaces (aka desks) and even little Westin Wakeup coffee makers that look very similar to Keurigs. Also we liked how the bath toiletries (the new Heavenly toiletries are in place here) included a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. Seriously, that should be just as standard as shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

Rounding out the room touches are photos of downtown Los Angeles landmarks on the walls, plug panels in the desks and special wastebins for recycling.

The pool plaza outside will get an upgrade as well and we are hoping the hotel will also upgrade the hallways of the four towers. Those are in the words of Twitterer, DivaTraveler: "a tacky, shabby time warp." And we even like old stuff from the 80s! But the hallways really need some new carpeting and wallpaper.

And that brings us back to the Atrium--it's sort of a sad space and we're not sure how much renovation can be done here. We do think that the area could get some upgraded signage. The signs directing guests around look like they are the original signs that were in place when the hotel first opened in 1976.

Room rates start at $129 a night but the renovated rooms are not yet available to guests. The hotel tells us they will be ready in the fall. We'll let you know as soon as they are ready to book. Until then, we would recommend hitting up the Westin for drinks in the revolving cocktail lounge, BonaVista, on the 34th floor. The best time to go would be around 5 or 6pm when it's still light out and you can see the vast sprawl of Los Angeles before you.

For more snaps of the renovated rooms coming soon to the Westin Bonaventure, check out our Flickr Photostream.

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I Loved the Bonaventure

I stayed there for 9 nights last year and I loved it.  In fact, I loved how urban the lobby seemed.  I know it runs counter to so many other Westins, even the Atlanta property designed by John Portman as well, but I really liked the concrete, the open-air gym and the general vastness of the space.  There's a running track around the central atrium on the 3rd or 4th floor, which I found really neat.  The whole ground floor was full of gardens too, which I enjoyed.  

What I disliked most was the elevators running up and down all night.  No matter where your room was, you can always hear the elevators and see the people through the glass.  I'm sure they can't see in, but it was a little disconcerting anyway.  Also, several of my fellow travelers were terrified by the all-glass elevators.

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