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Arts and Entertainment

The New Luxury Hotel In California's Tallest Building Has A Sky Lobby And A Retro Chic Pool

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There might be no more iconic a symbol of downtown L.A.'s renaissance than the Wilshire Grand tower. The 1,100-foot, $1.2 billion building is a reflection of California, too, as it is designed after the state it rises over.

"Quite frankly the building theme is California itself," David Martin, design principal for the tower, told KCRW. "If you look at the exterior of this building, think about the Sierras, think about Yosemite Valley." He added that the tower's curves are meant to look like Yosemite's Half Dome. The seventh floor atrium is shaped like the Merced river. And the farm fields of the San Joaquin Valley are echoed in the carpet patterns.

The majority of the building (over 40 of the tower's 73 floors) are taken up by a new 889-room Intercontinental hotel. The luxury brand's downtown location is the largest in the Americas, and is the state flagship.

Guests enter the hotel through the 70th floor sky lobby where a chandelier inspired by the various freeway connections around downtown (the 101, 10, 110, 5, and 60) gleams with red, white, and yellow traffic reflectors. The sky lobby is also an introduction to the sweeping views that the hotel offers (on a clear day, even Catalina Island is visible from some 44 miles away). The sky lobby also holds the Lobby Lounge, where you can order up a blood-red Vampire Vodka cocktail or a Malibu Moon (tinted blue like the Pacific), and gaze out at the metropolis below in a God-like remove. You'll quickly adjust to the feeling of seeing helicopters pass beneath your elevation.

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"We have residents who live around downtown come to the bar," Paul Fontenelle, the bar's manager, told LAist. "We also have the corporations around here come in, and hotel guests—actually, the Anime Expo just happened [at the L.A. Convention Center] and we had some people in some very interesting costumes here."

From the sky lobby, guests can go up to floor 71 for La Boucherie 71 (the hotel's American steakhouse by way of the Versailles Palace), or higher still to the rooftop's Spire 73 (the western hemisphere's tallest open-air bar). A floor below the Sky Lobby—on 69—exists two additional dining options: Sora, with its rotating sushi bar (try to grab the vegetable inari passing on the conveyor belt as you stare out at the Hollywood sign), and Dekkadance, an upscale food market.

When guests aren't shopping or dining, they're retiring to the rooms that take up floors 31 through 68. The 889 rooms also include 110 suites and a Presidential suite. The decor is imbued with a sort of clean modernism, and a large billboard-like snapshot of California is displayed behind each bed. But while the display is eye-catching, the real view is out the window (a shame, then, that the TV rises out from a chest at the foot of the bed, and obscures the skyline behind it).

Finally, on the seventh floor, hotel guests can take a dip in the pool (assuming you don't mind peering eyes from the surrounding office towers) that looks like something straight out of a retro Pan Am flight brochure. The No Dive bar, adjacent to the pool, is opened to both hotel guests and the public, and serves some small plates in addition to cocktails.

"It's a great place to hang out during happy hour, or even if Spire 73 is packed and you want something quieter," a bartender told LAist.

The Intercontinental Downtown Los Angeles is located at 900 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown. (213) 688-7777

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