First Look: The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
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Although some may argue that the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills was LA’s most anticipated hotel, there are several other exciting openings this year in the City of Angels. Among them is the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.
The InterContinental occupies the top half of the Wilshire Grand Center. The new skyscraper is located seven blocks from the convention center and at 73 stories high, it’s the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The project cost Korean Air and its parent company, Hanjin, $1.35 billion to develop — joining three hotels in Korea and one in Hawaii, this is the fifth hotel the airline owns. Its 889 guest rooms, 95,000 square feet of event space and six food and beverage offerings also make it the largest InterContinental in the Americas.
Without further ado, let’s take a look inside the tallest hotel in the west. Note that we did not stay at the hotel and this is a first look, not a review.
Strangely, although the address of the hotel is Wilshire Boulevard, the main entrance is actually on Seventh Street. Upon arriving at the property, I entered through the elegant porte-cochère. I especially liked the mural on the left, highlighting the city’s various landmarks.
The valet staff directed me toward the hotel elevators so I could head straight to the sky lobby.
There’s not much to the ground floor lobby besides a small waiting area.
After a quick ride to the 70th floor, the elevator doors opened to the most stunning view of Los Angeles I have ever seen.
To the right of the reception is a spiral staircase which connects the three restaurants, La Boucherie on 71, Dekkadance and Sora. Note that there are also elevators that take you to the restaurants.
Above the reception is a unique light fixture inspired by the infamous Los Angeles freeways. It represents the Four Level Interchange connecting the Harbor, Hollywood, Pasadena and Santa Ana freeways.
To the left is the lobby lounge.
Quite possibly my favorite part of the view is being able to look down at nearby helipads.
The lounge has a full bar as well.
From there, my tour guide insisted that I take a look at the restrooms. Confused at first, I completely understood why once I walked in. First, we went into the chic ladies room.
Then, we went into the men’s room.
The coolest part of it had to be the glass wall urinal, pictured below.
To the left of the lobby bar is a hallway leading to Club Intercontinental. In this hallway, there’s also a set of elevators just for Club Room guests.
The lounge is available for Club Room guests and IHG Ambassador members only.
Like the lobby, the executive lounge offers great views of the city. The custom rugs in the lounge were designed to signify the nearby San Gabriel Mountains.
Although the spread was practically nonexistent during the time of visit, usually there is complimentary breakfast from 6:30–10:30 am, afternoon tea from 3:00–5:00 pm, drinks and canapés from 5:30–7:30 pm and light snacks in between.
Just past the buffet is another seating area with several sofas and two TVs.
Bars and Restaurants
For the food and beverage portion of my tour, we started with the hotel’s rooftop bar, Spire 73, and slowly made our way down the building.
Spire 73 is not only the tallest open-air bar in the US, but also the tallest anywhere in the Western Hemisphere!
Regardless where you choose to sit, for the most part, you should be protected from the wind thanks to the tall glass panes.
Across the main bar area, there’s another space that can also be rented out for private events.
From there, we made our way down to the 71st floor to take a look at the French steakhouse, La Boucherie on 71.
Upon entering, there’s a bar and space for those looking just for drinks or light bites.
Just past that, you’ll find the formal seating area.
I’m a big fan of the brass cutlery and repurposed flask vases.
There’s also a wine “tunnel” with room for 1,200 bottles.
Beyond that are several VIP booths and other private dining spaces.
Among the private dining experiences is one within the charcuterie and cheese vault.
The others are more traditional private dining rooms.
Regardless of which private dining room you choose, you’ll have great views of the city.
We then made our way down to the other restaurants and bars. As previously shown, there’s a bar in the lobby on the 70th floor.
Taking the spiral staircase down to the 69th floor, we soon found ourselves in front of the hotel’s more casual eateries, Dekkadance and Sora. Dekkadance is a buffet-style atmosphere with a nice selection of food — even the pickiest eater should find something to satisfy themselves.
As with all the other restaurants and bars we’ve seen so far, Dekkadance provides amazing views.
We then walked over to check out the hotel’s sushi joint, Sora.
Most notably, there are dishes passing around on a sky-view conveyer belt.
However, there is still a menu you can order from and if you want to skip the conveyer belt completely, you can sit in a booth instead.
The final stop for the F&B portion of my tour was the Pool Bar on the seventh floor.
There are several seating options available for guests, but understandably, the views don’t compete with those of the restaurants and bars I’d previously visited.
The hotel’s pool is located on the seventh floor.
Though I do wish the hotel had been able to build the infinity pool higher up, the general space did not disappoint.
Poolside cabanas can be rented out for $250 per day plus taxes. Every rental comes with complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, a fruit platter and organic mixed nuts. Cabana experiences can also be upgraded to include other treats such as Moët & Chandon Champagne.
There’s also a small seating area with a fire pit off to the side in the corner of the deck.
The Deluxe King Suite
After heading all the way down to the seventh floor to check out the pool, it was time to go back up to see one of the rooms. We stopped by a Deluxe King Suite on the 31st floor that was between 770-880 square feet.
A hallway leads to the bedroom, and to the right of the hall, you’ll find the mini-bar.
Suites are furnished with a Nespresso machine while standard rooms have Keurig coffee makers.
Located directly next to the bar is the sliding door to the bathroom.
You’ll have both a bathtub and walk-in shower.
The suite’s bathroom is rather minimalist in style and has just one vanity.
As with all other suites and club rooms, there are Le Labo Santal 33 toiletries. Standard rooms have toiletries by Agraria.
Across from the bathroom, there’s plenty of closet space.
Inside the closet, you’ll find the usual fare, including a plush robe and two pairs of slippers.
The layout of the bedroom is very open. There’s a cabinet in between the bed and living area with TVs that pop up on each side.
Every room has an art piece above the bed highlighting different beauties of Los Angeles. This room’s was of LA’s sunny beaches.
Even when the TV is up, the bed provides excellent views.
The Fitness Center
Unfortunately, the hotel’s gym was still under construction during the time of my visit so I was unable to take a look inside. The hotel is hoping to find a partner to operate the gym so it could be a while until it opens. Until then, the concierge team offers complimentary day passes to the Gold’s Gym across the street.
I am definitely impressed by this new hotel. For starters, the views are unbeatable, and the hotel is chic and has a great overall design. From the mural at the porte-cochère, to the art displays in the bedrooms, I really love that there are the many LA-centric touches throughout. It’s not too common for business hotels to successfully incorporate local culture into the design.
How to Book
As of this writing, rates in September start at about $200 per night for a standard room, with award nights costing 60,000 IHG points per night. According to TPG’s most recent valuations, IHG points are worth 0.7 cents a piece. Since the lowest rate I found in September was about $200 per night, it would make more sense to pay cash than redeem points for a September stay.
That being said, there is a way to stay at this hotel without paying anything out of pocket or having to redeem any points. One perk of the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is an annual free night certificate you can use at any IHG property, such as this one. If you don’t have the card yet, for a limited time, there is an increased sign-up bonus of 80,000 IHG points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening your account. Between the increased bonus and the perks that come along with it, the $49 annual fee (waived for the first year) is well worth it. Another perk of the card is that it comes with Platinum Elite status as long as you’re a cardmember. When staying at an IHG property like the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, Platinum Elite members can expect perks like late checkout and complimentary room upgrades when available.
The new Intercontinental is definitely impressive and reasonably priced. While I don’t know whether I will actually be staying at the hotel anytime soon, I hope to return at night to grab a bite and get another perspective of those amazing views.
Have you been to The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown? Tell us about it, below.
All photos by the author.
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