Downtown LA has undergone a resurgence in recent years that has catapulted it from gritty business hub to one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods. These are the area’s best affordable hotels.
Once characterized by vacant warehouses, Downtown Los Angeles has been painstakingly restored over the past decade – an influx of new bars, on-trend hotels and the regeneration of the city’s historic Grand Central Market has transformed the area into a cultural hub. It’s the perfect antidote to the sheen of Hollywood, so base yourself here if you’re in search of the city’s down-to-earth side.
Freehand LA is part stylized hipster hotel, part hostel. All the guest rooms resonate boho-chic vibes with earthy tones and hand-made wall hangings by LA artists. The private rooms and apartment-like suites feature king-size beds, large windows and a homey feel created by design studio Roman and Williams. The more affordable shared rooms sleep four, six or eight – ideal for groups – and have their own en-suite bathrooms, privacy screens and lockers. Don’t miss Broken Shaker, Freehand’s very popular rooftop pool and cocktail bar, lined with fuchsia sun loungers and hacienda-chic bar furnishings perfect for taking in sweeping sunset views.
The industrial vibes at the Wayfarer play into the gritty and hip Downtown LA scene. Exposed brick and brushed concrete await you in the rooms, whether you opt for the wallet-friendly shared bunks or a spacious private room. It’s more than adequately equipped for those who like their hotel with some in-house fun, with drinking options that range from sundowners on the skyscraper-surrounded rooftop, to a nightcap in the sumptuous chandelier-lined underground bar.
A series of rooms housed inside the city’s oldest private members’ club, Los Angeles Athletic Club is a hotel with history in its foundations. Once the home of Charlie Chaplin, thehotel has indulgently boudoir-style decor, with a distinct 1920s feel. Guests get full access to the athletic club allowing the health-focused to make the most of its lap pool, indoor racquet courts, gym and fitness classes – be sure to keep an eye out for the club’s notable clientele, as this is prime celebrity-spotting territory.
If you don’t mind sharing a bathroom, book a stay at the American Hotel located in the hip Arts District of DTLA. The area is known for a vibrant craft beer scene, art galleries and community of young creatives. The newly refurbished building used to be the famous Al’s Bar, which saw live acts by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Misfits before their rise to fame. It features pieces by well-known street artists inside and out, but exposed brick walls and painted pipes preserve what once was.
Miyako Hotel is smack in the center of Downtown’s bustling Little Tokyo district, with sizeable hotel rooms featuring Aveda bath products and minimalistic Japanese influences throughout. There is also a small but adequate gym, a cocktail and karaoke lounge, and a Japanese restaurant. Visit the nearby Japanese American National Museum, and once you’ve built up an appetite, sample green tea desserts at Midori Matcha Cafe, and traditional omakase at one of the many sushi bars in the area.