90015 Travel Guide
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.
Hotel Renovations / DTLA Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Downtown LA Hotels / Boutique Hotels / Affordable Hotels / → All Tags
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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
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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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!
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Yesterday we gave you a little sneak peek inside the dual-brand Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, across from the LA Live sporting and entertainment complex. The two select service brands are not just sharing a building but also a check-in desk, a lobby, a fitness center, a pool and even the guest room floors. (Here's how to tell which side of the hallway is yours.)
Now, here's the full reveal of the property. Peruse the photos below to see the shared spaces at the hotels, as well as the individual rooms of the Courtyard and Residence Inn brands. Then keep reading to see what we liked and what we didn't like.
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Marriott International has more than a crush on Downtown LA. Not content with having a Ritz-Carlton and a JW Marriott Hotel at LA Live, Marriott has now opened their first dual-brand hotel on the West Coast right across the street from the Staples Center--The Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn at LA Live.
Not only is this the first dual-brand on the West Coast for Marriott but it's also the first dual-brand hotel to share a floor. (Typically, the different brands split the floors.)
So how do you know which side of the hallway is yours? Follow the carpeting.
When you step off the elevator, you'll see a lotus type of design on the floor. The purple side of the lotus will lead you to the Residence Inn side, while the orange side will lead you to the Courtyard rooms.
But the two brands share more than just the guest room floors. They also share the check-in desk, the lobby, the pool, the 901 bistro and the fitness center. However, only Residence Inn guests can access the spacious RI Lounge and its free, hot breakfast buffet. We'll tell you now, this lounge is worth the extra $20 a night that Residence Inn charges.
Room rates for the Courtyard side of the hotel, which has 174 rooms, are around $289 a night while Residence Inn has rates for its 219 suites starting at $309 a night.
Stay tuned tomorrow for photos galore!
So we've already shown you inside a guest room at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, as well as 14 other cool things to see but today, we're taking you on a tour of the historic United Artists Theater first built in 1927 as the flagship theater for the United Artists movie studio.
The theater has been immaculately preserved throughout its long history (mostly thanks to pastor Gene Scott and his congregation who occupied the theater for about 20 years) and basically all that Ace Hotels needed to do was install some new carpeting and do some touch-ups here and there. (They're also working on building a new box office as the old one could barely hold one person.)
The theater's revitalized glory will be unveiled on February 14th when the hotel hosts their first event, The Spiritualized, which is already sold-out. But until then, guests at the Ace Hotel (like we were last night) aren't able to even peek into the theater. So we decided to give you a good, in-depth glimpse of it now. 3, 2, 1, action!
The property, on the southeast corner of Broadway and 11th Street (about two blocks from Ace) , was recently snapped up by local developers Frank Stork, the Kor Group and Channing Henry of Alma Development. The new owners plan on redoing the hotel to appeal to downtown's "growing population of creative professionals."
While a hotel operator has yet to be named, we can't help but wonder if the Kor Group will use their ties to the Viceroy Hotel Group (Viceroy was previously called Kor Hotels) to put in a Viceroy or otherwise hip brand. Or possibly this could be a spot for the upcoming Virgin Hotels brand. Virgin has expressed interest in opening in DTLA.
Of course, all that is ages away. Up first is renovating the building which according to the LA Times in the 1950s, included six floors of guest rooms, six floors of offices, a swimming pool, health club, dining room, three cocktail lounges and a garden roof. Later on, it was converted to YWCA-operated Job Corps Training Center but has been vacant for over a year. We hope they keep the pool, three cocktail lounges and the garden roof when they start thinking about the redesign.
[Photo: Google Street View]
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Ace Hotels had a rough month last month, but they rebounded with the opening of the American Trade Hotel in Panama the other week and now comes news that the long-awaited Ace Hotel Los Angeles will open a tad bit early on January 6, just in time for the Golden Globes. Previously, the hotel was set to open on January 15.
We found a "Small" room open that night for $289 a night. That includes a queen bed, flat screen television, full-stocked minibar, a custom Revo Radio, free internet and Rudy's toiletries. A "Medium" room is going for $299 while a "Medium With Terrace" room is $319. (Room photos are below.)
Those are big increases from the initial opening rate of $129 that we found (and booked) last month for January 15th. We guess the hotel is already cashing in on Awards Season, which kicks off on January 13th with the Golden Globes. But who cares. The Ace is finally opening in Los Angeles!