Lobby decor pays homage to the city’s rich history. // © 2017 Emma Weissmann
Feature image (above): Guestrooms feature minimal design with a few splashes of color. // © 2017 Emma Weissmann
Although I’ve lived in Los Angeles for two years, I have yet to be mistaken for a celebrity. (Unless you count the time a driver incorrectly assumed I was actress Emma Watson based on the first name and last initial listed on my Uber profile.)
But upon walking out of the elevator and onto the 14th floor of the recently opened Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown (HIDTLA), I was suddenly met with a swarm of paparazzi — their likeness frozen in time within the foyer’s photographic wallpaper.
Seeking refuge from their persistent camera flashes, I ducked into the nearby hallway, constructed to resemble the sprawling network of LA’s underground tunnels. Following a few splashes of light, I was eventually led to the safety of my junior suite.
Celebrity or not, guests find this set of events to be the norm during a stay at the 350-room property, which celebrated its grand opening in March.
The brainchild of Hirsch Bedner Associates, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based interior design consulting firm, HIDTLA has been fully decked out to reflect L.A.’s golden age, according to Bruce Curry, director of sales and marketing for the property.
“The design partners sifted through the neighborhood, and what they came up with was really interesting,” Curry said. “Our story is tied into the initial boom of Los Angeles; you had 5,000 residents in about 1870 and then about 500,000 by the 1920s. It put L.A. at the forefront of one of the country’s greatest migrations.”
He was referring to the aforementioned paparazzi wall coverings in the elevator foyer, and the “tunnel” hallways resembling the 11-mile tunnel network that still lies underneath the city. (And thanks to a new partnership with Cartwheel Art Tours, guests of the hotel can book one of five exclusive downtown walking tours and experience the real underground tunnels, too.)
“We’re so close to the Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. Live, so it allows us to benefit from the large variety of business,” Curry said. “You’ve got this vortex of activity that any city would kill for, and it’s one block from the site.”
Although this design is subtle, each detail is intentional. Upon entry into the lobby, for example, I was met with several gold-illuminated horse-and-buggy-style wheels serving as light fixtures above the check-in desk. Immediately adjacent to this area is the lobby bar and on-site restaurant Metropole Bar + Kitchen, which channels prohibition-style speakeasies and the golden age of jazz. Couches are designed to look as if they’re covered in newsprint; light fixtures range from chandeliers to stand-alone lamps shaped like trombones; and wall panels feature black-and-white photography that pays homage to the city’s rich history (images of magnolias symbolize the city’s Fiesta de las Flores and nearby Flower Street, for example).
And once upstairs, the storyline continues. My guestroom was minimally designed, with black-and-white tile in the bathroom (which also featured a gorgeous view of downtown and nearby Staples Center) and pops of navy and magenta in the bedroom. Headboards feature a variety of backsplash designs; mine included old photography of L.A.’s cityscape.
At 6.4 acres, HIDTLA is now the largest Indigo hotel in existence.
“We’re double the key count of the typical Indigo,” Curry said. “We have 10 times the meeting space of a typical Indigo, too, so we are considered the North America flagship.”
The property itself is one aspect of a larger expansion plan by high-end developer Greenland USA, which owns approximately 70 hotels across the U.S. In addition to HIDTLA — which also features about 20,000 square feet of event space — the site will feature additional towers encompassing 1,500 new residential units and 70,000 square feet of retail space. Although the hotel is fully operational, other stages of the project are in various stages of construction.
However, if guests of the hotel choose to stay within the hotel, they have plenty of options. Nightcaps are served at 18 Social, a rooftop bar where DJs spin tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings, and delectable dishes designed by Kevin Harry, food and beverage director for the hotel, can be found at Metropole.
At Metropole, I feasted on homemade corn ravioli and lobster in a creamy Newburg sauce and honey-miso baked bass in a vanilla-saffron creme, in addition to other specialties. Then, I lazily led myself back upstairs to my room.
I made sure to strike one final pose for the paparazzi while on my way.