In last week’s blog I shared with you some details of the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team’s visit to Los Angeles and our celebration of this year’s winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. I mentioned how fortunate my husband and I felt at being guests of the magnificent InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel, and this week I wanted to share with you some of the sights and impressions I gathered as Harry and I took our own self-guided tour of the public spaces of this architectural gem.
The hotel is located in the Wilshire Grand Center building, a 1,100-foot-tall skyscraper occupying an entire block in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Completed in 2017, it received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, and it is the tallest structure in Los Angeles as well as the tallest building west of Chicago. Its gleaming glass faςade reflects the surrounding buildings and, on the days we were there, the sun, blue sky and cloud formations, creating a dynamic, ever-changing scene.
Whether you enter the building from the courtyard opening to Figueroa Boulevard or through the drive-up hotel entrance off of Seventh Street, you’re immediately struck by the sensuous curves in concrete, steel and glass. The curves dominate again in the multistory lobby atrium, where the structural skeleton of the building is also on full display, whether you’re looking up from ground level to the undulating glass roof above or looking down past several ranks of curved balconies.
We visited several of the hotel’s public rooms and event space on the third floor, including a striking foyer adjoining several ballrooms where that glass roof again dominated and where large doors took us outside to the pool and the No Dive Bar, featuring a variety of protected seating areas interspersed with gas fire features and lots of greenery (closed at this time of year). On this level we also found the enormous fitness center, mostly empty of guests in the middle of the afternoon but well-stocked with all manner of machines and equipment and featuring interesting views from the treadmills. Again, the bones of the building are on full display here.
We then headed all the way to the top of the building, stopping first on the 69th floor to peek into Dekkadance, offering international dining for breakfast, brunch and lunch. It was after hours there, but it wasn’t hard to see the appeal of the sunny, modern space and those incredible views. We took in more stunning views to the north, looking up Interstate 110 as it streams to the west of the building, as we waited to take a glass elevator to the very top, the 73rd floor.
Spire 73 offers 360-degree views of the city all the way to the Pacific, gleaming in the sun on the afternoon we visited. It lays claim to being the highest open-air rooftop bar and lounge in the Western Hemisphere, and its namesake spire towers over the terrace. Additional seating inside the glass tower offers a look up into the girders that form the very top of the building, an interesting perspective! Outside again, we found a host of different seating areas, many facing those views and offering heaters and fire pits to ward off any potential chill. It was early, and there was no one about, but I can certainly believe this is one of the most popular gathering spots in L.A. Our schedule prevented us from visiting after dark to take in those city lights, but it’s on my list for my next visit to Los Angeles.
Shortly after we got in our Uber ride for our return to LAX for our flight home, our driver asked us what we thought of our stay at the InterContinental. With a touch of awe in his voice, he said it had been named the top hotel in the city, the place where presidents, world leaders and visiting NFL teams stayed. That didn’t surprise me in the least, for we found the service prompt, gracious and warm; the accommodations comfortable, clean and modern; and the building itself a work of art.
— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor
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