Reality Check-In: Ranty "Love Letter" to NYC Claims All There Is to Do in L.A. is See the Shops, Beach & Celebs
In a ranty-style self-described "love letter" to New York City, writer Laura L.M. Hill uses Los Angeles--well, her weird, limited version of it--to complain about how hotels are currently doing business. The target of her ire is a new hotel that touts to its guests the need to never leave the property, because the amenities on-site are so terrific.
Outside of Las Vegas, in an urban setting, I'd agree that a hotel that can confine its guests to the property is selling the city in which it's been built kind of short. Of course, an intrepid tourist would likely value some of the amenities, but still venture out those revolving glass doors onto the mean streets of Manhattan to get to their meetings, the theatre, those cheesy double decker tour buses, what have you. Hill makes a good point--why travel if you don't want to leave your hotel?
Granted, some travelers are not in town for the sites; business folks on tight schedules, people coming in for family obligations, and those who've seen as much of the city as they are content to are all the kinds of travelers who may appreciate a hotel experience that keeps them on site. Hill totally neglects to mention those folks, but that's not my point. It's how she totally disses L.A. to make her point.
Hill's premise is to call this all on-site trend in hospitality the "Californication" of NYC hotels. Here's how she brings Los Angeles into the discussion:
I've been to LA enough to know that there is a genuine need for Hotels that provide their guests with a bubble of diversions; besides shopping, the beach (and certainly not in downtown LA) and celebrity watching what is a guest to do besides sit at the pool, go to the spa, get a massage and the like. But in NYC, really?
Okay. Let's take a look at what Hill is saying. She's asserting that when you travel to Los Angeles, it is necessary for a hotel to offer plenty of on-site amenities, services, and attractions, because all there is to do in L.A. is go shopping, visit the beach, and look for celebrities.
Hold on a minute, lady.
Let's just briefly mention the fact that Los Angeles has been a tourist mecca since the golden era of moviemaking, and that there is a glut of things to go out and see and do on tours and independently, ranging from the truly shlocky to the sublime even for locals. Then let's consider how many quite wonderful things there are to see and do in Los Angeles as a tourist, whether you are relying on getting around in your rental car or getting a Metro day or week pass.
Museums, galleries, historic sites, hikes, restaurants, day trips to nearby communities, outdoorsy adventures, world-renown architecture, cultural landmarks...seriously, just trying to stop thinking of amazing things for out-of-town visitors to do here is making my head spin.
Frankly, if you come to Los Angeles as a tourist, and you limit yourself to sitting by the pool, you have done yourself a massive disservice. And you don't even have to go to Disneyland, the Chinese Theatre, or celeb-trolling on Rodeo Drive to experience L.A.
Hill tries to make the same point about NYC, but wraps it up with another absurd knock to the City of Angels: "Tourism is one thing, and I am all for it, but why not come visit NYC for the things that make NYC the incredible city it is? Why does it have to become L.A. in order for it to be enjoyed?" (Don't even get me started on Hill's contempt for the nuisance of bike lanes in NYC. And there's this: "NYC is a city that allows for all sorts of people to participate in all sorts of activities but it is not Santa Monica!". Sorry cyclists, you don't deserve your own lanes in Manhattan!)
I'll leave the NY versus L.A. debate aside--comparing the Big Apple to land of Oranges is not only tired, but in this case irrelevant and insulting. Ms. Hill, the next time you come to L.A. give me a call. I'll show you plenty of reasons to leave your hotel.