I may have been to diverse metropolis of Los Angeles a number of times over the past few years, but I've only ever stayed in Beverly Hills/Universal City or in Orange County - so I thought on a recent visit I should stay somewhere new.
Dotted with skyscrapers and full of history, Downtown LA is a hip and diverse neighbourhood and home to landmarks including Olvera Street (nicknamed the birthplace of LA), the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Staples Center, Grand Central Market and Union Station to name a few. The trouble is, where to stay?
A few years ago, I visited Downtown for merely half hour as part of a city-wide tour and only one thing caught my eye. Two huge skyscrapers which happened to be none other than the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live and The Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles - two names that I closely associate with luxury and great service.
Since opening in 2010, the JW Marriott has become one of "the places to stay" in LA. Situated within the L.A. LIVE complex, the hotel is moments away from the Staples Center, Club Nokia, Microsoft Theatre, GRAMMY Museum, a 14-screen cinema and dozens of restaurants.
Photo: JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE
Nestled just behind the reception desk, the multi-storey lobby area let's the light shine in and has a chic and contemporary feel to it. I really like the open-floor plan between the gLAnce Lobby Bar, Illy Espressamente and Fords Filling Station (one of the restaurants). You'll also find plenty of seating options from comfy chairs to lounge-style sofa's.
I was staying in an Executive King, Larger Guest-Room which was located on the 21st floor and provides access to the hotel's Executive Lounge.
When I first booked the room, I thought to myself it will be a moderately sized with the added perk of access to a lounge. Oh how I wrong could I have been. The room was massive!
Featuring a large king-sized bed and a pull-out sofa, the room itself left me speechless; but then I saw the view.
As the room was located in the corner of the hotel, it featured a wraparound window creating a dual-aspect windows which afforded spectacular views towards the Staples Center on one side, and Hollywood on the other. Amazing!
I simply couldn't get over how large the room was. At 525 square feet, I am almost certain it was as big if not even more so than the ground floor of my home in the UK!
The marble bathroom was also spacious and featured a large vanity and a walk-in shower. There was also a huge window looking towards West Hollywood. At first I thought it was a little awkward having such a large window in the bathroom; but you'll be pleased to know there is a blind and there are no other skyscrapers nearby either.
Being a modern hotel, you'll be pleased to know each room features a host of state-of-the-art amenities including a plasma TV, Bose sound system, media ports, a large safe, two telephones and powerful air conditioning. There are also plenty of lights, but you definitely won't need that during the daylight hours with all the natural light pouring in.
The Executive Lounge
Situated on the fourth floor next to the rooftop pool area, the Executive Lounge is fairly small but offers all the amenities you would expect including breakfast offerings from 06:30 until 10:00, light nibbles during the day, and a few evening snacks, desserts and an honor bar in the evening. It's not open on weekends, but it is a nice touch and I quite happily would go in there to read the newspaper whilst relaxing on comfortable chair with maybe a drink and miniature cookie or two.
The Pool Area
There are quite a few hotels in L.A. with rooftop pools, but this one happens to feature a decent sized pool with plenty of comfortable seating options. The views towards L.A. LIVE are also pretty impressive too.
Since the hotel shares several facilities with The Ritz Carlton (which funnily enough occupies part of the building), you can take advantage of an array of dining options including Ford's Filling Station which serves up American cuisine, the upscale WP24 by Wolfgang Puck (Asian), Nest at WP24 (which is a more relaxed venue serving up small and large plates) and The Mixing Room (Mixology Bar).
I enjoyed a meal in Ford's Filling Station which was very delicious. The steak I ordered was reasonable at $27 and the cost of drinks wasn't bad for a highly-rated hotel in a prominent location. It is also worth taking a look at the in-room dining menu, there is quite a variety and they mix-it-up a bit with some weekly specials.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with my stay at the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. Live, if not blown away.
Situated in an ideal location, you can basically venture off to many places in, around and outside the city whenever you want.
All the staff members I encountered were ever-so-friendly and couldn't have done anything more to enhance my stay.
This is certainly a hotel I would thoroughly recommend considering if you are visiting LA. I'm starting to plan my next trip already!
9 / 10
To book your stay at the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE, please click here