Downtown Los Angeles is home to a diverse patchwork of neighborhoods, stretching from Little Tokyo to Chinatown to the Arts District – and each is also home to an equally dynamic array of hotels.
The City of Angels has a dazzling Downtown replete with gourmet restaurants, art installations and old Hollywood-style speakeasies. Amidst soaring skyscrapers and architectural wonders like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, there are a number of historic buildings that now house hotels with sun-soaked rooftop pools. If you favor city life over beach vibes, Downtown offers some of the trendiest hotels in LA.
The Ace Hotel is set in the historic United Artists Building, which was built in the 1920s. Rooms have a minimalist approach – set with raw concrete beams, Mondrian-style duvets and thoughtful details such as organic mattresses and original works by local artists. Suites, on the other hand, are a musician’s dream and come with the added perks of an acoustic Martin guitar and Ace x Rega RP1 turntable. If you can, catch a show and admire the intricate gothic detailing of the cathedral-like theatre.
Sports fans and concert-goers can conveniently stay the night right next to the Staples Center in the LA Live entertainment complex. It’s also close to a wide array of sports bars and eateries, including Yard House and Katsuya, as well as a bowling alley, a movie theater and the Grammy Museum. The 4.5-star JW Marriott features an elegant lobby, a sun-drenched pool and patio, a host of dining options and a luxury spa with special CBD treatments.
The 1926 Spanish colonial-era building first housed a women-only YWCA hostel, and it has remained an inclusive and significant locale for the creatives and intellectuals of Downtown LA. Hotel Figueroa has an impressive art collection, with temporary and permanent pieces from local sculptors, photographers, painters and mixed-media artists. It’s impossible to miss the hotel’s emblematic floral mural that rises from behind the unusual coffin-shaped pool. The rooms are styled with both historical and modern touches in mind – expect an unconventional blend of glass, metal, tile, wood and leather details.
You may recognize the Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles hotel from one of the numerous blockbuster movies and TV shows filmed here. Hits such as Ghostbusters (1984), Fight Club (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Entourage, Glee and many other productions feature various parts of this historic landmark. The glitz of Old Hollywood comes to life with marble columns, painted ceilings and sparkling chandeliers, making the lobby alone worthy of a sightseeing stop. Guests can relax in the sauna, steam room and indoor pool, or enjoy afternoon tea at Rendezvous Court, an interior space with high wood-beam ceilings, marble fountains and a baroque double staircase used in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Mad Men.
Located at the center of Downtown LA’s Financial District, the NoMad Hotel has the neoclassical facade of what used to be the headquarters of the Bank of Italy. It’s distinctly Italian throughout, with grand marble tables and terrazzo floors. Blue and gold guest rooms are decorated with original art, while freestanding pedestal baths and custom-made argan toiletries wait in the bathrooms. The tropical rooftop pool is a particular highlight – a fireplace sits in the open mouth of a stone demigod, and the bar serves up tongue-in-cheek cocktails with names such as Pretty and Basic.
The upscale Hotel Indigo features luxe amenities – bath products by Jonathan Adler and a private limo service, among others. Pets are treated like VIPs, too, with a special “doggie happy-hour menu” that includes homemade ice cream. The rooms dazzle at night with views of the city lights and feature artworks that glorify the wild LA nightlife and the Downtown neighborhood. Lounge in a cabana at the pool’s edge, or explore the many attractions, shops and restaurants right outside the door for a day of sightseeing.
The InterContinental exudes next-level glamour with its polished facade, glitzy ballrooms and futuristic fitness center. The towering structure is the highest building in the West Coast – pull up a tulip-shaped seat next to the fire pits of Spire 73 (aptly named after its 73rd-floor setting), sip on zesty cocktails and take in unobstructed views of the glittering city. For dinner, choose from a sushi bar, French steakhouse and a unique farm-to-table dining experience. When night falls, retreat to elegant rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and deluxe Le Labo toiletries.
Freehand Los Angeles occupies the former Commercial Exchange building Downtown – once home to the publishing house that birthed literary creations such as Tarzan. Inside, a jungle-like lobby is peppered with potted cacti and a menagerie of ornamental wooden creatures alongside an Aztec-style bar. Rooms range from shared dorms with cedar bunk-beds to sprawling loft suites with woven wall hangings and king-size beds. On the roof, inflatable bananas float in a pool lined with rows of bubblegum-pink loungers – a perfect setting to sip exotic cocktails from the adjacent Broken Shaker bar.
The LA Grand Hotel Downtown caters to every type of traveler, but is most enticing for guests who want to visit the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Grand Park, the Broad and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The popular Grand Central Market offers fast cuisine from around the world and is also within walking distance. In terms of amenities, the hotel features in-room kitchenettes and wet bars with Starbucks coffee, an impressive health club and an outdoor heated swimming pool for guests to enjoy, even in the winter months.
The Hoxton is in a pale honey-hued Beaux Arts building that has seen life as a railway headquarters, garment manufacturer and candy shop before becoming a hip hotel. Inside are all manner of treasures – a rooftop pool is overlooked by sage sofas and fringed poufs, and bookended by the hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired bar and restaurant, Pilot. After a few Nautical by Nature cocktails and the acclaimed chips and caviar, you can crash in rooms that range from Snug to Biggy, with touches such as handpicked books, retro Roberts radios and undulating rattan headboards.
Inhabiting the former Superior Oil company building, The Standard Downtown’s mid-century architecture is elevated by a futuristic interior. The rooms are generous in size, considering the central location, and feature atomic-orange corner sofas and Bluetooth speakers. The bathroom’s glass panes require a bare-all mindset, but if you can brave it (or upgrade to one with a privacy curtain), Kiss My Face toiletries await. On the roof, a heated pool is framed by a sangria-red astroturf deck. Recline in one of the Super Mario mushroom-shaped cabanas, play a game of table tennis in the Paddle Room or treat yourself to Jidori chicken and fried cauliflower in the 24/7 restaurant.
Overlooking Little Tokyo, the sophisticated rooms at the Miyako feature Japanese-style heated-water bidets, calligraphy prints and polished wood furnishings, while bathrooms are stocked with Aveda toiletries. Start your day with an invigorating workout in the fitness room before heading down for an all-you-can-eat (Japanese and American) breakfast buffet in Tamon. The restaurant brings the hotel’s heritage to life with clusters of red bamboo and traditional art depicting emerald dragons.
Set in the stripped-back bones of a mid-century building in Koreatown, the Line embraces its culturally rich community with a multitude of local art and social events. For views of LA’s mountain-backed cityscape, head up to the carved-out-of-concrete rooms, which are overflowing with curious details such as giant Lego-brick coffee tables, chequerboard wood flooring and curved sci-fi wood-burners in the suites. Grab a Korean snack from the minibar or put on your best sequin get-up to dance the night away on the neon-lit disco floor of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Alternatively, if pop-culture nostalgia and tipsy karaoke is more your thing, swing by Break Room 86.